Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Subscribe: Google Podcasts | Stitcher | RSS
Grab your razors, dear listeners, because this week, we go in depth about screen and video versions of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street! And to join us for our analysis, we grabbed two people who had never, ever seen any version of Sweeney Todd before: David Justin and Barb Lind!
If you would care to drink along with the fountains of blood we discuss, we suggest either Castle Rock Winery Pinot Noir or La Granja Garnacha Syrah. Both were fine and inexpensive selections for our evening of murderous musicals, and at least one of those bottles has a chicken on it.
Show notes behind the cut!
Sweeney Todd movies mentioned:
The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1936)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1982)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Non-Sweeney movies mentioned:
Into the Woods
Sacha Baron Cohen
Low Budget Milky Whites:
I wish there had been a little more balance here, as this episode just seemed like an excuse to complain at length about the Tim Burton movie. I respect that some people dislike the movie, but it irritates me when those people act like that is the only response that exists (or, at least, is the response of anyone with taste or intelligence). I actually really, genuinely love the movie *and* the stage version (though my preferred version is the concert performance with George Hearn and Patti Lupone) and I appreciate them as very different things. Different, in my mind, does not mean one is inferior to the other. I think Burton’s movie is a great example of the very real fact that stage and screen use very different languages and frequently have very different goals and engage in a different social contract with their respective audiences.
I know I’m treading dangerous ground by saying it, but I feel like Burton’s movie is the best movie that could have been made from the musical. I like the younger Toby. I like that Anthony and Joanna are cast closer to their probable ages. As someone who first experienced Alan Rickman as the Sheriff of Nottingham, I felt reasonably skeeved at his Judge Turpin. I like Helena Bonham Carter’s performance (if not necessarily her singing) and particularly the way she plays the conflict between her genuine affection for Toby and her pragmatism. I think Depp is suitably subdued — different from Hearn, certainly, but where you guys saw him as not changing at all, I see it more as him playing the inevitability of where his vengeance is leading, which is simply a different acting choice, not a failure.
I’ve been thinking about how much musicals in general have changed since the golden age of movie musicals and since around 1970 in particular, because it seems very much like (and I think Sondheim has been a huge part of this) musicals have gotten heavier and more complex (both emotionally and intellectually) in that time, which perhaps makes them more of a challenge to adapt for film. That and the moviegoing audience’s sadly decreasing appetite for musicals is typically at the back of my mind whenever I see the latest movie made from a well-loved musical, so perhaps that skews how I see them.
But as far as crimes against musicals go, just get me started on Rob Marshall’s version of Nine.