Tim Burton’s Lost Hansel and Gretel
From Edward Scissorhands to Beetlejuice to the Nightmare Before Christmas, the dark and magical world Tim Burton creates is iconic. However, his version of the classic Brothers Grimm tale of Hansel and Gretel, and the unlikely pairing with the Disney Channel, wasn’t as well received as his future creations would be early in his career.
Burton worked as an animator and artist for Disney. One creation born from that pairing was a live action, short film, and essentially his version of Hansel and Gretel. The bizarre retelling of the fairytale would air only once on October 31st, 1983. At a cost of $116,000 on 16 millimeter film, Hansel and Gretel featured a cast of amateur Asian actors complete with special effects, stop motion and an avant-garde aesthetic.
According to Screen Rant “The short is quite faithful to the original Brothers Grimm tale, despite odd quirks like a kung fu battle between the title duo and the witch, who uses candy cane nunchucks. There’s also a character called Dan Dan the Gingerbread Man, who sings an odd cover version of Rod Stewart’s “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?” and wants Hansel to eat him.”
The film was considered lost and some question if it actually ever existed Hansel and Gretel resurfaced at the museum of modern art as part of a Tim Burton exhibition from November 22nd, 2009 to April 26th, 2010, a 34 minute version of the film was uploaded to YouTube in 2014, although it’s speculated that a 45 minute version exists.