[Sca-cooks] OT & OOP: Sweeney Todd movie

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Thu Nov 29 14:36:55 PST 2007

On Nov 29, 2007, at 3:59 PM, Lilinah wrote:

> Johnny Depp is older than one might think.

I still remember him chiefly as the teenager Freddy Kreuger sucks into  
a mattress and grinds into a geyser of hamburger in "A Nigthmare On  
Elm Street". Of course, that was a long time ago, and he has acquired  
a Lon-Chaney-ish range of portrayals since then, and more power to him  
on that.

> He is, however, just too
> beautiful to have suffered as Sweeney Todd did in the musical - the
> original history and melodrama were something else - murder for
> pleasure and money.

Yep. Christopher Bond's play (upon which the Sondheim/Wheeler musical  
is based) is really the first attempt to portray Todd as an even  
remotely sympathetic character.

> I generally am no fan of musicals, but Sondheim is always
> extraordinary.

I confess I like the odd, and generally rather morbid musicals. This.  
"Little Shop of Horrors". I can live without "Oklahoma".

> In the end, i will go see the film, burtonized and
> dipped-in-depp as it will be. I just have to get the CD of the
> original show as an antidote.

I have it playing now. I desperately needed it: I found that the  
official movie website has audio. That's how I discovered that Helena  
Bonham Carter's part in "A Little Priest" sounds like she's  
channelling a chemically-enhanced Marilyn Monroe singing "Happy  
Birthday, Mister President".

Luckily for me, "My Friends" is not represented.

I think these people just aren't stage performers and for the most  
part, never will be, and that this musical just doesn't translate well  
to being shrunken down. All the post-1980 revivals have had to work in  
smaller spaces, with smaller casts and smaller orchestras, and they  
have invariably suffered as a result. Actually, the Burton thing does  
seem to have a full, and rather rich-sounding orchestral background,  
which will help a whole lot, but nobody in it has that booming stage  
presence the show really needs.

Except maybe the actor playing Tobias Ragg. ;-)

On a side note, I had forgotten earlier to mention my other favorite  
production of Sweeney Todd: about six minute's worth of the opening of  
Act II appears in Kevin Smith's movie "Jersey Girl". 17 people on the  
planet have seen it. Apart from gratuitous Ben Affleck as Sweeney,  
it's actually an enormous amount of fun. George Carlin gets killed and  

> cailte wrote:
>> i saw the trailer last night when i went to see HD/3D
>> beowulf.  it looks pretty good but how true to the
>> original is debatable as always... er, both beowulf and
>> sweeney todd. 8)
> Err, after seeing a couple trailers for Beowulf, and seeing as how it
> looked like a bad video game, well, wild horses couldn't drag me,
> etc. The opinions of others may differ...

Beowulf is... well... an interpretation.


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