AirTalk for February 3, 2012

Ed Wood’s “Final Curtain”

Ed Wood

x-ray delta one/Flickr (cc by-nc-nd)

Director Ed Wood.

Film historians and critics can spend their whole lives debating who the best director is, but there is a near total consensus on who is the worst. That honor belongs to the one, the only, Ed Wood.

While he achieved some mild success in the1950s with movies like “Glen or Glenda?” and “Bride of the Monster,” his popularity declined after his biggest star, Bela Lugosi, died. This happened while they were filming a movie together, and Wood managed to incorporate the Lugosi footage into what became “Plan 9 from Outerspace,” arguably the director’s most infamous film, replete with continuity errors, audio and video not syncing up and woefully poor special effects.

Perhaps the most perplexing thing about Ed Wood, beyond the fact that he was into cross-dressing, is that he is remembered at all instead of forgotten to history. Surely there were other terrible directors in Hollywood, right? Well, not any quite like Wood. He was a showman of the highest order, and his over-the-top theatrics matched with his pitiful budgets created something truly special.

It is for this reason why, two years after his death in 1978, Wood received a Golden Turkey Award for Worst Director of All Time, which spurred a renewed interest in the director and brought him his posthumous popularity. Just recently, a new work of Wood’s, “Final Curtain” was discovered and debuted at this year’s Slamdance Festival.

How was it received? Does it live up-er, down-to Wood’s standards? What was the technical process of restoring the film? And then the philosophical question: why bother preserving something so…terrible?

Guests:

Jonathan Harris, executive producer of the restoration for Final Curtain, which he premiered with Jason Insalaco at the Slamdance Film festival; director of video Operations for Sony's online video service Crackle

Jason Insalaco, executive producer for the restoration for Final Curtain, which he premiered with Jonathan Harris at the Slamdance Film festival; executive producer at KFI radio

Harry Medved, head of communications for the nation's leading movie ticketing destination, Fandango - and the co-author of “The Golden Turkey Awards,” the book that brought Ed Wood out of obscurity by naming him "The Worst Director of All Time"


blog comments powered by Disqus