A Fleet Street barber recounts the story of Sweeney Todd, a notorious barber who in the last century murdered many customers for their money.
Tod Slaughter ... Sweeney Todd
Stella Rho ... Mrs. Lovatt
John Singer ... Tobias Rag (as Johnny Singer)
Eve Lister ... Johanna Oakle
Bruce Seton ... Mark Ingerstreet
D.J. Williams ... Stephen Oakley
Davina Craig ... Nan
Jerry Verno ... Pearley
Graham Soutten ... The Beadle (as Ben Soutten)
Billy Holland ... Parsons, the fence
Norman Pierce ... Mr. Findla
Aubrey Mallalieu ... Trader Paterson
Director: George King
Codecs: XVid / MP3
A real curio here, with a totally old-fashioned production and the wonderfully Dickensian Tod Slaughter performance merging well with the intrinsically macabre tale. The subject matter, whether shown or suggested, is sinister, and played as gallows humour by Slaughter. The rest of the cast is hardly particularly impressive, but fits well enough into the story, allowing Slaughter centre-stage most of the time, although there is a bizarre foreign interlude that is somewhat out-of-place.
I love the recurring wistful, whistleable tune - absurdly Romantic, yet very low calorie British too - over the opening credits; very melodic and all the more striking as, besides this refrain, there is little or no other incidental music. The photography, could, I suppose, have been more conducive to 'atmosphere', but what is that but an expectation we have about noirish cinema? This is pure theatrical melodrama. The production is indeed spare and minimal, and we're left largely to enjoy the ripping old story and a fine 'turn' from the star. There are very good lines, presumably tailored to Slaughter's stage performances in the role; he delivers them with Dickensian gusto, in a gloriously theatrical performance, which is the main, if not quite the only reason to view this oddball, watchable antique piece.
I just saw this film for the first time after searching for it for quite a while. I have long been a fan of the Sweeney Todd story, and this was far from disappointing. The cast is full of the delightful "woe is me" school of actors. Slaughter fits the bill from top to bottom as the grinning cackling Todd. A fine and campy performance. He takes the whole show with little competition. He is a delight to watch playing with his razors and skulking along in his patented style. The sets are atmospheric and effective given the budget, and despite the comic addition of the prologue and epilogue, this is a fine and enjoyable little film. Naturally I also highly recommend the musical, as well as versions of the play for good light reading. This origional 1936 is the definitive. Enjoy!
There couldn't possibly be a more charming movie. Much of it is incongruous--the "natives attack" scene, the use of "Danny Boy" in the score--but all of it is entirely forgivable. Tod Slaughter and Bruce Seton's performances entirely make this movie. The plot's shortcomings are minimized by the snappy pacing (a short running time doesn't hurt, in this case). Costumes are wonderful, the grotesquerie of what's actually going on is suitably hinted at without on-screen gore; a stickler could complain about various points but it would only be to kill everyone's mood. Once you've watched this you'll see why nobody attempted a remake in seventy years. Burton's version might have cleaner production values, but I doubt it will have any of this film's class.
The customary ham served up by Todd Slaughter, thickly sliced. Tod is magnificent as the demented Sweeney, "polishing off" his victims with sadistic glee. It may look a bit dated, with the usual creaky sets, but it is enjoyable high-jinks nevertheless.