Ed Wood

Dir: Tim Burton

DoP: Stefan Czapsky

Year: 1994

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Things To Consider

  • Without a doubt this is my favourite Tim Burton film. I’ve mentioned before how Burton is great at allowing the lead character to dictate his stylistic approach to the film. It’s not strictly the case here, while Ed Wood is infused with the passion and energy of the real life Wood, the film is altogether more elegant and assured than anything he could have made.
  • Burton and Czapsky are very brave in how dark they allow the film to get, examine the frames and note how much information they allow to get lost in black. This creates atmospheric frames, a simplified world and allows us to always focus on whats important in a scene. Gordon Willis would be proud.
  • Burton plays with some of the textural qualities of Wood’s own films, enjoying deep shadows, theatrical lighting, dramatic dutch angles, and a truly wonderful opening sequence but wisely he never allows his film itself to become a pastiche or a take off of Wood. Ultimately Burton sympathises even admires Wood’s passion, even if (or maybe because) it dwarfs his technical ability. Stylistically, the film shares more in common with the films of Orson Welles, who Wood admired greatly (and even appears here) than it does with the films of Edward Wood Jr.

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