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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 »
When Matthew is left on the steps after his death he opens his eyes right before the scene fades. 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 »
While most people know 'Sweeney Todd' from the Stephen Sondheim musical, this UK production depicts the original story of Sweeney from the 18th century melodramas, adapted from 'The String of Pearls' newspaper serial and various other penny-dreadfuls at the time, with one major difference. While the early plays and penny dreadfuls painted Sweeney as a stereotypical, melodramatic villain, who the Victorian audience took delight in booing, Ray Winstone's version is closer to the musical. Winstone plays Sweeney as an honest barber who slits the throat of a Newgate Gaoler who boasts of mistreating kids (earlier Sweeney had given money to some kids hanging out the window), haunted by memories of his own twenty years spent in Newgate. Once he tastes that first kill, he can't stop ("I did it because I could...then, I couldn't not"). Along the way, he meets Mrs. Lovett, and saves her from an abusive relationship, and an infection which threatens to kill her, though he repels her advances. Eventually, he buys a shop for Mrs. Lovett's pie business - next to his barber shop - and comes up with the perfect way to get rid of the bodies stockpiling under his shop and help Mrs. Lovett; use the flesh of his victims for her meat pies. However, the plan comes unstuck when the nearby church is engulfed by the stench of the dead. By the end of the movie, Sweeney is a shell of a man, tortured by guilt over his crimes.
While arguments exist over whether Sweeney actually existed, this film give an interesting account of Sweeney the man and why he became the demon barber.
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