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English: Edward Scissorhands

About the director - Tim Burton

Burton, Tim. [Image]. In Encyclopædia Britannica.

1990 - film release

1999 - looking back

Video: Tim Burton and Johnny Depp discuss Edward Scissorhands (duration 7:28)

2018 - a career in film

Video: Tim Burton - a life in pictures (duration 25:56)


Video: Edward Scissorhands film 1990 (duration: 1:40:54)

Video: Edward Scissorhands trailer 1990 (duration 2:04)

Gothic genre

Video: Lifting the lid on Gothic fiction (duration 8:51)

portentously gloomy or horrifying...

Edward Scissorhands

Edward Scissorhands

Release date: 14 December 1990

Director: Tim Burton

Budget: $20 million (USD)

Box office: $86 million (USD)

Running time: 105 minutes

Tagline: 'The story of an uncommonly gentle man.'

In a castle high on top of a hill, lives an inventor's greatest creation - Edward, a near-complete person.

Dying before he could finish, the inventor leaves Edward with metal scissors for hands. Since then, Edward has lived alone, until a kind lady called Peg discovers him and welcomes him into her home. At first, everyone welcomes him into the community, but soon things begin to take a change for the worse. (Source - IMDB)

Edward Scissorhands contrasts two settings. The film explores what happens when these two worlds meet.

American suburbia

  • no fixed era
  • pastel colours
  • conformity e.g. similar cars, architecture, lawns

Gothic house

  • Gothic architecture
  • dark colours
  • overlooks (and stands out from) the suburbs below - see picture

Article - Appearances are not everything -  Edward Scissorhands and 'visual irony'

Johnny Depp Edward Scissorhands
Winona Ryder Kim Boggs
Dianne Wiest Peg Boggs
Anthony Michael Hall Jim Boggs
Kathy Baker Joyce
Vincent Price The Inventor
Alan Arkin Bill
Robert Oliveri Kevin Boggs
Conchata Ferrell Helen
Caroline Aaron Marge
Dick Anthony Williams Officer Allen
O-Lan Jones Esmeralda

For the full cast, view the credit list (

Tim Burton wages a valiant battle to show us new and wonderful things... 

Edward Scissorhands isn’t perfect. It’s something better: pure magic.

Americans are not very good at irony...

And he's so handy around the garden...


Edward’s appearance makes it impossible for him to modestly blend in.

At one point, he wears a baseball cap and button-down shirt to disguise his looks in order to assist in a neighbourhood heist. It only serves to make his otherness stick out even more. Edward is, simply put, strange. Kim’s jock ex-boyfriend Jim even pleads,“He isn’t even human!” when she refuses to terminate their friendship. Everyone can relate mentally to that alienation.

The secret history of Edward Scissorhands - Trey Taylor (2014)

Trample down the perversion of nature! (Esmeralda)

But if you had regular hands you'd be like everyone else (audience member)

Ever since Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, we have been fascinated with what makes someone truly human. Without hands, Edward seems sub-human. Yet he is sometimes more human than the characters he meets.

Gothic fiction tells us the truth about our divided nature - Guardian article

Question to ponder: Who is more creative in the film? Who is more destructive?

Film techniques

Video: Costume design - the hidden layer of movie magic (duration 6:06)

Video: Award-winning music composer Guy Gross talks about how he works with the director, producer, editor and sound designer on a film project (duration 3:14)

  • How important is a film soundtrack? Should you even notice it? The Guardian article The secret art of the film soundtrack explores excellent soundtracks, (including those without any music at all).

Video: Understanding Mise en scène (duration 4:58)

Video: Discover the 11 most used shots (duration 2:26)

  1. Extreme wide angle (extreme long shot)
  2. Wide angle (long shot)
  3. Full shot
  4. Medium long (3/4 shot)
  5. Cowboy shot
  6. Medium shot
  7. Medium close up
  8. Close up
  9. Choker
  10. Extreme close up
  11. Macro

Quick Links


Video: Frankenweenie (duration 1:23:17)

Video: The nightmare before Christmas (duration 1:13:26)

Video: Alice in Wonderland (duration 1:44:12)

Video: Corpse Bride (duration 1:14:02)



things associated with America, especially the United States


a conversation between two or more people in a book, play, or film


music or dialogue that is part of the action and can be heard by the characters

Dolly shot

where the camera follows backwards, forwards or moves alongside the thing being recorded


a scene set in a time earlier than the main story


belonging to the Dark Ages; portentously gloomy or horrifying
Juxtapose place close together for contrasting effect


occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold

Mise en scène

the arrangement of the scenery, props, etc. on the stage of a theatrical production or on the set of a film


a sound having a source outside the story, and not heard by the characters


a quality that evokes pity or sadness

Special effects

an illusion created for films and television by props, camerawork, computer graphics, etc.


an outlying district of a city, especially a residential one


a film sequence photographed continuously by one camera

Twilight zone

a situation that is undefined, intermediate, or mysterious e.g. ‘It is a place so strange that even scientists refer to it as the twilight zone.’