Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Ed Wood extra: An outline of 'Ed Wood' (1994)

Johnny Depp and Martin Landau in Ed Wood (1994).

Today's article about Ed Wood (1994) took a fair amount of preparation. Before I could really even get started on it, I found I had to make an outline of the entire film. (The finished movie, that is, not the screenplay.) Just to give you a peek into the creative process, I thought I'd post the entire document here. This gives you some idea of how I broke down Ed Wood into various scenes and episodes, and you can see what made it into the article and what didn't. Enjoy. WARNING: SUPER NERDY AND BORING STUFF AHEAD.

A Glen or Glenda poster
  1. Criswell introduces the story. Calls it "mysterious" and "unexplainable."
  2. Ed is directing a production of his play, The Casual Company. Bunny, Dolores, Paul, and Conrad are in the cast/crew. The critic Victor Crowley has not shown up. ("It's press night and there's no press!")
  3. After party at Broadner's. The cast gather to read the review. It's negative. They're all depressed. Eddie remains upbeat.
  4. Privately, at home, Ed expresses doubt. "What if I just don't got it?" Dolores notices her sweater is missing. Ed is nervous.
  5. Eddie is a gofer at Universal. His boss, Mr. Kravitz, has him running errands. Ed travels across the backlot and marvels at what he sees.
  6. Eddie talks with studio old-timer who shows him stock footage. It's footage Eddie will use later in his movies.
  7. Eddie learns a low budget studio is making a movie based on the Christine Jorgensen story. He is very intrigued.
  8. Eddie and Dolores contact George Weiss. Eddie says he's the man to make the Jorgensen movie.
  9. Eddie meets with George at Screen Classics. Eddie reveals his secret: tranvestism. He still doesn't get the job.
  10. Dejected, Eddie goes to a bar (Broadner's again). Next door is Hollywood Mortuary, where Bela Lugosi the great screen star emerges from a coffin.
  11. Ed and Bela chat as they travel to Bela's house. Bela is washed-up. "I'm just an ex bogeyman." They become friends.
  12. Eddie, all excited, tells Dolores about meeting the "old and frail" Lugosi.
  13. Kravitz dismisses Lugosi as "a bum" and "a junkie." Ed vows to make a movie starring Lugosi.
  14. Halloween night. Ed and Bela watch TV at his place. Sexy Vampira is showing Bela's movie White Zombie. Bela casts a "spell" on Vampira. Bela takes morphine, scares away trick or treaters. Eddie reveals he lost his teeth in World War 2.
  15. Return to Screen Classics. Eddie wants Lugosi to star in the Christine Jorgensen film. George finally hires him.
  16. Eddie writes the script for the movie (now called Glen or Glenda) and tells Bunny to recruit transvestites. Eddie explains Bela's role: "You're like the puppet master."
  17. Ed finishes script, reveals to Dolores that he is a transvestite. She reluctantly stays with him.
  18. Third time to Screen Classics. Ed and George argue over script changes while Bunny interviews transvestites.
  19. Eddie filming Glen or Glenda on the streets of Hollywood. He and crew run from cops.
  20. Larchmont Studios. Bela is filming his scenes and needs his money right away. He has track marks on his arms. Conrad inadvertently enrages Lugosi by mentioning Karloff.
  21. Ed and Dolores argue about Ed's transvestism, but they finish shooting the film.

Bride of the Monster poster
  1. Eddie meets with Mr. Feldman at Warner Bros. Feldman likes Eddie's idea for Bride of the Atom.
  2. Feldman screens Glen or Glenda. He laughs at its incompetence.
  3. Eddie learns Glenda is not showing in Los Angeles. Ed calls George, who is furious and says he never wants to see Eddie again.
  4. Again dejected, Eddie goes to a wrestling match alongside Dolores and Bunny. Bunny says he'll have sex change. Eddie is more interested in wrestler Tor Johnson.
  5. Locker room. Eddie meets with Tor to discuss the latter appearing in Bride of the Atom.
  6. Middle of the night. Bela calls Ed at home. It's an emergency.
  7. Bela's house. Bela has been shooting up and is in bad shape. He's broke. Eddie vows to get him some work.
  8. Ed calls Mr. Feldman, who is no longer interested in working with him.
  9. At home again, Ed is down in the dumps. "I'm no good." Dolores convinces Ed to become an independent producer.
  10. New adventure! Ed starts calling potential backers and surprisingly gets Bela a job on a TV variety show.
  11. The TV Studio. Ed coaches Bela on his dialogue. The psychic/oracle Criswell is on the show, too, predicting the future. Bela can't keep up with an ad-libbing comedian. He is depressed.
  12. After the show, Ed and Bela meet Criswell, who somehow knows Eddie directed Glen or Glenda.
  13. Nightclub scene. Ed, Bela and Cris having drinks. Cris reveals he is a fraud. His secret is "razzle dazzle." Eddie is inspired.
  14. The Brown Derby. Ed throws a party for potential backers of Bride of the Atom. Tor, Dolores,  Bela, and Cris assist him. They make no money.
  15. For the second time, Ed is shown drinking alone at a bar. Eddie meets Loretta King. He thinks she has money. She convinces Ed to let her play the lead role of Janet Lawton in Bride of the Atom.
  16. Ed's place. Dolores is furious, throws objects at Ed.
  17. Eddie, injured, is directing Bride of the Atom. Setting up the lab. Cameraman is colorblind. Bela and Tor discuss Eddie's work methods. Eddie films Bela and Tor walking through door.
  18. Filming on the lab set. Eddie learns his checked bounced. The production is broke and Loretta doesn't have the cash that Ed thought she did. They shut down.
  19. Second backer's party at the Brown Derby. Eddie is desperate. He spots Vampira across the room, begs her to be in his movie. She refuses. Backers leave in disgust.
  20. Undeterred, Eddie meets with Donald McCoy at a meat packing plant. McCoy has some conditions: story will end with explosion and Don's son Tony will star.
  21. Back in the studio. Movie is on again! Loretta and Dolores hate each other. They film one tense scene. Cris stops by the set.
  22. Republic Studios backlot. Ed, Bunny, Tor, Conard, and Paul steal a rubber octopus. Tor is seemingly killed by falling octopus, but he turns out to be fine.
  23. Nighttime filming for Bride of the Atom. Bela shoots up again and swigs from bottle. Bela wades into the water and pretends to wrestle fake octopus.
  24. Next day at Larchmont. In gratitude, Ed gives Bela a special speech to recite. ("I have no home!")
  25. Wrap party for Bride of the Atom at the meat packing plant. Eddie, in full drag, does the Dance of the 7 Veils for partygoers. Dolores is embarrassed and outraged. She walks out on Ed, this time for good.

A poster for Plan 9 from Outer Space
  1. Sad, Eddie watches Vampira on TV. He calls her up for a date. She says no. Bela calls. It's another emergency.
  2. Bela's house. The govt. is cancelling his unemployment. He's suicidal. He wants to kill Eddie, too. Eddie manages to talk him down.
  3. Eddie checks Bela into rehab. "I've been a drug addict for 20 years. I need help."
  4. Bela goes through nightmarish withdrawal. While waiting in the hospital, Ed meets Kathy, a sweet young woman who is visiting her father.
  5. Bela is surrounded by reporters. Eddie chases them away. But this is the first publicity Bela has gotten in years.
  6. Ed and Kathy's relationship is progressing. They go to a carnival together. In the spook house, Ed reveals his transvestism to Kathy. She's okay with it.
  7. Bela is kicked out of the hospital for having no money. Ed puts a good spin on it.
  8. Eddie shoots silent home movie footage of Bela. This will be the footage Ed uses in Plan 9. THE FOOTAGE IS MAGIC!
  9. Ed calls Vampira again to invite her to the premiere of the newly-retitled Bride of the Monster.
  10. Premiere of Bride of the Monster. Ed attends with Bela, Tor, Cris, Kathy, and Vampira in tow. The premiere turns into a riot. Ed saves his friends, who are being attacked by patrons. Then Kathy risks her own life by throwing herself in front of a taxi.
  11. Next day. Ed and Bela are talking about how special Kathy is. Bela gives the "home" speech and is applauded by passersby, who ask for his autograph. This is his last hurrah.
  12. Eddie is reading a sci-fi story to Kathy when he gets the news that Bela is dead.
  13. The funeral. All the usual Wood suspects are there. Bela is buried in his Dracula cape.
  14. Eddie rewatches the MAGIC FOOTAGE again and again.
  15. Eddie is broke. His landlord, Mr. Reynolds, wants the rent. They talk about the movie business. Eddie shows Reynolds the script for Grave Robbers from Outer Space (soon to be Plan 9). Eddie tells Reynolds about the MAGIC FOOTAGE.
  16. Preproduction for Grave Robbers/Plan 9. Kathy makes props. Paul recruits Lugosi lookalikes. Ed says this will be "the ultimate Ed Wood movie."
  17. Diner.  Eddie meets with the out of work Vampira, who reluctantly agrees to be in the movie. Ed also meets Dr. Tom, a chiropractor who looks like Lugosi.
  18. Beverly Hills Baptist Church. Ed and the entire cast/crew of Plan 9 attend mass.
  19. They're all baptized in a swimming pool, even Bunny who remarks at how loyal Ed's friends are to him.
  20. Vampira, in costume, takes the bus to Quality Studios. She's mortified.
  21. Production on Grave Robbers in full swing. The Baptists have objections to the script, and they're not too pleased with the scene Ed is filming. "Bela's returned from the grave, just like Dracula!"
  22. The Baptists say that their choir director, Greg Walcott, is to be the leading man. This drives Eddie insane. He has a breakdown.
  23. Eddie returns to the set in drag. He and the Baptists argue. Eddie exists the set in a huff, goes to a bar. (Musso & Frank)
  24. At the bar, Eddie guzzles Imperial Whisky and meets his idol Orson Welles. They're both having money troubles. But Orson gives Ed a pep talk and Ed emerges with new vigor.
  25. Ed returns to the set. There's a montage of Ed filming all the crucial, famous scenes from Plan 9. Bunny, Tor, Paul, and Cris all have moments to shine. Even stock footage guy contributes! The film is completed!
  26. Pantages Theater. Premiere of Plan 9. Criswell introduces the film. Ed dedicates it to Bela Lugosi. All of the film's stars are in attendance. It's a big night for all of them. "This is the one I'll be remembered for," Eddie declares.
  27. Outside theater, it's raining. Ecstatic, Ed proposes marriage to Kathy. She accepts.  Ed and Kathy hop into Eddie's soaking-wet car and drive to Las Vegas to get married.
  28. An epilogue informs us of the fates of the characters.