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Edward Scissorhands

This story will touch you even though he can't  

Year: 1990 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC PG Cert – Parental guidance 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Tim Burton 
Starring: Johnny Depp, Dianne Wiest, Winona Ryder, Kathy Baker, Vincent Price.  
An image from Edward Scissorhands

In his first partnership of many with legendary director, Tim Burton, Johnny Depp plays Edward, a man built by an inventor. He is incomplete however, as the inventor died before he could finish Edward, leaving him with sharp scissors for hands. Discovered by cheery and community driven Avon Representative, Peg (Dianne Wiest) as she pokes around in his castle on the hill, she brings him down to the little town below, determined to rehabilitate him into the community. Edward must learn how to socially interact and to grasp the morals of civil society and in the process discovers the many uses for his scissorhands.

Edward Scissorhands is a film made by many geniuses. Tim Burton’s dark and wonderfully strange perception is fresh here and is allowed to run wild in the striking character of Edward, the make-up artist being nominated for an Academy Award. His ability to create sympathy and empathy, combined with his sense of humour, juxtaposes the horror elements of the film with the cheery set design and the all American characters of the town. His pastel coloured houses with matching cars, and the looming house on the hill contrast perfectly and eerily, making clear Burton’s use of horror conventions and influences.

Multi-award winning composer Danny Elfman, another long-running partner for Tim Burton, flourishes in his own dark way in this film, with his score complementing Burton’s aesthetic perfectly.

Finally, fresh from the set of 21 Jump Street Johnny Depp achieves cinematic greatness in his naïve and simple portrayal of Edward in one of the most difficult roles of his career. Depp is famous for his quirky and original roles, such as Captain Jack Sparrow, Ed Wood, J.M. Barrie and Willy Wonka, and it all started with this one, which elevated him to popularity and critical acclaim.

Although Edward Scissorhands was not immediately a hit, it has reached cult-like status and appreciation, which it absolutely deserves. This magical film is definitely a must-see, especially as it will be shown in all its 70mm glory!

Rachael Pilson-Wood

This is a modern day fable expanded from an idea Burton had as a child. It's about Edward (Depp), the creation of an inventor (Price) who died before finishing him off, leaving him with scissors for hands.

One day a relentlessly cheerful Avon representative, Peg Boggs (Wiest) ventures to his aged mansion, the gloomy and intimidating façade of which cannot deter her. It's here she discovers Edward and takes pity on the lonely young man she sees before her. Taking him home to live with her and her family in the entirely artificial world created by Burton in which a large gothic mansion sits at the end of a street filled, with pastel coloured houses and picket fences, the inhabitants dressing in 50's apparel.

Peg's family, consist of her husband Bill (Arkin), her daughter Kin (Ryder) who initially wary of their new houseguest, gradually begin to accept Edward for who he is. As do the rest of the street, his talent for creating interesting hairstyles wins over the majority of women living there, as they all want one of his original creations. Kim is perhaps the only obstacle to his happiness, the object of his affection, and practically unobtainable. It is his love for her which in a few foolish moves sees his once accepted status revoked, with the streets occupants resenting his presence and driving him home to lifelong isolation in his castle. The climatic end sequence seeing the beautifully set up 'beauty and the beast' like storming of the castle.

Kirsty Stokes

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Screenings of this film:

2000/2001 Autumn Term (35mm)
2005/2006 Autumn Term (70mm)
2008/2009 Autumn Term (70mm)