Variations on a Theme, No. 3: Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Danny Elfman – Edward Scissorhands (1990, dir. Tim Burton)

Winner at the 1991 Academy Awards: John Barry, Dances with Wolves (1990, dir. Kevin Costner)

In a way an extension of the themes presented both visually and aurally half a century earlier in Bride of Frankenstein, Danny Elfman’s score for Edward Scissorhands focuses on another scarred, misunderstood man-made creature, Edward (played so exquisitely by Johnny Depp). “Introduction (Titles)” (1) gives us a peek into Edward’s life, a mysterious and otherworldly thing. “Edwardo the Barber” (2), however, has a comic styling similar to Elfman’s theme music for “The Simpsons,” highlighting the joys of Edward using his convenient shears for giving haircuts to the ladies in his suburban town. Finally, in “The Grand Finale” (3), Elfman recalls the delicate “Ice Dance” from earlier in the film, creating a magnificent end to a bittersweet story.

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