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Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Release Date: December 21, 2007


Movie of the Day for Tuesday, November 13, 2007
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On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
10/214 Max Braden This exceeded my expectations, so I encourage fencesitters to go see it. Great seeing Rickman playing a real villain again.
17/94 Shane Jenkins Great sets and design. I found the songs to be a little forgettable.
18/33 John Seal Poor songs undercut impressive production values in Tim Burton's negative-image take on the Jacques Demy trope

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The character Sweeney Todd has had a long and distinguished history. He most likely made his first appearance in a penny dreadful called The String of Pearls: A Romance. Even though there are claims that his story is based in fact, there is no evidence to prove this is true. Most likely the tale of Sweeney Todd has its basis in other myths and legends, such as St. Nicholas’ resurrection of some young scholars who have been baked into meat pies, the myth of Pelops, and more meat pie imagery in Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus.

In 1847, The String of Pearls was adapted into a play titled Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street and opened at the Britannia Theatre. This melodrama was eventually filmed in 1936. Another play by Christopher Bond emerged in 1973, followed by a television movie starring Ben Kingsley in 1988 and a BBC drama in 2006.

The Sweeney Todd that we know best, though, is the musical thriller created by Stephen Sondheim. It first appeared on Broadway in 1979 and starred Angela Lansbury, Len Cariou and BOP fave Victor Garber. It has gone through numerous revivals over the years, and is finally being adapted as a major motion picture by director Tim Burton. The cast includes Burton regulards Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter as well as Alan Rickman, Sacha Baron Cohen and Laura Michelle Kelly.

In the film, Sweeney Todd is a man – previously known as Benjamin Barker - who has returned from the penal colonies in Australia, where he has spent 15 years after being falsely accused of a crime. When he speaks to Mrs. Lovett, maker of the worst pies in London, he learns that his wife was raped by Judge Turpin, the man who sent him away. Distraught, she poisoned herself. The judge now has Sweeney’s daughter under his thumb as his ward. Sweeney Todd vows revenge, and Mrs. Lovett agrees to be his co-conspirator. Their plot brings about mass murder and amazing business for the pie shop.

With release planned in late December of 2007, DreamWorks is surely angling for this to be a big awards contender. Since the Academy loves Depp, it’s possible that this could be his year. (Kim Hollis/BOP)


Vital statistics for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Main Cast Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman
Supporting Cast Timothy Spall, Jamie Campbell Bower, Jayne Wisener, Sacha Baron Cohen
Director Tim Burton
Screenwriter John Logan
Distributor Paramount Pictures
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site http://www.sweeneytoddmovie.com/
Rating R
Awards Awards page for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture


     


 
 

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