Posted March 21 2012 - 12:51 PM
Ed Wood and his movies provide an interesting problem. As a writer, Eddie certainly had some decent enough ideas. Look at JAIL BAIT. The actual plot of that movie is decent, and it's twist is fairly clever. The dialogue is horrible and so is the acting, however. The plot of PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE isn't bad, either. What hurt these movies is the acting by and large. There seemed to be two types of actors in Wood's movies: those who could act and didn't really bother trying and those who couldn't act their way out of a wet and torn paper bag. The second group seemed to comprise of most of his friends like Dolores Fuller and Conrad Brooks. I saw both of them in a vampire movie shot in the mid-90s in NJ (THE IRONBOUND VAMPIRE) and yes, they were as lousy there as they were in Wood's movies. The first group, though, was guys like Lyle Talbot and Kenne Duncan--guys who demonstrably could give decent performances when they wanted to. Serials may not be on the same level of filmmaking as A Pictures, but Talbot and Duncan were usually pretty solid in their roles in them. Talbot was a fantastic Lex Luthor in ATOM MAN VS. SUPERMAN--maybe not Gene Hackman or Kevin Spacey, but a lot of fun all the same. And Duncan was good in almost any Republic serial you can find him in. But look at Duncan in THE SINISTER URGE. Not only does he not try, he clearly shows that he has no desire to even be in the movie. As for Talbot, he only ever puts forward a half-hearted effort in Wood's films. In fact, the only guy Wood ever got who really gave it his all was Bela Lugosi, which is why the Lugosi trio is so well-liked by fans of this sort of movie. Kinda like ROBOT MONSTER. Yes, there's incompetency left and right in that film, but the actors in it at least TRY, which is key to the fun of the movie. What does all this rambling have to do with this discussion of aspect ratios? Well, I'll tell ya. It seems to me that since the dialogue and the delivery of said dialogue, along with the awful special effects--poor Eddie just didn't have the budget even if he did have the imagination--were so bad that it seems quite natural that we'd see absurdities like boom mics and carboard steering wheels. Were the movies composed for 1:85? By 1959, I would certainly hope so. Should they be viewed that way? Probably, but then they might not seem as much fun. The argument about Hitchcock and boom mics seems valid, but here's the thing: we know Hitch was a good director. We've been told for over 30 years that Wood was the worst director of all time and the things I listed above have all contributed to that. Frankly, he wasn't. At the very least his movies--or at least those with Bela--are entertaining and he knew how to do something that is lost on other directors: when to end a scene. Perhaps the solution would be a widescreen/full frame version of his movies. Though yes, I wonder if putting the TV on wide or zoom would do the trick, too.
Viewing a 3D movie in 2D is kinda like viewing a Scope movie in Pan and Scan.