Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Mise-en-scène Film Programme: Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Figure 1:  Movie Poster
Edward Scissorhands (1990) was a brilliant classic directed by Tim Burton and written by Caroline Thompson. This film was set in a typical American neighbourhood where everyone knows everyone. It was a story about a lonely inventor who lived in a mansion high above a town filled with pastel coloured houses. The movie is visually captivating as contrasting colours were used. Pastel colours were used for the neighbourhood and dark shades of grey for the castle. This was mentioned in an article wrote by Timeout London that could not be less accurate to describe this film. It's a visual treat, complete with pastel bungalows, surreal shrubbery and grotesque outfits, but it remains curiously hollow.” (Timeout London, 1990)

Figure 2: Street View of the Neighbourhood [Still Image]

In the story, the inventor got his idea to create and develop Edward from his machines that made cookies. He decided to put a life into it by creating an appearance and gave him the intelligence of a man. The only difference was, his new creation had scissors for hands. Before he was able to complete his masterpiece of which is to install proper hands with fingers, he died. Hence, leaving Edward with a huge house with a garden. Edward spend much attention and care for his garden and shaped the scrubs and bushes into interesting elements. His centre piece of his driveway was a hand, a very significant symbol as he longed to have a pair of his own.

Figure 3: Exterior of Edward's Mansion [Still Image]
When a saleslady came to visit and promote her products, she was shocked and scared when Edward greeted her but she was quickly filled with empathy when her motherly instincts kicked in. She understood his loneliness and decided to host him as a guest in her house. Having a barbeque party was how Edward was introduced to the community. He made an impactful and memorable impression to the community when he started to put his hands into good use. He became the neighbourhood’s hairstylist for both the women and their dogs.

Figure 4: Edward Cutting the Dog's Fur [Still Image]
Figure 5: Edward Cutting Joyce's Hair [Still Image]
His good image to the community started to crumble when he rejected Joyce, who was sexually attracted to him as he had no interest in her other than for Peg’s daughter, Kim. Following that incident, he was forced to steal and eventually got caught trying to break an entry into Kim’s boyfriend house, Jim. Rumour started to spread on how dangerous he had become when, in actual fact, he was innocent. In agreement to a review written by Maslin, she wrote “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.” (Maslin, 1990)

Figure 6: Edward and Kim Hugging [Still Image]
The ending of this film was not like a Disney’s happily every after. Instead, it was a sacrifice Edward had to make. He had to leave Kim behind when the town was after him because his attempt to save Kevin, Kim’s brother, was misjudged. Before that, Kim who initially had no interest in Edward eventually saw through his imperfect appearance. She had asked him to hug her but when he said he was not able to do so, she wrapped her arms around his chest with much gentleness. In regards to this, Travers wrote, “The memory of that moment suffuses the film even at the somber climax, which recalls Batman's poignant solitude atop that Gotham City tower. Edward Scissorhands isn't perfect. It's something better: pure magic.” (Travers, 1990).

A quote by Pulaski sums up one of the best fantasy film ever made when he said “Edward Scissorhands is, in fact, Burton's masterwork, clearly personal, richly detailed, and aesthetically beautiful in many regards.” (Pulaski, 2013)

List of Illustrations:

Figure 1 Edward Scissorhands (1990) [Poster] at accessed on 6 November 2013

Figure 2 Street view of the neighbourhood [Still Image] at accessed on 6 November 2013

Figure 3 Exterior of Edward’s Mansion [Still Image] at accessed on 6 November 2013

Figure 4 Edward cutting the dog’s fur [Still Image] at accessed on 6 November 2013

Figure 5 Edward cutting Joyce’s Hair [Still Image] at accessed on 6 November 2013

Figure 6 Edward and Kim hugging [Still Image] at accessed on 6 November 2013

List of Bibliography:

Maslin, Janet
Edward Scissorhands  (1990)
Accessed on 6 November 2013

Steve Pulaski
Accessed on 6 November 2013

Timeout London
Edward Scissorhands
Accessed on 6 November 2013

Travers, Peter
Edward Scissorhands 1990
Accessed on 6 November 2013


  1. Another satisfying review - it sounds like you enjoyed this film too! :)

    There is just one sentence that maybe is a bit jumbled - 'This was mentioned in an article wrote by Timeout London that could not be less accurate to describe this film.' This sounds like you think the quote is NOT accurate, but I think you meant the opposite?

    1. Thanks Jackie. And reading that sentence, isn't what I've written means it is very accurate because I wrote "Could NOT be less accurate". I shall mind my sentence structure next time to make it less confusing! And yes, this is one of my favourite films! :D

      Btw, you did not review my Aliens film review I did a couple of weeks ago :( I hope that review was okay too.