Long ago in the Iron Age, a shadow loomed over a lonely village. For generations, the village youths are stolen from their families and delivered as sacrifice to a mythical beast - the ... See full summary »
Michelle Van Der Water,
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Part of the plot involves a string of pearls. The Sweeney Todd story first appeared in a story entitled 'The String of Pearls: A Romance'. See more »
In the Church scene, the Lord's Prayer is being recited. The version that is used (beginning "Our Father, who art ...." was not in use until 1928. The only version that would have been used in Todd's time is that from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, which begins "Our Father, which art ...", and differs in a number of other details. See more »
Man in crowd:
She runs a brothel with these two. Obviously hasn't been pounding the justice enough. They'll make her pay in Newgate.
Stop it! It's wrong!
Man in crowd:
Get off me! Of course you'd stick up for that sorry slut.
See more »
A Solid English Interpretation of the Classic Tale
Sweeney Todd, a resident barber of London, has an urge inside of him to kill. As it grows and grows, he comes to fancy a young woman whom he cannot have -- both because she is married and because he is not physically capable. As they grow closer, he lets her in on his secret and a macabre friendship is born -- one a butcher and the other a maker of meat pies.
Ray Winstone is perfect as Sweeney Todd. I don't know him from much outside of "The Proposition" (which everyone loves, but I found disappointing). He has the look of a man worn down by time and heartache, cold enough to kill but sad enough to drive us to sympathy. Other people may picture Todd differently, but I think this look fully captures the darkness and emptiness of the man. All the characters have a very dirty look to them, which I also like -- no perfect conditioning in the hair and daily bathing rituals. I like it raw, and this film gives it to me.
This is not a musical version but simply a film with a dark tale to tell. It interests me to see how this one was presented. As I understand it, the original story came from the 1820s or 1840s. Yet, this film version touches on themes like abortion and the complete absence of God, which I would presume to be quite heavy for the time (though I may be mistaken).
The denial of God, morality and such is the driving force of this film compared to other versions. It's nihilism through and through, which is like the perfect medicine for someone like myself who was raised on heavy doses of Nietzsche, Kafka and Kierkegaard. Horror films often touch the evil in the world and what drives it, but few films -- horror or not -- really get to the deeper philosophic roots of the meaninglessness of the world in our modern time. Some have tried ("Dark City" comes to mind) but this one really hits the spot.
With the Tim Burton and Johnny Depp version having just been released, I presume the BBC version of "Sweeney Todd" will not get as much of a chance. But I would advise you to check it out and compare -- one is a musical, one is not. And Burton, while dark, has his own way of looking at the world. So you're not really seeing the same film twice so much as viewing an entire world fro ma different perspective, something I think is healthy for all of us to do time and again. Give this one a shot, it packs a wallop you cannot deny.
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