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Sweeney Todd (2007)


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Just wondering if anyone has seen any of the other versions of Sweeney Todd? The IMDB lists seven other films and/or TV shows, going back to 1926, of which only two seem to be musicals (and one of THOSE, the 1982 version with Angela Lansbury, does not list Stephen Sondheim in the credits, though it does list Hugh Wheeler -- a slip-up on the IMDB's part, maybe?).

Past actors who have played Sweeney in NON-musical productions apparently include Tod Slaughter (1936 -- was that variation on "Todd slaughters" his real name!?), Ben Kingsley (1998) and Ray Winstone (2006).

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Soundtrack will be available December 18th. Here is a clip of "My Friends". There is also a clip of "Wait" as well. While Depp will not be on Broadway anytime soon, it seems at least through these ears that he can hold a tune and he has a decent singing voice for someone with no training.

Edited by rjkolb

If there were no God, there would be no Atheists.

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I'm still an atheist, thank God.

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I was about to say "Does no one remember Cry Baby?"... but then I looked it up and discovered that Depp didn't do his own singing.

Cry Baby was my introduction to Johnny Depp -- singing up a storm in a John Waters spoof of Grease -- and I was an immediate fan. I still get a kick out of that movie.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Saw it, and need some help from Burton aficionados. It seems to me that Burton has problems with religion -- with Christianity in particular, and zealous Christians especially. I'm trying to think of why I think this, having not watched much Tim Burton stuff in recent years. (I fell off the Burton wagon long ago, although the pendulum has swung back a little with Sweeney Todd -- but I was pretty far in the anti-Burton camp, so don't read too much into that comment).

How have religious characters in Burton's films been portrayed? I remember a nosy Christian neighbor in Edward Scissorhands. And, because I've succeeded in putting it out of my mind since making the mistake of seeing it years ago, I think that Sleepy Hollow also pivots on a religious character, doesn't it? I've not seen Mars Attacks, and can't remember anything else that sticks out in terms of religion in, say, Ed Wood (it's been a long time), or even the Batman films Burton directed.

Sweeney Todd appeared to be going down a similar road, but I found its storyline pleasantly surprising in terms of how faith is portrayed (sometimes by highlighting wickedness, of course). I don't know how far I'll go with this, though. That depends on further research.

If anyone can help out, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Christian wrote:

: It seems to me that Burton has problems with religion -- with Christianity in particular, and zealous Christians especially.

FWIW, I believe the other Christian journalists I've met on the Grace Hill Media press junkets have told me that Tim Burton refused to be interviewed by the religious media -- he refused to even enter their room -- when he was promoting Big Fish. Perhaps someone who was actually there could confirm that, though.

I don't recall the cleric in Corpse Bride coming off particularly well, but it's been a couple years since I saw it, now.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I don't know anything about the motivations of folks behind Big Fish, but I do know that the only people who stepped into the Grace Hill room were the producers, the screenwriter, Danny Devito, Steve Buscemi, and Allison Lohman.

But then again, if I had been asked some of the questions at that table, I would have had headed for the nearest exit too...

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Jeffrey Overstreet wrote:

: But then again, if I had been asked some of the questions at that table, I would have had headed for the nearest exit too...

What, Tim Burton doesn't want to listen to a guy go on and on telling him how amazing he looks?

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Anthony Lane:

The whole work drips with a camp savagery (hence the presence of Sacha Baron Cohen as Pirelli, a rival barber and faux-Italianate fop), which in turn relies on the conviction that death itself, like sexual desire, exists to be sniffed at and chuckled over. That is fine for a film like

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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And, because I've succeeded in putting it out of my mind since making the mistake of seeing it years ago, I think that Sleepy Hollow also pivots on a religious character, doesn't it?

Well, there's a scene where some folks take refuge from the Horseman in a church, and IIRC the minister was one of the corrupt burghers being pursued by the Horseman, and ended up losing his head. But like you I try to block most of that out.

There's the baptism scene in Ed Wood ... some of the funding for one of his films comes from a church, and Ed must get dunked along with some of his pals before he gets the check, but that's played mostly for laughs.

Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

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mrmando wrote:

: There's the baptism scene in Ed Wood ... some of the funding for one of his films comes from a church, and Ed must get dunked along with some of his pals before he gets the check, but that's played mostly for laughs.

Hmmm, this film, There Will Be Blood ... how many other films have shown baptisms-for-cash (i.e. where the baptizee is the one getting the cash)?

(Actually, I can't recall if there was a baptism, per se, in There Will Be Blood. But there should have been.)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Hmmm, this film, There Will Be Blood ... how many other films have shown baptisms-for-cash (i.e. where the baptizee is the one getting the cash)?

In The Fighting Temptations, the prison inmates that Cuba Gooding Jr. brings into the church choir have to get baptized. They don't receive any direct payment for doing so, however.

But now we are off topic in this thread, even before the film's release date. I hear tell that "only the lead characters sing" in Burton's Sweeney Todd, which must mean that we lose the iconic "Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd" chorus numbers. And who is considered a "lead character"? Will Judge Turpin, Pirelli, Toby, and Johanna get to sing their solos or not? (The beadle's "Parlor Songs" is, frankly, no great loss.)

Edited by mrmando

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: Anyone seen any of the other films (paraphrase)

I've seen the Langsbury one, and remeber enough of the publicity from the Winstone one to remember that it had very little to do with the Sondheim version - it sounded pretty much like comparing The Adventures of Robin Hood with Prince of Thieves. And IIRC Winstone said something really stupid about the musical that suggested that if he'd seen it, he'd not really understood it.

: The beadle's "Parlor Songs" is, frankly, no great loss.

Is the point that it/they is/are meant to be bad?

: what about Bonham-Carter?

Well again, not particularly good signing fits the role - c.f. Lansbury for example.

But then I've not seen it (and won't do until the end of Jan..grrr)

Matt

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Is the point that it/they ["Parlor Songs"] is/are meant to be bad?

Not bad, just quaint and interminable. A good tenor can really show off with that number, but he always runs the risk of slowing down the show unless the acting and directing succeed in building the dramatic tension while the song is going on.

Mrs. Lovett's songs are the most difficult in the whole show, and Lansbury's delivery of them is absolutely peerless. You may not like the voice she affects, but her pitch, rhythm and timing are perfect AND the character is fully embodied AND the singing sounds completely natural.

My wife opines (and I agree) that H. B. C. is too young and beautiful to play the role, aside from not singing well.

Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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Well I should say that I've not actually heard HBC sing them yet, but yeah I guess I was mainly talking about the accent. If HBC is really bad (is she out of tune, or just weak?) then it's a disappointment (and yeah she is too young and beautiful). But I've always found Lansbury irksome - I guess I've always found it hard to disassociate her from Murder She Wrote...

As for the Beadle "bad" was perhaps a poor choice of words. What I meant was that much of the humour / tension in that section comes from the fact that these aren't particularly great songs, and as such they are irritating Lovett whilst making her more and more nervous. So I'd count their absence in the film as a significant loss, but the loss is not because they are good songs, but because of how their very interminability can be played for comic effect. Saying that their absence is no great loss is a bit like saying Pirelli's Italian accent isn't particularly convincing.

Matt

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Alan Thomas wrote:

: I wonder if they even screen-tested her.

Apparently so:

- - -

http://news.bostonherald.com/entertainment/movies/general/view.bg?articleid=1051301' target="_blank">For boyfriend Burton

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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She's not out of tune, largely--they can fix that in the studio, after all. She's just weak.

I agree. It's not good when your singing is upstaged by Johnny Depp, for cryin' out loud.

And yet, she's good in this movie. Could some other singer/actress have been better? Probably, but I'm not too disspirited about her performance. Movie's good, yo?

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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After seeing this film, I have just one question: When did Claire Danes have a sex change?

- - -

Sondheim Dismembers 'Sweeney'

He understood, then, that remaking "Sweeney" would be risky and involve major surgery. Still, he eagerly wielded the razor on perhaps his greatest work. "I'm hoping people will just forget what they know," he said, "and enjoy the movie or not. But if they go in counting the things that are missing, they're going to be very distracted." Below, a look at Mr. Sondheim's process of elimination.

New York Times, December 16

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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So I pull up my review and immediately discover that I've misspelled IanMcEwan's first name. Now I'm wondering if Baron Cohen's first name is really spelled with a "c": "Sacha"? Ugh. Should've checked all of this before I submitted the review, of course...

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Sweeney Todd had by far the biggest Friday-to-Saturday drop this past weekend, which has led pundits everywhere to speculate as to the reasons for said drop. Is it too bloody? Is it because too many people went to the theatre unaware that it would be a musical? (The trailers haven't been as forthcoming about this aspect of the film as they could be, and there are anecdotal reports of audiences gasping when the singing begins in the very first scene -- though it didn't happen at the screening *I* attended. This isn't Dreamgirls, where the "musical" nature of the work is obscured until halfway through the film by keeping virtually all the songs on-stage and thus part of the diegesis; at THAT screening, yeah, people reacted badly to the film, but not at the Sweeney Todd screening.)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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According to Wikipedia, half ST's opening Broadway audience walked out at intermission. I wonder if it's related?

Doubt it. Didn't they walk out because they hadn't thought Sondheim to have had so much blood in him? Whereas, if Tim Burton's audiences aren't expecting Sleepy Hollow gore or Nightmare before Christmas music, Corpse Bride then they haven't been paying much attention.

Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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