Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (film)

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Sweeney todd burton 9698.jpg

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a 2007 Tim Burton film starring Johnny Depp, Alan Rickman and Helena Bonham Carter.

It is based on the Sondheim musical of the same name, which was based on the Christopher Bond version of the legendary story of an English barber who murdered his customers and, with the help of his neighbor Mrs. Lovett, made them into pies.

In this version of the story, Todd is out to get revenge on a corrupt Judge who sent him to prison on false charges, raped his wife (who then committed suicide), "adopted" his daughter Johanna fifteen years ago and plans to marry her. Mrs. Lovett smoothly tries to dissuade him from this goal so that he can settle down with her and run a business, whilst Johanna takes a shine to a young sailor.

Tropes used in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (film) include:
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Lovett and Sweeney in the stage version are often played by mildly over weight people who are closer to elderly than they are to middle age, and most certainly are not attractive. In the film they are played by Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp. The former is quite attractive, and the latter is regularly listed as one of the sexiest people in Hollywood.
    • YMMV of course, but part of the reasons why the people who play the characters in the show are overweight is because they have the required singing power to do the songs (it has to do with your diaphragm, this is why Opera singers are so often overweight). Since they made it so the songs are no longer the BIG BOOMING MUSICAL NUMBERS, they could bring in someone who didn't have quite that level of singing power.
  • Bishonen: Anthony.
  • Camera Abuse: Blood spatters the camera during Sweeney's rendition of "Johanna".
  • Circle of Shame/Scream Discretion Shot: The climax of "Poor Thing".
  • Costume Porn: Lovett's dress in the final scene, and perhaps the one she wears in "God, that's Good!".
  • Crime After Crime
  • Dark Reprise: "Not While I'm Around" and "The Barber and his Wife".
  • Dulcinea Effect: Anthony comes across this way - see Relationship Compression for the reason.
  • Fauxreigner: Adolfo Pirelli a.k.a. Davey Collins (played by the English - and very Jewish - Sacha Baron Cohen).
  • Gorn: Oh so very much. There are many graphic close-ups of throats being slashed and stabbed, the blood spurting out.
  • Hanging Judge: Judge Turpin, even more than in the stage version. There's a new scene in which he sentences a preteen to death, and it's not really clear whether the charge is true or not—and as he and the Beadle walk out of the courtroom, the Beadle expresses that the kid "must have done something to warrant a hanging." The judge agrees, as in his worldview, everyone has done something along those lines.
  • High-Pressure Blood: Big time.
  • Homosocial Heterosexuality: Sweeney is playing the Destructive Romance version of this trope with Judge Turpin. Mutual bónding in the scenes with the song "Pretty Women", and on the surface helping with the plan to force Todd's daughter to marry Turpin. However, the one Todd plan to sacrifice is not his daughter, but secretly Turpin instead.
  • Ironic Echo: One of the best examples this troper knows! "Life is for the alive, my dear." Said first by Mrs. Lovett, trying to get Sweeney to move on from his dead wife. Sweeney says this line in the final song, right before, having realized her betrayal, throwing Mrs. Lovett into the oven.
  • Kick the Dog: In addition to most of the moments from the stage version, there's the Beadle, on orders from Turpin, beating Anthony bloody for the crime of "gandering" at Johanna.
  • Kill'Em All: Were you expecting a revenge tragedy to have a happy ending? Sweeney Todd, Judge Turpin, Lucy, and Mrs. Lovett are all dead. Only Toby, Johanna, and Anthony are all alive. Toby is clearly totally insane now. Anthony and Johanna do not appear at the end and are presumed to have escaped, though whether they ended up together in the end is unknown and the both of them never seem to learn what the hell went on behind their little love story.
  • Living MacGuffin: Johanna is, more or less, reduced to this in the film.
  • Looks Like Cesare: Both Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett, owing to Tim Burton who loves this trope in general.
  • Morton's Fork: Sweeney uses this to justify killing everyone. Either you're powerful, because you're evil, and therefore you deserve to die, or you're good, so you're oppressed, and therefore "death will be a relief".
  • Odd Friendship: Judge Turpin believes that he has formed one with Sweeney Todd, due to him seemingly understanding his plight regarding women. He doesn't realize until too late, that Sweeney is Benjamin Barker and is going to kill him.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Well, it is Helena Bonham Carter, after all.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: In the movie's opening theme.
  • Painting the Fourth Wall: During "Johanna (reprise)", when blood spatters on the edge of the camera lens.
  • Pietà Plagiarism: Sweeney cradling the body of his dead wife at the end of the film version before Toby kills him.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: All the Crowd Song numbers and verses are dropped in the film, including the Opening Chorus "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd". Christopher Lee, Anthony Stewart Head and other name actors had been cast to sing these parts, but the schedule got messed up when Depp's daughter fell ill. The parts had already been recorded, but Tim Burton decided they weren't working and were cut, and Sondheim approved the changes.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: The last words Sweeney yells to Judge Turpin. "BENJAMIN BARKER!!!"
  • Rape Discretion Shot: Judge Turpin's rape of Lucy is filmed this way.
  • Rasputinian Death: During the final vengeance scene Judge Turpin is stabbed in the throat multiple times, eventually has his throat slit, and is sent falling down a presumably long shaft. Even after that, he manages to survive long enough to grab for Mrs. Lovett's dress before he finally dies.
  • Relationship Compression: In the stage version, Anthony and Johanna have quite a few duets with each other, and both are at least a little more badass. But in the film, they cut out almost all of their scenes to just the bare bones, and making Anthony come off as a rather creepy stalker obsessing so much over a girl he only looked at through a window once.
  • Sex Is Evil and I Am Horny: Judge Turpin fills this role, fooling himself that he can protect young Johanna from the evil of other men's sexuality by forcing her to marry him and satisfy his own selfish lust.
    • Judge Turpin is also shown in a flashback to have raped Todd's wife at a party with the witnesses laughing after having Todd shipped off to who-knows-where.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Mrs. Lovett looks less mousy and disheveled, and more well-dressed as the plot progresses.
  • Shout-Out: Sweeney's hair and wardrobe resemble the lead singer of The Damned in a concert video of their song Video Nasty:
    • It sort of seemed like Johnny Depp and Tim Burton were trying to give a Shout-Out to the first movie they did together: Edward Scissorhands. Sweeney and Edward have the same pale face, awkward half-smiles, and uninterested, far-off stare.
      • For that matter, if you've ever seen Tim Burton, he looks like that pretty much most of the time.
  • Skunk Stripe: Sweeney Todd.
  • Troubled Backstory Flashback: "The Barber and His Wife" and "Poor Thing".
  • Wife Husbandry: Turpin and his ward, Johanna.