Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Tim Burton|
|Produced by||Tim Burton
Denise Di Novi
|Screenplay by||Caroline Thompson|
|Story by||Tim Burton
Anthony Michael Hall
|Music by||Danny Elfman|
|Edited by||Colleen and Richard Halsey|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Release dates||December 7, 1990|
|Running time||105 minutes|
Edward Scissorhands is a 1990 American romantic dark fantasy film directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp. The film shows the story of an artificial man named Edward, an unfinished creation who has scissors for hands. Edward is taken in by a suburban family and falls in love with their teenage daughter Kim. Supporting roles are portrayed by Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Anthony Michael Hall, Kathy Baker, Vincent Price and Alan Arkin.
Burton conceived the idea for Edward Scissorhands from his childhood upbringing in suburban Burbank, California. During pre-production of Beetlejuice, Caroline Thompson was hired to adapt Burton's story into a screenplay, and the film began development at 20th Century Fox, after Warner Bros. passed on the project. Edward Scissorhands was then fast tracked after Burton's success with Batman. Before Depp's casting, the leading role of Edward had been connected to Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Robert Downey, Jr. and William Hurt, while the role of The Inventor was written specifically for Vincent Price.
The majority of filming took place in the Tampa Bay Area of Florida between March and June 1990. Edward's scissor hands were created and designed by Stan Winston. The film is also the fourth feature collaboration between Burton and film score composer Danny Elfman. Edward Scissorhands was released with positive feedback from critics, and was a financial success. The film received numerous nominations at the Academy Awards, British Academy Film Awards, Saturn Awards, as well as winning the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. Both Burton and Elfman consider Edward Scissorhands their most personal and favorite work.
One evening, an elderly woman tells her granddaughter a bedtime story of where snow comes from, by telling her the story of a young man named Edward (Johnny Depp) who has scissors for hands. Edward is the man-made creation of an old Inventor (Vincent Price). The Inventor's final result was a human-like young boy who had everything except for hands. The Inventor suffered a heart attack and died while in the act of giving a pair of real hands to Edward, leaving him "unfinished" forever.
Many years after Edward was created, local Avon saleswoman Peg Boggs (Dianne Wiest) visits the decrepit Gothic mansion on the hill where Edward lives. There, she finds Edward alone. Upon realizing he is virtually harmless, she decides to take him to her home. Edward becomes friends with Peg's young son Kevin (Robert Oliveri) and her husband Bill (Alan Arkin). He later falls in love with the Boggs' beautiful teenage daughter Kim (Winona Ryder), despite her initial fear of him.
Peg's neighbors are impressed by Edward's adept hedge-trimming and hair-cutting skills (both of which he does with his scissor-hands), but two of the townspeople, a religious fanatic named Esmeralda (O-Lan Jones) and Kim's boyfriend Jim (Anthony Michael Hall), are not impressed. Joyce, one of the housewives in the neighborhood (Kathy Baker), an aging seductress, suggests that Edward open a hair-cutting salon with her. While examining a proposed site, she attempts to seduce him in the back room, causing Edward to leave in a state of panic.
Wanting money for a van, Jim jealously takes advantage of Edward's ability to pick locks, and uses this as an attempt to break into his parents' house. The burglar alarm sounds and everyone except Edward flees after Jim locks the door behind him, despite Kim's angry insistence that they return for him. Edward is arrested and released when a psychological examination reveals that his isolation allowed him to live without a sense of reality and common sense. Meanwhile, infuriated by Edward's rejection, Joyce exacts revenge by claiming that he tried to rape her. This, added to the break-in, causes many of the neighbors to question his personality and ruin his popular reputation. During the Christmas season, Edward is feared and cast out by almost everyone around him except the Boggs family, resulting in the family becoming outcasts as well.
While the family is setting up Christmas decorations, Edward creates an angel ice sculpture. The shavings create an effect of falling snow, which Kim dances under. Jim in envy calls out to Edward, distracting him resulting in Edward accidentally cutting Kim's hand. Jim says that Edward had intentionally harmed her and attacks him. Edward runs away, tearing off the clothes Peg gave him and wandering the neighborhood in a rage. Kim, fed up with Jim's jealous behavior towards Edward, breaks up with him and he goes to his friend's van to get drunk. While Peg and Bill search for Edward, he returns and finds Kim alone in the Boggs' house. She asks Edward to hold her, but he is afraid that he will hurt her. She pulls his arms around her and they embrace for a long time. Jim returns to the Boggs' house in a drunken rage, forcing his friend to drive his van while inebriated. Kevin is almost run over on the street, but Edward pushes him out of the way, cutting Kevin's arms and face, causing witnesses to think he is attacking him. When the police arrive, Edward flees to his hilltop mansion as the vengeful neighbors follow.
Kim runs to the mansion and reunites with Edward. Jim follows her, and attacks Edward and Kim. Edward stabs Jim in the stomach and he falls out a window to his death. Kim confesses her love for Edward and they share a kiss before saying goodbye. Returning downstairs, Kim lies to the townspeople saying that Edward and Jim fought each other to death and tells them that the roof caved in on them and shows them a disembodied scissor-hand from the Inventor's lab. The neighbors return home, with Joyce having a guilty look on her face feeling responsible for Edward's death and for being the one who framed him in the eyes of the whole neighborhood.
The elderly woman (revealed to be Kim in her old age) finishes telling her granddaughter the story, saying that she never saw Edward again. She chose not to visit him because she wanted him to remember her the way she was in her youth. She also mentions that Edward is still alive, seemingly immortal since he is artificial and can never age. It is revealed that Edward creates the town's snow by carving ice sculptures which scatter ice shavings over the neighborhood below. She tells her granddaughter that "Sometimes you can still catch me dancing in it." A flashback of a young Kim is shown dancing under the snow falling from the angel ice sculpture above her.
- Johnny Depp - Edward Scissorhands
- Winona Ryder - Kim Boggs
- Dianne Wiest - Peg Boggs
- Alan Arkin - Bill Boggs
- Anthony Michael Hall - Jim
- Kathy Baker - Joyce
- Vincent Price - The Inventor
- Robert Oliveri - Kevin Boggs
- Conchata Ferrell - Helen
- Caroline Aaron - Marge
- Dick Anthony Williams - Officer Allen
- O-Lan Jones - Esmeralda
The genesis of Edward Scissorhands came from a drawing by then-teenaged director Tim Burton, which reflected his feelings of isolation and being unable to communicate to people around him in suburban Burbank. Burton stated that he was often alone and had trouble retaining friendships. "I get the feeling people just got this urge to want to leave me alone for some reason, I don't know exactly why". During pre-production of Beetlejuice, Burton hired Caroline Thompson, then a young novelist, to write the Edward Scissorhands screenplay as a spec script. Burton was impressed with her short novel, First Born, which was "about an abortion that came back to life". Burton felt First Born had the same psychological elements he wanted to showcase in Edward Scissorhands. "Every detail was so important to Tim because it was so personal", Thompson remarked. She wrote Scissorhands as a "love poem" to Burton, calling him "the most articulate person I know, but couldn't put a single sentence together".
Shortly after Thompson's hiring, Burton began to develop Edward Scissorhands at Warner Bros., with whom he worked on Pee-wee's Big Adventure and Beetlejuice. However, within a couple of months, Warner sold the film rights to 20th Century Fox. Fox agreed to finance Thompson's screenplay while giving Burton complete creative control. At the time, the budget was projected to be around $8–9 million. When writing the storyline, Burton and Thompson were influenced by Universal Horror films, such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923), The Phantom of the Opera (1925), Frankenstein (1931), and Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), as well as King Kong (1933) and various fairy tales. Burton originally wanted to make Scissorhands as a musical, feeling "it seemed big and operatic to me", but later dropped the idea. Following the enormous success of Batman, Burton arrived to the status of being an A-list director. He had the opportunity to do any film he wanted, but rather than fast track Warner Bros.' choices for Batman Returns or Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian, Burton opted to make Edward Scissorhands for Fox.
Although Winona Ryder was the first cast member attached to the script, Dianne Wiest was the first to sign on. "Dianne, in particular, was wonderful," Burton said. "She was the first actress to read the script, supported it completely and, because she is so respected, once she had given it her stamp of approval, others soon got interested." When it came to casting the lead role of Edward, Fox was insistent on having Burton meet with Tom Cruise. "He certainly wasn't my ideal, but I talked to him," Burton remembered. "He was interesting, but I think it worked out for the best. A lot of questions came up." Cruise wanted the ending to be "happier". Michael Jackson expressed having interest for the role but was ignored. Tom Hanks then turned it down in favor of The Bonfire of the Vanities. William Hurt and Robert Downey, Jr. had both openly expressed interest.
Though Burton was unfamiliar with Johnny Depp's then popular performance in 21 Jump Street, he had always been Burton's first choice. At the time of his casting, Depp was wanting to break out of the teen idol status which his performance in 21 Jump Street had afforded him. When he was sent the script, Depp "wept like a newborn" and immediately found personal and emotional connections with the story. In preparation for the role, Depp watched many Charlie Chaplin films to study the idea of creating sympathy without dialogue. Fox studio executives were so worried about Edward's image, that they tried to keep pictures of Depp in full costume under wraps until release of the film. Burton approached Ryder for the role of Kim Boggs based on their positive working experience in Beetlejuice. Drew Barrymore previously auditioned for the role. Crispin Glover auditioned for the role of Jim before Anthony Michael Hall was cast.
Kathy Baker saw her part of Joyce, the neighbor who tries to seduce Edward, as a perfect chance to break into comedy. Alan Arkin says when he first read the script, he was "a bit baffled. Nothing really made sense to me until I saw the sets. Burton's visual imagination is extraordinary." The role of The Inventor was written specifically for Vincent Price, and would ultimately be his final feature film role. Burton commonly watched Price's films as a child, and, after completing Vincent, the two became good friends. Robert Oliveri was cast as Kevin, Kim's younger brother.
Burbank, California was considered as a possible location for the suburban neighborhoods, but Burton believed the city had become too altered since his childhood so the Tampa Bay Area of Florida, including the town of Lutz and the Southgate Shopping Center of Lakeland was chosen for a three-month shooting schedule. The production crew found, in the words of the production designer Bo Welch, "a kind of generic, plain-wrap suburb, which we made even more characterless by painting all the houses in faded pastels, and reducing the window sizes to make it look a little more paranoid." The key element to unify the look of the neighborhood was Welch's decision to repaint each of the houses in one of four colors, which he described as "sea-foam green, dirty flesh, butter, and dirty blue". The facade of the Gothic mansion was built just outside of Dade City. Filming Edward Scissorhands created hundreds of (temporary) jobs and injected over $4 million into the Tampa Bay economy. Production then moved to a Fox Studios sound stage in Century City, California, where interiors of the mansion were filmed.
To create Edward's scissor hands, Burton employed Stan Winston, who would later design Penguin's prosthetic makeup in Batman Returns. Depp's wardrobe and prosthetic makeup took one hour and 45 minutes to apply. The giant hedge sculptures that Edward creates in the film were made by wrapping metal skeletons in chicken wire, then weaving in thousands of small plastic plant sprigs. Rick Heinrichs worked as one of the art directors.
Edward Scissorhands is the fourth feature film collaboration between director Tim Burton and composer Danny Elfman. The orchestra consisted of 79 musicians. Elfman cites Scissorhands as epitomizing his most personal and favorite work. In addition to Elfman's music, three Tom Jones songs also appear: "It's Not Unusual", "Delilah" and "With These Hands". "It's Not Unusual" would later be used in Mars Attacks! (1996), another film of Burton's with music composed by Elfman.
Burton acknowledged that the main themes of Edward Scissorhands deal with self-discovery and isolation. Edward is found living alone in the attic of a Gothic castle, a setting that is also used for main characters in Burton's Batman and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Edward Scissorhands climaxes much like James Whale's Frankenstein and Burton's own Frankenweenie. A mob confronts the "evil creature", in this case, Edward, at his castle. With Edward unable to consummate his love for Kim because of his appearance, the film can also be seen as being influenced by Beauty and the Beast. Edward Scissorhands is a fairy tale book-ended by a prologue and an epilogue featuring Kim Boggs as an old woman telling her granddaughter the story, augmenting the German Expressionism and Gothic fiction archetypes.
Burton explained that his depiction of suburbia is "not a bad place. It's a weird place. I tried to walk the fine line of making it funny and strange without it being judgmental. It's a place where there's a lot of integrity." Kim leaves her jock boyfriend (Jim) to be with Edward, an event that many have postulated as Burton's revenge against jocks he encountered as a teenager. Jim is subsequently killed, a scene that shocked a number of observers who felt the whole tone of the film had been radically altered. Burton referred to this scene as a "high school fantasy".
Test screenings for the film were encouraging for 20th Century Fox. Joe Roth, then president of the company, considered marketing Edward Scissorhands on the scale of "an E.T.-sized blockbuster," but Roth decided not to aggressively promote the film in that direction. "We have to let it find its place. We want to be careful not to hype the movie out of the universe," he reasoned. Edward Scissorhands had its limited release in the United States on December 7, 1990. The wide release came on December 14, and the film earned $6,325,249 in its opening weekend in 1,372 theaters. Edward Scissorhands eventually grossed $56,362,352 in North America, and a further $29,661,653 outside North America, coming to a worldwide total of $86.02 million. With a budget of $20 million, the film was declared to be a box office success. The New York Times wrote "the chemistry between Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder, who were both together in real life at the time (1989–1993), gave the film teen idol potential, drawing younger audiences."
Edward Scissorhands received critical acclaim from film critics. Based on 53 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, 91% of the reviewers enjoyed the film, with an average score of 7.6/10. By comparison, Metacritic collected an average score of 74/100, based on 19 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Janet Maslin of The New York Times gave a largely positive review, "Burton invests awe-inspiring ingenuity into the process of reinventing something very small," she wrote. "In the case of Edward Scissorhands is a tale of misunderstood gentleness and stifled creativity, of civilization's power to corrupt innocence, of a heedless beauty and a kindhearted beast. The film, if scratched with something much less sharp than Edward's fingers, reveals proudly adolescent lessons for us all."
Desson Thomson of The Washington Post found contemporary homages to The Elephant Man, Brothers Grimm stories and The Ugly Duckling. Peter Travers, writing in Rolling Stone magazine, felt that "Edward Scissorhands isn't perfect. It's something better: pure magic." However, both Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel gave the film a negative review. Ebert stated that "Burton has not yet found the storytelling and character-building strength to go along with his pictorial flair. The ending is so lame it's disheartening. Surely anyone clever enough to dream up Edward Scissorhands should be swift enough to think of a payoff that involves our imagination."
Stan Winston and Ve Neill were nominated the Academy Award for Best Makeup, but lost to John Caglione, Jr. for his work on Dick Tracy. Production designer Bo Welch won the BAFTA Award for Best Production Design, while costume designer Colleen Atwood, and Winston and Neil also received nominations at the British Academy Film Awards. In addition, Winston was nominated for his visual effects work. Depp was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy, but lost to Gérard Depardieu of Green Card. Edward Scissorhands was able to win the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation and the Saturn Award for Best Fantasy Film. Danny Elfman, Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Alan Arkin, and Atwood received individual nominations. Elfman was also given a Grammy Award nomination.
Burton cites Edward Scissorhands as epitomizing his most personal work. The film is also Burton's first collaboration with actor Johnny Depp and cinematographer Stefan Czapsky. In October 2008, the Hallmark Channel purchased the television rights. Metalcore band Motionless in White have a song entitled "Scissorhands (The Last Snow)" with its lyrics written about the film in homage to its legacy and impact on the gothic subculture. Scottish indie rock band The Twilight Sad named a mini-album Here, It Never Snowed. Afterwards It Did after a line spoken in the final scene of the film.
A theatrical ballet adaptation by the British choreographer Matthew Bourne premiered at Sadler's Wells Theatre in London in November 2005. After an 11-week season, the production toured the UK, Asia and the United States.
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|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Edward Scissorhands|
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- Kristin Hohenadel (2005-11-22). "Run With Scissors? And Then Some". The New York Times.
- Matthew Gurewitsch (2007-03-11). "Admire the Footwork, but Mind the Hands". The New York Times.