CFS presents “Ed Wood”

Ryan Doyle

Two transvestites, a burned-out Hollywood star and a man named Tor walk into the Connelly Cinema. If that sounds like the set-up for a bad joke, you’d be half right. Instead, it’s only the motley characters in director Tim Burton’s ode to one of the worst directors of all time, Ed Wood, in the movie of the same name.

The movie, starring Johnny Depp in his second of four collaborations with Burton, chronicles the apex of Wood’s filmmaking career, including the transvestite piece “Glen or Glenda” (in which Wood, a transvestite himself with a penchant for angora sweaters, plays the cross-dressing title character), “Bride of the Monster” and what is widely regarded as the worst movie ever made, “Plan 9 from Outer Space.”

Along for the ride is a pre-“Sex and the City” Sarah Jessica Parker as Wood’s first wife, Bill Murray as part of Wood’s troupe and Martin Landau in the role of Bela Lugosi, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

The film is a labor of love by Burton, whose career has been built on portraying outsiders such as Edward Scissorhands, Batman and even Pee-Wee Herman.

Although Burton had already completed blockbuster hits such as “Edward Scissorhands” and the first two Batman movies when he decided to make Ed Wood, he had to fight to get the movie made. This is because the main character was viewed as a risky subject by many conservative Hollywood studios, though the movie was eventually produced for the meager sum of $18 million dollars.

Ironically, like many of the real-life Woods’ movies, the film performed poorly at the box office. However, the movie holds up over time and is a joy to watch, especially for fans of cinema. Various allusions to that era of film-making are made throughout the movie, including an encounter between Wood and legendary Hollywood director and star Orson Welles, which most likely never occurred in real life. Wood takes us back to a simpler time in American cinema, before the Bruckheimers of the world took over with special effects.

The screening of Ed Wood is the third movie in the Cultural Film and Lecture Series and will be screened Saturday through Monday, Sept. 25th-27th at 7 p.m., with a fourth screening at 3:30 p.m. on that Sunday. Guest speaker Adrienne Redd will introduce the film and lead a discussion after the Monday screening.

Tickets are available at the door, for $3.50 for students and $5 for all others. For more information, visit the CFS web page at