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Critic's Pick

'Ed Wood'

December 17, 1995|Kenneth Turan

Edward D. Wood Jr. was a 1950s filmmaker of such ineptitude that people who ponder extremes consider him the worst director ever ("Glen or Glenda," "Plan 9 From Outer Space"). He had a strange personality and a startling lack of talent that turned him into a cult figure for those fascinated by the outre and aberrational. Tim Burton's black-and-white 1994 film turned out to be an entertaining and eccentric piece of business. Anchored by a full-throttle Oscar-winning performance by Martin Landau as Bela Lugosi (right), "Ed Wood" is a fantasy for the terminally disaffected. Burton's "Edward Scissorhands" star Johnny Depp (left) is once again an almost holy innocent, an unnaturally optimistic Pollyanna who thought that being a director was a wow beyond words. Wood died at age 54 in 1978, almost completely forgotten, a fate this sweet and goofy film ensures will never happen again (Showtime Saturday at 8 p.m.).

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