The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1936) Halloween Advent 2022

Rating A (old school rating)
Length 1h16
Release March 1936
Director George King
About London barber Sweeney Todd (Tod Slaughter) provides the bakeshop next door with grisly makings for meat pies.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Netflix UK and Youtube
Trailer:

Trick

  • It’s a ‘when it was made’ sort of grumble. The shots used to tell the story would not be what we’d remotely accept today and it’s mainly down to the placement of the actors. In some scenes, the camera will move to a close up and back to a mid shot and there’s no continuity to where the actor is, or even to the facial expressions used from one shot to another.
    Another example would be when moving to a close up of an actor’s hand. There’s no way in which the hand would be held in such a way and it’s often obvious that it’s not even on the same set.
  • There’s a way in which people performed in early cinema, particularly when it came to the projection of the voice. It really does grate on me.
  • Unfortunately the quality of the film must have deteriorated somewhat before it was digitised. Now, I do like an element of the scratches, but it does sadden me that there are other films that will have been lost due to this.

Treat

  • Much like a Hammer horror, we get the bookend narrative. There’s something rather charming about it and in this case, it allows for a humorous ending as the listener runs from the “modern day” barber’s into the street of a bustling London.
  • Tod Slaughter was rather brilliant as the titular barber. The manacle laugh and his treatment of his apprentice, all gave Sweeny Todd a memorable charactisation.
  • NO SONGS! I’m not a musical gal and it’s why I’m not overly fond of Burton’s offering of the penny dreadful story. However, I do love the story so this is just perfect.

Final Thoughts

It’s not going to keep the family entertained, but it certainly is a must watch for anyone with an ounce of love for film.

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