It seems as yesterday, but Tim Burton’s masterpiece “Edward Scirssorhands” is completing 22 years.
“Edward Scissorhands” is a 1990 American romantic horror-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”.
The role of The Inventor was written specifically for Vincent Price, and was ultimately his final performance. Vincent Price was the childhood idol of Tim Burton. In 1982, Price provided the narrator’s voice in “Vincent”, Tim Burton’s six-minute film about a young boy who flashes from reality into a fantasy where he is Vincent Price. Price was a lifelong smoker. He suffered from emphysema and Parkinson’s disease; his symptoms were especially severe during the filming of “Edward Scissorhands”, making it necessary to cut his filming schedule short.
“Edward Scissorhands” release came on December 14. 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, but is the story about the outsider and goodheart Edward – without happy ending but not so tragic at all – which gave to the film magic and enchantment. 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. The film is also the fourth feature collaboration between Burton and film score composer Danny Elfman. Both Burton and Elfman consider “Edward Scissorhands” their most personal and favorite work.
There’s much of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” in “Edward Scissorhands”: 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 and 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) and “Frankenstein” (1931). With Edward finally 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” and another fairy tales about impossible loves. “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.
In preparation for the role, Johnny Depp watched many Charlie Chaplin films to study the idea of creating sympathy without dialogue. Depp’s wardrobe and prosthetic makeup took one hour and 45 minutes to apply. To create Edward’s scissor hands, Burton employed Stan Winston, who would later design Penguin’s prosthetic makeup in “Batman Returns”.
SEE ANGEL OF SNOW CLIP, FROM “EDWARD SCISSORHANDS”, ON VIMEO:
SEE EDWARD SAYS GOODBYE TO KIM CLIP, FROM “EDWARD SCISSORHANDS”, ON VIMEO: