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Edward Scissorhands, September 10

The Mechanical Age

Sunday, September 10, 2006
5:00 p.m. Edward Scissorhands
Tim Burton (U.S., 1990)

Edward is unfinished—the creation of a mad inventor (Vincent Price), now deceased, he has an all-too-human soul but scissors for hands. So he lives alone like Leo the Last in his ancient mansion overlooking a changed neighborhood, all late-sixties pastels and door-to-door housewives. Avon calls, and Edward's life begins: Dianne Wiest's Peg Boggs, the neighborhood naïf, sees a kindred spirit in need of a good astringent, and adopts him. Like his inventor's charming, zany automated assembly-line cookie cutter straight out of Charley Bowers, Edward (the marvelous Johnny Depp) can't do anything practical like eat a pea, but can only create beauty. Topiary leads to nouvelle coiffures for the womenfolk, for whom his snipping touch is positively orgasmic. Tim Burton is Fritz Lang with a happy face, not only in playing off the eroticism of the mechanical but in his observation that the coffee klatch is only a heartbeat away from the lynch mob. Hell hath no fury like a woman shorn.

—Judy Bloch

• Written by Caroline Thompson, from a story by Burton, Thompson. Photographed by Stefan Czapsky. With Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Anthony Michael Hall. (98 mins, Color, 35mm, From Criterion Pictures/20th Century Fox)

Preceded by short:

The Way Things Go (Peter Fischli, David Weiss, Switzerland, 1987). The animating spirit of surreal invention we saw in Charley Bowers lives on in this film by the Swiss artists Fischli and Weiss, in which cast-off objects, fire, and corrosive liquids combine to create the ultimate Rube Goldbergian chain reaction. (30 mins, Color, 16mm, From First Run/Icarus Films)

• (Total running time: 128 mins)