Tim Burton's affectionate comedy tribute to director Ed Wood and his terrible movies, gets a DVD release that sheds an interesting light on the film's production.
Picture Shot in black and white, the contrast of the transfer to disc is excellent, with clear strong shades and tones throughout.
Sound The 5.1 sound mix adds considerable atmosphere to the film with some fine opening peals of thunder giving way to an often subtle, but effective, track.
Audio Commentary This track features contributions from Tim Burton, Martin Landau, writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, cinematographer Stefan Czapsky, and costume designer Colleen Atwood.
Burton's comments focus on Ed Wood, and how "there's a real razor's edge between good and bad filmmaking". Burton discovered Ed Wood's films on TV, and for him he has a distinct style, which lends a certain power to his films. Ironically, writers Alexander and Karaszewski were tempted to write the screenplay after musing on how hard it was to make good films, and how most people aren't trying to make rubbish. They'd written the script for "Problem Child", which had then been taken off them and turned into a silly kids' film, instead of the adult comedy they wanted to make. That started them thinking about Ed Wood and the passion he had for making movies.
Let's Shoot this F#*%@r! Johnny Depp provides a truly strange introduction to this 14-minute featurette, which mainly features footage of Burton in action in both colour and black and white.
The Theramin Composer Howard Shore talks about his music score for the film, which is apparently a fusion of Cuban, old sci-fi, Mancini, and jazz. The strange, ghostly vibe that pervades it comes from a 20s electronic instrument known as the Theramin. We get to see the extraordinary instrument in action (it's played by hand movement in the space between two metal rods.
Making Bela Martin Landau contributes his thoughts in this eight-minute profile of Bela Lugosi, and on his portrayal of the man. Make-up artist Rick Baker also talks through his work on transforming Landau into Lugosi, and why he'd have happily have done it for free.
When Carol Met Larry Meet Gina Lance and her dress-wearing husband, Carol Gendler, in this nine-minute featurette on cross-dressing, and on Ed Wood making a film on the subject. Apparently cross-dressers don't come out until they're in their 30s and 40s, so don't count on being out of the woods yet!
Pie Plates over Hollywood This 13-minute featurette concentrates on the production design of the film, and the problems of shooting in black and white. Designer Tom Duffield gets out piles of his drawings used to plan the look of the film.
Additional Extra Features Also on the DVD is a trailer and music video. The animated menus prove to be quite a treat in themselves and worthy of a mention here.
Ratio: 1.85:1 (anamorphic)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Technical Features: Scene selection, animated menus, multiple languages and subtitles, and English captions for the hearing impaired.
This DVD was reviewed on a JVC XV-S57 DVD player.