Cutting straight to the song: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
In recent years, Tim Burton’s directorial skill seems to have faded since his glory days of Beetle Juice and Edward Scissorhands. 1999’s Sleepy Hollow suffered from
By sticking to his most basic themes, however,
Now Depp appears on a ship at night as it docks at
At any rate, the newly christened Sweeney Todd can only brood on his revenge, but he happens upon his old landlord Mrs. Lovett (Carter) in her struggling meat pie business of Fleet Street. Like Todd, Mrs. Lovett suffers from the same malnourished look—blackened eyes, scraggly hair--but she gamely tries to bake pies without too many cockroaches in them. She also has kept his old razors tucked away in the floorboards of his old flat. Todd greets these razors like old friends, and sings a song welcoming them back into his life.
So what about the singing? Most of the time, the songs do not interfere overly much with the vision of the film. For one thing, Stephen Sondheim, the songwriter of the original Broadway musical, was inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s premier soundtrack writer, Bernard Herrmann, so he had good influences. The songs are cut short and adapted to the screen well, unlike the film treatment of “The Producers” where there was little effort to tone down the exaggerated stage performances. Also
By the time Todd and Mrs. Lovett set up a successful business selling human flesh as meat pies, it seemed a logical consequence of the overpopulation and overcrowding of lower class nineteenth century London. And even though the two get their just desserts, I liked the film best when they reveled in their wicked ways. As Mrs. Lovett fantasizes of a happy future with Todd, they look like two pasty-faced Tim Burton moppets, two Edward Scissorhands looking incongruous on the British shore. In short, the perfect couple.