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Martin Landau as Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood [language NSFW]:

By the way, Ed Wood, a 1994 biopic about the consensus Worst Director Ever, is perhaps the least Tim Burtonish Tim Burton movie because, rather than be involved in creating it from the ground up, Burton came on at the last moment to direct an excellent screenplay by Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski. (These guys are the main creators of the miniseries The People vs. O.J. Simpson that we’ve been talking about here lately.)

Burton is very adept at the basic blocking and tackling of directing, so the combination of a good script, good cast, and Tim Burton worked very well even on a small budget and a quick production time. Of course, most movies Burton makes reflect more of Burton’s idiosyncratic auteur vision with lots of Burtonish art direction. After three decades and countless movies, audiences are getting a little tired of that, but that doesn’t mean Burton’s style wasn’t highly original 30 years ago.

 
47 Comments to "Martin Landau, RIP"
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  1. roo_ster says:

    Ed wood is one of my favorite movies. And landau as bela was terrific.

    Read More
    • Replies: @syonredux

    Ed wood is one of my favorite movies. And landau as bela was terrific.
     
    Ed Wood is my favorite Tim Burton film. And, yes, Martin Landau was terrific in it.
    , @Pat Boyle
    My favorite Martin Landau film was also my favorite Woody Allen film - "Crimes and Misdemeanors".

    I was always a little mad at Landau for winning the Oscar. It seemed to me that Gary Sinise that year had provided the best Supporting Actor portrayal of all time. I thought Landau had won the award as kind of Oscar sentimental stunt. I hadn't seen 'Ed Wood' then but when I did - I still think Sinese was robbed.

    BTW Gary Sinese was never quite so good again after 'Forrest Gump'. Whereas Landau was long before and long afterward totally wonderful. I'm not just sure what that all means. Movie impressions are of necessity a jumble in our minds.
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  2. slumber_j says:

    I only just realized from looking at an early publicity still that he played the principal evil flunky to James Mason’s Mr. Van Damm in North by Northwest. I’ve never seen drinks offered so menacingly.

    I also thought he was utterly convincing in Rounders, among other things.

    Read More
  3. I loved him in Rounders, a movie that was literally ahead of its time.

    Read More
  4. syonredux says:
    @roo_ster
    Ed wood is one of my favorite movies. And landau as bela was terrific.

    Ed wood is one of my favorite movies. And landau as bela was terrific.

    Ed Wood is my favorite Tim Burton film. And, yes, Martin Landau was terrific in it.

    Read More
  5. I’ll add my voice to the chorus of praise for Landau in Ed Wood, and also mention his fine performance in Crimes and Misdemeanors.

    I’m not sure if I simply missed most of his work, but I have an impression that he was an underutilised talent.

    Read More
  6. MEH 0910 says:

    North by Northwest (1959) – The Ending Scene

    Read More
    • Replies: @Pat Boyle
    My mother and aunt both worked for the railroad at that time. They were scandalized by the last scene where Grant and Saint (unmarried people) are seen getting into a Pullman sleeper together. They seem upset that the movies were defaming the railroads.

    Another time that.
  7. MEH 0910 says:

    George A. Romero, ‘Night of the Living Dead’ creator, dies at 77

    Romero died Sunday in his sleep after a “brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer,” according to a family statement to The Times provided by his longtime producing partner, Peter Grunwald. Romero died while listening to the score of one his favorite films, 1952’s “The Quiet Man,” with his wife, Suzanne Desrocher Romero, and daughter, Tina Romero, at his side, the family said.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ivy
    Hugh Hefner seems to have hit the trifecta, too.
    , @Anon
    Romero died Sunday in his sleep

    He'll soon be back... hungry too.
  8. MEH 0910 says:

    Special “Space: 1999″ Intro with Martin Landau & Barbara Bain – Sept., 1975!!

    Read More
  9. Speaking of movies, Forrest Gump was on TV yesterday. Whatever you think of it as a movie, it has some beautiful scenes of an America that was and will never be again. Sad to watch. When I graduated from high school in the early 90s, I never would have imagined the future we’re in now.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Danindc
    Born on the 4th of July was not a very good movie but the first half hour was a masterpiece. Talk about Goodbye America...
  10. Danindc says:
    @Chrisnonymous
    Speaking of movies, Forrest Gump was on TV yesterday. Whatever you think of it as a movie, it has some beautiful scenes of an America that was and will never be again. Sad to watch. When I graduated from high school in the early 90s, I never would have imagined the future we're in now.

    Born on the 4th of July was not a very good movie but the first half hour was a masterpiece. Talk about Goodbye America…

    Read More
  11. Ivy says:
    @MEH 0910
    George A. Romero, 'Night of the Living Dead' creator, dies at 77

    Romero died Sunday in his sleep after a “brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer,” according to a family statement to The Times provided by his longtime producing partner, Peter Grunwald. Romero died while listening to the score of one his favorite films, 1952’s “The Quiet Man,” with his wife, Suzanne Desrocher Romero, and daughter, Tina Romero, at his side, the family said.
     

    Hugh Hefner seems to have hit the trifecta, too.

    Read More
    • Replies: @MEH 0910
    Link? I can't find it in the news.
    , @kaganovitch
    Nah, Hefner death is Fake News
  12. syonredux says:

    By the way, Ed Wood, a 1994 biopic about the consensus Worst Director Ever, is perhaps the least Tim Burtonish Tim Burton movie because, rather than be involved in creating it from the ground up, Burton came on at the last moment to direct an excellent screenplay by Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski. (These guys are the main creators of the miniseries The People vs. O.J. Simpson that we’ve been talking about here lately.)

    Burton is very adept at the basic blocking and tackling of directing, so the combination of a good script, good cast, and Tim Burton worked very well even on a small budget and a quick production time.

    Yeah, that’s probably why I like it so much. Burton is great at visuals (especially set design) but weak on things like plot and structure. The script for Ed Wood gave Burton a solid structure around which he could work his magic.

    Read More
  13. MEH 0910 says:
    @Ivy
    Hugh Hefner seems to have hit the trifecta, too.

    Link? I can’t find it in the news.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    http://hoax-alert.leadstories.com/3468661-fake-news-hugh-hefner-not-dead-at-age-91.html
  14. Mr. Anon says:

    I found out from his IMDB page, that Landau was Gene Roddenberry’s first choice for Spock. I think Leonard Nimoy was still the better choice, but Landau would have made a good Vulcan (or Romulan).

    Anything Landau was in was good to (at least) the degree that he was in it. I wish he had been in more movies. I even liked “Space 1999″. R.I.P.

    Read More
  15. Landau’s first appearance on TV’s Mission: Impossible as makeup-transformation artist Rollin Hand prompted an avalanche of fan mail asking to see more of his character’s sleight-of-face work, and the producers obliged.

    Read More
  16. MEH 0910 says:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bela_Lugosi#Legacy

    In Tim Burton’s Ed Wood, Lugosi is played by Martin Landau, who received the 1994 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. According to Bela G. Lugosi (his son), Forrest Ackerman, Dolores Fuller and Richard Sheffield, the film’s portrayal of Lugosi is inaccurate: In real life, he never used profanity, owned small dogs, or slept in coffins. And contrary to this film, Bela did not struggle performing on The Red Skelton Show.[25][34]

    Read More
  17. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    Now, we know what INGLORIOUS and DJANGO were really about.

    What if Charles Manson was hired to kill Nazis. What if Charles Manson were a Negro on a war path against whites.

    Read More
    • Replies: @roo_ster
    Have not liked a Tarantino film since Jackie Brown. Can't imagine this being worth my time.

    In a cage match between Jackie Brown and Charles Manson, Jackie would have manipulated Chuck's fight manager or cut man into doing the dirty for her, while she walked off into the sunset with a fat roll of bills.
  18. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @MEH 0910
    George A. Romero, 'Night of the Living Dead' creator, dies at 77

    Romero died Sunday in his sleep after a “brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer,” according to a family statement to The Times provided by his longtime producing partner, Peter Grunwald. Romero died while listening to the score of one his favorite films, 1952’s “The Quiet Man,” with his wife, Suzanne Desrocher Romero, and daughter, Tina Romero, at his side, the family said.
     

    Romero died Sunday in his sleep

    He’ll soon be back… hungry too.

    Read More
    • Replies: @yyrvjh

    He’ll soon be back… hungry too.

     

    iSteve: come for the articles ... stay for the one-liners!
    , @Pat Boyle
    Good one!
  19. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    Burton came on at the last moment to direct an excellent screenplay by Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski.

    Also, there was no need to ‘burton’ it up since the material itself was so crazy and zany.
    No need to add salt to salted pork. It’s almost Jarmuschy.

    This is what Stone failed to understand in NBK. The story was so wild and crazy that all he needed to was tell it straight. It’s like you don’t need camera tricks in a Fun-House. A drunkard doesn’t have to act drunk. Being drunk is enough.

    Read More
  20. @Anon
    Burton came on at the last moment to direct an excellent screenplay by Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski.

    Also, there was no need to 'burton' it up since the material itself was so crazy and zany.
    No need to add salt to salted pork. It's almost Jarmuschy.

    This is what Stone failed to understand in NBK. The story was so wild and crazy that all he needed to was tell it straight. It's like you don't need camera tricks in a Fun-House. A drunkard doesn't have to act drunk. Being drunk is enough.

    Right.

    Read More
  21. neutral says:

    I have to add that Romero the creator of the modern zombie genre has also just died.

    Read More
  22. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Obit (7/16/2017): Harvard-schooled Maryam Mirzakhani, 40, only woman to win a Fields Medal

    NEW YORK — Maryam Mirzakhani, an Iranian mathematician who was the only woman ever to win a Fields Medal, the most prestigious honor in mathematics, died Saturday. She was 40.

    The cause was breast cancer, said Stanford University, where she was a professor. The university did not say where she died.

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/obituaries/2017/07/16/harvard-trained-math-scholar-maryam-mirzakhani-only-woman-win-fields-medal-dies/By5SHET9qvAznCPPDtjUhM/story.html?p1=Article_Recommended_ReadMore_Pos1

    Read More
  23. @Anonymous
    Obit (7/16/2017): Harvard-schooled Maryam Mirzakhani, 40, only woman to win a Fields Medal

    NEW YORK — Maryam Mirzakhani, an Iranian mathematician who was the only woman ever to win a Fields Medal, the most prestigious honor in mathematics, died Saturday. She was 40.

    The cause was breast cancer, said Stanford University, where she was a professor. The university did not say where she died.

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/obituaries/2017/07/16/harvard-trained-math-scholar-maryam-mirzakhani-only-woman-win-fields-medal-dies/By5SHET9qvAznCPPDtjUhM/story.html?p1=Article_Recommended_ReadMore_Pos1

    Very sad.

    Read More
  24. yyrvjh says:
    @Anon
    Romero died Sunday in his sleep

    He'll soon be back... hungry too.

    He’ll soon be back… hungry too.

    iSteve: come for the articles … stay for the one-liners!

    Read More
  25. whorefinder says: • Website

    Burton has a flair for self-aware comedy, and Depp as his stand-in gets it too. Both get that Burton’s weird and his films are weird, and make fun of it within the films themselves, so as a result his films don’t get bogged down in being too serious and the audiences can giggle at the weirdness and feel like the director/star are in on the joke, which makes the films watchable in unironic ways.

    Burton hasn’t had as much direct visual impact on film/TV that I can see (except for Pushing Daises, the 2007-2009 ABC series), i.e. you can always tell that a film is a “Tim Burton” film—-you can’t really mistake his visuals for anyone else, which is a compliment when you consider how successful he is—no one can mimic him.

    But Burton has had subtler impact. For one, his self-aware, ludicrous, awkward comedy has almost certainly influenced the Cohen brothers (The Big Lebowski and Intolerable Cruelty could have been Burton films if they’d been filmed with black clothing, white pancake makeup, more blond ingenues, and a magical warlock cameo by Johnny Depp) and David Lynch (whose Twin Peaks and later films seem to have gotten lighter at certain points in a Burton-esque way). Burton’s comedy is like a broader version of Alfred Hitchcock’s.

    And Burton’s Batman really set the stage for all the other “gritty” superhero reboots demanded by fans. Recall that leading up to the film, a large portion of the fan base wanted either Adam West to redo the campy 1960s TV show in movie form (which is probably what the studio thought they would get after he did Pewee’s Big Adventure) or else a straightforward caped-crusader-as-white-knight hero a la the Richard Donner Superman films.

    Then Burton shocked them all, put Michael Keaton as the lead, and went to the Dark Knight portion of the mythos. That made Joel Schumacher’s entries unpalatable later (whereas if Schumacher had made the films before Burton’s entries, they would have gotten more love), and allowed for Nolan’s Batman films, the surprise Wesley Snipes hit Blade, and made it a knee jerk for every director not named Sam Rami to make their superheroes have at least some shades of black to their soul.

    Read More
  26. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    He was also quite good as one of the outlaws (with Karl Malden and Arthur Kennedy) in the movie “Nevada Smith”, which starred Steve McQueen.

    And, yes, he would have been an excellent Spock.

    Read More
  27. SteveM says:

    Agree with above about Martin Landau and Crimes and Misdemeanors. My favorite scene, a riveting argument over morality:

    RIP

    Read More
  28. roo_ster says:
    @Anon
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEyHbxymhSc

    Now, we know what INGLORIOUS and DJANGO were really about.

    What if Charles Manson was hired to kill Nazis. What if Charles Manson were a Negro on a war path against whites.

    Have not liked a Tarantino film since Jackie Brown. Can’t imagine this being worth my time.

    In a cage match between Jackie Brown and Charles Manson, Jackie would have manipulated Chuck’s fight manager or cut man into doing the dirty for her, while she walked off into the sunset with a fat roll of bills.

    Read More
  29. Busby says:

    1. I see a lot of snarling about Space 1999. They were actors, taking parts to make the mortgage and put food on the table. I don’t criticize my mechanic because he used to work on BMWs and now he works on Fords.

    2. Tucker is one of my personal favorites and in part because of Landau’s characterization of Abe. He’s just so good, like when he tells Jeff Bridges he’s pulled off a publicity coup and says “You can’t buy that kind of publicity.” When Bridges asked him how he pulled it off he says, “I bought it……for money.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    I see a lot of snarling about Space 1999.

    Space: 1999 had engaging features and disagreeable features. The latter weren't local to the actors, but rather the writers and producers. The premise of the show required an excess of suspension of disbelief as did some of the granular details in scripts regarding the imaginary technology. My father, a dedicated Trekkie, used to roll his eyes at some of the 'Uranus-Hertz' like word salads the writers dreamed up. Replacing about 80% of the cast after the 1st season (and without explanation in plots for the most part) was a strange thing to do and likely cost them in audience numbers and interest. In between the architectonic elements and the granular elements, they often did have satisfactory (and disconcerting) plots. I think there were only two or three characters they attempted to develop.

  30. Ben Gunn says:

    I worked with him on a movie as an extra, Neon Empire. The actors hung out with we minions, so I introduced myself. He gave me the best handshake, affirming, confident, pleasing, no condescension or supplication. Classy guy. That shake was impressive enough to form a lasting memory from a seemingly trivial moment. I have commented on it from time to time. RIP

    Read More
  31. Pat Boyle says:
    @MEH 0910
    North by Northwest (1959) - The Ending Scene

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bCca1RYtao

    My mother and aunt both worked for the railroad at that time. They were scandalized by the last scene where Grant and Saint (unmarried people) are seen getting into a Pullman sleeper together. They seem upset that the movies were defaming the railroads.

    Another time that.

    Read More
    • Replies: @MEH 0910
    And then the train went in the tunnel! Sometimes a cigar isn't just a cigar.
  32. Pat Boyle says:
    @roo_ster
    Ed wood is one of my favorite movies. And landau as bela was terrific.

    My favorite Martin Landau film was also my favorite Woody Allen film – “Crimes and Misdemeanors”.

    I was always a little mad at Landau for winning the Oscar. It seemed to me that Gary Sinise that year had provided the best Supporting Actor portrayal of all time. I thought Landau had won the award as kind of Oscar sentimental stunt. I hadn’t seen ‘Ed Wood’ then but when I did – I still think Sinese was robbed.

    BTW Gary Sinese was never quite so good again after ‘Forrest Gump’. Whereas Landau was long before and long afterward totally wonderful. I’m not just sure what that all means. Movie impressions are of necessity a jumble in our minds.

    Read More
  33. Art Deco says:
    @Busby
    1. I see a lot of snarling about Space 1999. They were actors, taking parts to make the mortgage and put food on the table. I don't criticize my mechanic because he used to work on BMWs and now he works on Fords.

    2. Tucker is one of my personal favorites and in part because of Landau's characterization of Abe. He's just so good, like when he tells Jeff Bridges he's pulled off a publicity coup and says "You can't buy that kind of publicity." When Bridges asked him how he pulled it off he says, "I bought it......for money."

    I see a lot of snarling about Space 1999.

    Space: 1999 had engaging features and disagreeable features. The latter weren’t local to the actors, but rather the writers and producers. The premise of the show required an excess of suspension of disbelief as did some of the granular details in scripts regarding the imaginary technology. My father, a dedicated Trekkie, used to roll his eyes at some of the ‘Uranus-Hertz’ like word salads the writers dreamed up. Replacing about 80% of the cast after the 1st season (and without explanation in plots for the most part) was a strange thing to do and likely cost them in audience numbers and interest. In between the architectonic elements and the granular elements, they often did have satisfactory (and disconcerting) plots. I think there were only two or three characters they attempted to develop.

    Read More
  34. RIP. Great actor.

    It’s tough making it to 90, really tough. I don’t have one male family member who made it that far. A man has to reach 84 just to have a barely 50-50 chance of living to 90. I thought he was going to make it.

    I really despise the Oscars. They’re far worse than useless, kind of like the Gold Glove in baseball. Landau had an important role in two of the greatest films ever made, Crimes and Misdemeanors and North by Northwest and everyone is talking about Ed Wood. That’s not nearly as bad as people wanting to see John Wayne’s “crowning achievment,” True Grit, which was not even one of his 25 best films (or performances). Ugh. (and then the Coen Brothers do a remake, WTF?!!)

    Read More
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    It’s tough making it to 90, really tough. I don’t have one male family member who made it that far.

    It's a great deal more common than it once was. Current mortality rates are such that you can expect 15% or so of the male population to see their 90th.

  35. Art Deco says:
    @Judah Benjamin Hur
    RIP. Great actor.

    It's tough making it to 90, really tough. I don't have one male family member who made it that far. A man has to reach 84 just to have a barely 50-50 chance of living to 90. I thought he was going to make it.

    I really despise the Oscars. They're far worse than useless, kind of like the Gold Glove in baseball. Landau had an important role in two of the greatest films ever made, Crimes and Misdemeanors and North by Northwest and everyone is talking about Ed Wood. That's not nearly as bad as people wanting to see John Wayne's "crowning achievment," True Grit, which was not even one of his 25 best films (or performances). Ugh. (and then the Coen Brothers do a remake, WTF?!!)

    It’s tough making it to 90, really tough. I don’t have one male family member who made it that far.

    It’s a great deal more common than it once was. Current mortality rates are such that you can expect 15% or so of the male population to see their 90th.

    Read More
  36. J1234 says:

    My favorite scene from Plan 9. Unintentionally hilarious, yet sad. Landau captured this aspect of Lugosi perfectly.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HOpC-znrKQ

    Read More
  37. MEH 0910 says:
    @Pat Boyle
    My mother and aunt both worked for the railroad at that time. They were scandalized by the last scene where Grant and Saint (unmarried people) are seen getting into a Pullman sleeper together. They seem upset that the movies were defaming the railroads.

    Another time that.

    And then the train went in the tunnel! Sometimes a cigar isn’t just a cigar.

    Read More
  38. Ivy says:
    @Reg Cæsar
    http://hoax-alert.leadstories.com/3468661-fake-news-hugh-hefner-not-dead-at-age-91.html

    Mea DD Culpa?

    Read More
  39. @Anonymous
    He was also quite good as one of the outlaws (with Karl Malden and Arthur Kennedy) in the movie "Nevada Smith", which starred Steve McQueen.

    And, yes, he would have been an excellent Spock.

    And who could forget Suzanne Pleshette (Pilar)…

    Read More
  40. George says:

    How come Landau was able to succeed in show business without changing his family name to something more goyish?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Suggest it was because his career began around 1955, when a Jewish surname per se was not an impediment to marketing. Also, his birth name wasn't ugly, ridiculous, or difficult to pronounce. Walter Matthau (8 years his senior) changed the spelling of his name, but kept the pronunciation. Joan Rivers (5 years his junior) and Vicki Lawrence (21 years his junior) adopted stage names in lieu of awkward given names (Molinsky and Axelrad, respectively). N.B. "Barbara Bain" is a manufactured name, presumably adopted because her birth name (Mildred Fogel) seems proper for someone quite old. Tony Randall (8 years Landau's senior) changed his name; however, he broke into performing a half-generation earlier and was typecast as punctilious and non-ethnic (having worked to lose his accent in drama school).
  41. Art Deco says:
    @George
    How come Landau was able to succeed in show business without changing his family name to something more goyish?

    Suggest it was because his career began around 1955, when a Jewish surname per se was not an impediment to marketing. Also, his birth name wasn’t ugly, ridiculous, or difficult to pronounce. Walter Matthau (8 years his senior) changed the spelling of his name, but kept the pronunciation. Joan Rivers (5 years his junior) and Vicki Lawrence (21 years his junior) adopted stage names in lieu of awkward given names (Molinsky and Axelrad, respectively). N.B. “Barbara Bain” is a manufactured name, presumably adopted because her birth name (Mildred Fogel) seems proper for someone quite old. Tony Randall (8 years Landau’s senior) changed his name; however, he broke into performing a half-generation earlier and was typecast as punctilious and non-ethnic (having worked to lose his accent in drama school).

    Read More

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