Tag Archives: johnny depp

Carpe Scream Day 27

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Today’s movie is a double feature: both the stage production and the Tim Burton film of Sweeney Todd. First up, is the filmed production of the Broadway Version with George Hearn and Angela Lansbury.

Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, 1982, Turner Home Entertainment

This is really the bible of this show as far as precedent and how to beat it. Hearn and Lansbury are superior as the demonic and impish Todd and Lovett. Hearn’s deep basso and terrifying expressions really make him a fantastic tragic villain.

“At last, my arm is complete again!”

I’m only sorry that Angie’s comedy chops aren’t as good in this as they’ve been in other things I’ve seen her in. She’s a little too over the top and her stiff-legged waddle and monkey-faces aren’t as funny as if she’d played it more straight. Yes, it’s stage. Yes that’s how 70’s theatre was, I get it. I think I was spoiled by seeing Emma Thompson do it in the staged concert on PBS. She is my favorite Lovett.

Dat hair tho.

All in all, this version is a bloody good time and worth watching.

And then there’s this:

Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Demon, 2007, Warner Bros. Pictures

I’m pretty sure the creation of this was Helena prancing around Tim in a sexy lingerie and singing “Do it! Do it! Film it! Film the musical, baby! Come on!” and him eventually saying yes. It’s clear that Tim had no desire to make a musical. Half of the numbers were cut out, all of the crowd’s lines were cut (so you can sing it yourself at home!) But for that, it’s not a terrible version, if you look at it as bringing demension to the story that you can’t on the stage, the quick cuts, the crowd shots, the action, and the blood. SO MUCH BLOOD. LITERALLY BUCKETS OF BLOOD.

“Do I got a little something on my face?”

That’s really the fun part. In the stage show, the producers have to be conservative with blood in the show, so the actors aren’t slipping in giant wet lakes of it during the production. In the movie we get to see graphic portrayals of real blood, bugs, meat and other delicious closeups and subtle winks and nods that we’d never get to see on a far away stage.

“I’d gander at that.”

Where it falls short is, sadly, the lack of experienced singers in the major roles. They managed to find great performers and singers for the secondary players, but Depp’s gritty constipated grunts, and Helena’s flat whistles utterly fail to enchant, and are perhaps the bigger reason Burton cut out more musical numbers. So this makes a great sing-along and it’s visually exciting. And for all the weak singing, Depp summons a wonder pathos for Todd and Helena brings the subtle quirky funny no problem. Of course, this is the REAL reason we went to go see this when it came out.

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Carpe Scream Day 5

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Today, I watched one of my Halloween Favorites: Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow, 1999 Paramount Pictures

Let me just start out by saying, that this movie is pretty much what I wanted Sweeny Todd to be. It’s just so much over-the-top, gory, grimdark fun! It’s got its weak points like the zero-chemistry between Depp and Ricci, the terrible writing for Katrina’s character, and oodles of anachronisms (yes, I know, it’s just silly fun!). But the stark palette of black, white, and red is visually gripping. Elfman’s terrifying score gives me fever chills every time I listen to it. It also features a large talented cast of “Hey,I know that guy!” fame.

Pictured: Alfred, Principal Rooney, Chancellor Palpatine, Uncle Vernon, and Dumbledore

All and all, the wonderful cast and story, are all whimsically dark and entertaining. I harbor a secret wish that Burton returns to some of this witty, nutsy, style of movie soon. Hell, he can even stick Depp and Bonham-Carter in it. What the hell.

Fun Fact: Johnny Depp himself stated that Ichabod Crane was an easy character to get a hold of, once he imagined himself playing a 16-year-old girl.

Escort Miss Depp to the fainting couch.

DOUBLE FEATURE

These days, I ALWAYS follow up this movie with the Disney Short of the same story.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, 1949 Walt Disney Pictures

This one is much more faithful to the original story, in fact the narration is taken almost entirely from it. And it’s narrated by the king of the velvet voice, Bing Crosby. Disney perfectly captivated this wonderfully humorous story of two ruthless gold-diggers out to nab the richest, hottest peach in town.

She’s got huuuuuuuuge tracts of land!

My favorite part is the Halloween Dance and the musical number Bing performs. This cartoon used to scare the hell out of me as a kid, but damn if I didn’t love every bit of it.

This is definitely one of my favorite stories and an American Treasure.