Sweeney Todd (ExpDl Top 100)

“I’ve noticed that it’s getting easier to do these write ups as we progress down the list, getting to films I love more and more. Now watch, now that I’ve said that, my next few are gonna drop off. *pauses to peek ahead at list* Mmm possibly.

I hadn’t planned on squeezing a movie in today. However, Glee’s finale was push back tonight to line up with the DWTS finale, both of which are at 9. That left plenty of time for a flick. It also worked out rather nicely that I was considering playing karaoke or Rock Band with my time since I was in a singing mood, but I can get that outta my system with this movie since it’s a musical.

Every year, there’s one or two movies that I hear about from the beginning and then feel the need to devour every last bit of news about the film until I go see it (usually the day it opens). Sweeney Todd was one of those. I remember EW having a one sentance blurb about it, maybe a year and a half before its schedule release. It didnt say anything other than Sweeney Todd directed by Tim Burton starring Johnny Depp. I leapt up squealing. I spent the next year and a half eating up every article and picture I could find. Each bit of casting news excited me more and more, particularly the sinister and suave Alan Rickman as Judge Turpin, and the master of silly accents Sacha Baron Cohen as Pirelli.

Sweeney Todd is one of my absolute favorite musicals. Actually, if I’d written this up last week, I’d say it was in my top five, but now I think Rock of Ages has dethroned it. I was in a production of it back in ’05, and that has been one of the most fun (easily top 3) cast experiences ever. I was in the ensemble, but had a featured bit as the bird seller. That character, along with the rest of the ensemble was cut from the film (more on that later), but I’d like to think that its because I was just that awesome, they couldnt possibly find someone else to do the role justice. Hey a girl can dream, yeah? But yeah, I know the show so well at by now, that I’m speaking dialogue along with the film not because I’ve seen the movie so many times, but because I can still hear my cast members saying the words on stage.

This show is actually at the top of my directorial wish list. I’m really \m/ dying to direct it. Most productions tend to play up the comedic side of the film, while still keeping it dark. And of course, the creep factor gets played up a lot too, which is something Burton did with the film. What I’d want to do is play it up more horror than creepy. I’ve got some magic in mind to make that happen, but the short version is much of the inspiration would be drawn from Saw–the only movie to ever give me nightmares. Mrs Lovett would be my Jigsaw. Yes Lovett, not Sweeney. If you think about it, she’s the one who pulls the initial strings.

While we’re on the subject of the characters, does anyone else think that the creepiest character is actually Anthony? Sure Sweeney kills people, but at least he’s upfront about his rage. Whereas Anthony stalks around singing words like “”Do they think that walls can hide you? Even now I’m at your window. I am in the dark beside you. Buried sweetly in your yellow hair””. *shudder*

Returning from that tangent to an earlier disucssion point–the direction that Burton took with it. My biggest disappointment with the film is that the ghost ballads were cut. Besides A Little Priest those are my favorite songs in the show. Word on the (Fleet) street is that Burton tried hard to make them work. He even had Christopher Lee and Anthony Stewart Head cast as ballad ghosts. But besides being able to forgive him for actually having attempted to include them, I do really like the intimate feel of the film. With the exception of one line (actually given to Anthony Stewart Head, likely as a consolation prize) all of the dialogue in the film is given by the principles. You see extras wandering around, but they dont contribute. There’s something rather shuddersome about that, kinda like you can feel Sweeney closing in on you. I also love the stark color of the set and clothing, which then contrasts with the bright red blood.”

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