“Edward Scissorhands,” Tim Burton’s fourth, enchanting film, after “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure,” “Bettlejuice,” and the blockbuster “Batman,” began a long, extremely fruitful collaboration with the endlessly versatile actor Johnny Depp.
Playing the titular role made Depp a major star, having appeared in a few films before, but mostly known for the Fox 1980s TV cop show, “21 Jump Street.”
Based on a screenply by Burton and Caroline Thompson, the film tells the story of an artificial man named Edward, an unfinished creation of an inventor (Vincent Price), who has scissors for hands. When Edward is taken in by the generous matriarcch Peg Boggs (Dianne Wiest) into her subsurabn family, he falls in love with her teenage daughter Kim (played Winona Ryder, who was Depp’s girlfriend) and befriends Kim’s awakward brother.
Peg's neighbors become intrigued and even thrilled by Edward's unique talents, specifically his skills at hedge clipping and haircutting. However, two of the townspeople, the religious fanatic Esmeralda and Kim's jock boyfriend Jim, dislike him immediately. Meanwhile Joyce (Kathy Baker), a lonely housewife, suggests that Edward open a haircutting salon with her. While examining a proposed site, she attempts to seduce him, which confuses Edward.
While other actors were considered for the part of Edward (Tom Hanks, Robert Downey Jr.), the role of the Inventor was written specifically for Vincent Price, who had appeared in Burton’s short, “Vincent.”
Working with the same freedom of imagination as in his earlier pictures, but with a more sustained drive and narrative discipline, Burton casts a spell, while paying tribute to his childhood and his longtime heroes, such as Vincent Price. Burton conceived the idea for the film from his own childhood upbringing in suburban Burbank (California).
A personal film, “Edward Scissorhands” also serves as a classic parable, a mythic fairytale about the lonely, misunderstood and alientaed artist. Burton has invested each and every of his pictures with the pain of the adolescent outcast, the outsider who just couldn't fit in. His films are resonant, because they embody the remembered awkwardness of the way most of us grow up.
This film represents the fourth collaboration between Burton and composer Danny Elfman, who since scored all of the director’s pictures.
Made on a modest decent budget (around $20 million), the film, released on December 7, 1990, scored at the box-office, yielding over $56 million.
Oscar Nominations: 1
Makeup: Ve Neill, Stan Winston
The winner in that category were John Caglione Jr. and Doug Drexler for “Dick Tracy,” directed and starring Warren Beatty.