In the Nineteenth Century, in London, the barber Sweeney Todd invites lonely and wealthy costumers in the port to his barbershop on the nearby Fleet Street and murders them to take their money, while his associate Mrs. Lovatt and owner of a bakery below is barbershop gets rid off the bodies. Sweeney uses his fortune to help the fleet owner Stephen Oakley with the intention to force his daughter Joanna to marry him. However, the beloved Joanna's boyfriend Mark Ingerstreet returns rich from his last voyage and Sweeney decides to kill him and steal his fortune in pearl, making Mrs. Lovatt jealous with the situation. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
A real curio here, with a totally old-fashioned production and the wonderfully Dickensian Tod Slaughter performance merging well with the intrinsically macabre tale. The subject matter, whether shown or suggested, is sinister, and played as gallows humour by Slaughter. The rest of the cast is hardly particularly impressive, but fits well enough into the story, allowing Slaughter centre-stage most of the time, although there is a bizarre foreign interlude that is somewhat out-of-place.
I love the recurring wistful, whistleable tune - absurdly Romantic, yet very low calorie British too - over the opening credits; very melodic and all the more striking as, besides this refrain, there is little or no other incidental music. The photography, could, I suppose, have been more conducive to 'atmosphere', but what is that but an expectation we have about noirish cinema? This is pure theatrical melodrama. The production is indeed spare and minimal, and we're left largely to enjoy the ripping old story and a fine 'turn' from the star. There are very good lines, presumably tailored to Slaughter's stage performances in the role; he delivers them with Dickensian gusto, in a gloriously theatrical performance, which is the main, if not quite the only reason to view this oddball, watchable antique piece.
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