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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Awesome Adaptations (39) Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Posted by Charlene // Tags: ,
This meme celebrates an awesome adaptation related to a weekly category. Any format of adaptation (television series, film, web series, etc.) is acceptable as long as it is based in some form on a book. This meme is hosted by Alisa Selene at PictureMeReading. Check out her site and join in on the fun!

An Awesomely Stylized Adaptation
Title: Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Adapted from: Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street by Christopher Bond / The String of Pearls by Rymer and Prest

I was half convinced I'd waken,
Satisfied enough to dream you.
Happily I was mistaken,
I'll steal you, Johanna,
I'll steal you.

Pretty much all of Tim Burton's films can fit this category!  With his first attempt at a musical adaptation, Tim Burton took the iconic Stephen Sondheim creation and transformed it into a moody, contemplative, monochromatic gory spectacle with his favorite leads, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, becoming very creative and highly sympathetic murderers.

The film does not take too many liberties with the original musical which is fantastic since the original musical is pretty near perfect, and where I think the movie version differs is in the approach to the characters.  Because most of the actors are not skilled singers, the songs are made more introspective and intimate, because vocal acrobatics are kept to a minimum, and while the scoring does have that gorgeous Broadway sound, it can't overwhelm the vocals.  And with a story that is so strongly dependent on the main character's history and motivations, I think this works in the film's favor because it is easier somehow to sympathize with Sweeney Todd.

While the movie generously splashes around the blood, I don't find it as disturbing because it isn't very realistic (read: stylized) and I very much appreciated that, since I'm a bit squeamish when it comes to gore in films.  In fact, this is the first time I had ever seen anything of this musical, and I loved the film's approach and the acting and the actors.  The singing isn't always top notch, but it fit the tone the film was going for and made me a fan of the music.  With the macabre humor, and the poignant tragedy for the characters, I think this is an awesome adaptation of a very dark story.

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  2. I haven't seen this one, I need to finally check it out!

    1. Oh yes, it's much fun actually, even with the dark content, and of course there's Johnny Depp!

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  4. I liked this movie, of course usually I like everything Johny Deep does. Great actor. I have never seen the original musical and hoping I do someday!!


    1. LOL, Johnny Depp in anything is pretty much a sure thing for me too! :) I've never seen the musical live either, but I would love to!