Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

  • Directors: Tim Burton
  • Producers: Richard D Zanuck, John Logan, Walter F Parkes
  • Writers: Musical, Stephen Sondheim, Hugh Wheeler, Play, Christopher Bond, Screenplay, John Logan
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Musical, Thriller
  • Actors: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jamie Campbell Bower, Laura Michelle Kelly, Jayne Wisener, Ed Sanders

Benjamin Barker (Johnny Depp), a skilled barber, is falsely charged and sentenced to a life of hard labor in Australia by the corrupt Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman), who lusts after Barker’s wife Lucy (Laura Michelle Kelly). Now under the assumed name “Sweeney Todd”, Barker returns to London with sailor Anthony Hope (Jamie Campbell Bower). At his old Fleet Street lodgings above Mrs. Nellie Lovett’s (Helena Bonham Carter) pie shop, he discovers that Lucy, having been raped by Turpin, has poisoned herself, and his teenage daughter Johanna (Jayne Wisener) is now Turpin’s ward, and like her mother before her, is the object of his unwanted affections. Todd vows revenge, reopening his barber shop in the upstairs flat.

While roaming London, Anthony spots Johanna and falls in love with her, but is ejected from the Judge’s house by Turpin and his associate, Beadle Bamford (Timothy Spall). Far from being discouraged, the sailor becomes determined that the pair will elope. Meanwhile Todd, during a visit to the marketplace, denounces a fraudulent hair tonic (describing it as a mixture of “piss and ink”) by faux-Italian barber Adolfo Pirelli (Sacha Baron Cohen), and later humiliates him in a public shaving contest. Pirelli and his boy assistant Toby (Ed Sanders) visit Todd’s barbershop; Lovett keeps Toby occupied downstairs, while in the parlor Pirelli reveals himself to be Todd’s former assistant and attempts to blackmail him. To protect the secret of his true identity, Todd murders Pirelli.

An insane beggar woman, who has been pestering Todd, Lovett, and Anthony throughout the film, now makes her way into the shop. As Todd enters, she claims that she recognizes him. Just then, Turpin’s voice is heard. Todd quickly slits the beggar woman’s throat and deposits her body through the trap door. As Turpin enters, Todd explains to him that Johanna had repented, and offers a free shave. Todd then reveals his true identity and stabs Turpin in the neck numerous times before finally slitting his throat and dropping him through the trap door. As Johanna peeks out of the trunk, Todd spots her and prepares to slit her throat as well, not recognizing her as his daughter. A scream from Lovett diverts him to the basement, where she tells him that Turpin had still been alive and tried to grab at her dress before bleeding to death. Viewing the corpses in the light of the bakehouse fire, Todd discovers that the beggar woman was his wife, Lucy, whom he had believed to be dead based on Lovett’s account of the poisoning. Todd realizes that Lovett knew Lucy was alive. Lovett points out that she never said Lucy died; and, after attempting to convince Sweeney that she misled him for his own good, she confesses she lied because she loves him and would be a better wife than Lucy ever was. Todd pretends to forgive her, waltzing maniacally with her around the bakehouse before hurling her into the open oven, where he watches her burn to death. He returns to Lucy and cradles her dead body as Toby emerges from the sewer, picks up the discarded razor, and slits Todd’s throat. The film ends with Todd bleeding over his dead wife as Toby walks away.

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