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Wood, Edward D, Jr

Entry updated 3 June 2020. Tagged: Film, People.

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(1924-1978) US filmmaker and pulp author monumentalized posthumously for his eccentric lifestyle and surreally inept attempts at genre B-movies, of which especially Glen or Glenda? (1953) and Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) have attained belated but unassailable cult status. His films are characterized by dreamlike narrative logic, bombastic dialogue, a repertory cast of vivid oddballs (including the elderly Bela Lugosi and the gigantic Swedish wrestler Tor Johnson), and the elevation of budgetary corner-cutting to something like an artform. A tendentiously sanitized and upbeat biopic, Ed Wood (1994) was directed, extremely well, by Tim Burton; the true story is much sadder. Once the object of wilfully innocent ridicule, Wood's life and films underwent a significant revaluation in the 1990s, boosted by Burton's film, which celebrated Wood's creative dauntlessness, outsider vision and lifestyle, and unwitting anticipation of Postmodern aesthetic values. Two posthumous publications of interest are Wood's memoir-cum-tutorial Hollywood Rat Race (1998) and the film script Plan 9 from Outer Space (2014). [NL]

Edward Davis Wood Jr

born Poughkeepsie, New York: 10 October 1924

died Los Angeles, California: 10 December 1978


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