Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Nine Times

I fee like I struck gold. has nine brief clips up from Sweeney Todd, and I am in Sweeney Heaven. I don't see a way to embed (let me disclaim, though, that as pretty much a technological dummy I may just not know how), so I won't have video samples handy in the post, but I nevertheless must comment:

Film Clip1 - Sweeney Todd Now
Mrs. Lovett informs Sweeney of what happened to his wife and daughter, and Todd promises revenge.
What struck me here is something pretty obvious but not something I had ever thought about. On stage, this scene (any scene) must be played, to a degree, broadly and loudly. You can't really whisper on stage or the audience won't hear you. So it was kind of a revelation to see this played so quietly and naturalistically. It works extremely well for the material and it sets the movie further apart from the stage version as its own thing. Bonham Carter is doing much more subtle work here than, say, Lansbury did, but again - she can. Her performance wouldn't work at all on stage, but in the film (or in these few seconds, at least), it's perfect.

Film Clip 2 - My Friends
A quick verse
Depp's voice is sweet and melodic, if a hell of a lot less imposing than we are used to, but from this little bit it seems as if it will work with his characterization of Sweeney just fine. And this briefest of snippets gives me goosebumps all over as I realize how completely awesome it is going to be to hear Sondheim's score in big movie-theater sound, as played by a big Hollywood orchestra.

Film Clip 3 - You Gandered at My Ward
The Judge confronts Anthony after Anthony has spoken to Johanna.
Rickman seems every bit as good as you'd imagined. And I love that this little scene, in the play played out on the street, as part of one big sequence, is moved here to the Judge's chambers. Again, on stage it would be cumbersome and excessive to move to a new set for this quick a scene. In film, there's no reason not to.

Film Clip 4 - The Contest
A verse of Pirelli
Baron Cohen can sing!!! I'm pretty sure they're cheating on the silly high note at the end by dubbing in someone else (maybe a female), but he gets the pompous theatricality of the character just right.

Film Clip 5 - How Long Until Pirelli Gets Back
Lovett discovers Todd's first murder
Again, I love Bonham Carter's underplaying of the character, and the comedy. On stage it would fall flat, but here it's perfectly pitched.

Film Clip 6 - Epiphany
A brief bit of the song
I very much like the idea to make the song somewhat fantastical by having an unseen Todd sing to unaware passerby. And while a part of me will always miss that big baritone sound, especially in this song, I can't complain about what Depp is doing - it works.

Film Clip 7 - Little Priest
A brief bit of the song
Having Todd and Lovett spy people outside the window who inspire their choices for victims is truly inspired. And surprise of surprises, Bonham Carter sings quite nicely!

Film Clip 8 - Not While I'm Around
A brief bit of the song
I love that Toby is very young, and I love that he sounds like a "trained" singer - one gets the notion that the Toby stuff (this and, assuming it's in the film, "Miracle Elixir") would be sung even in the film weren't a musical - his songs could easily be seen as diegetic - "Elixir" as a song Pirelli taught him to hype up crowds and this as a lullaby.

Film Clip 9 - Pamper You
Todd sweet-talks the Beadle into his chair.
Timothy Spall as the Beadle is as oily and unctuous as you would like. The casting on this film really seems spot-on so far.

Goosebumps not abating.

Until Whenever


R.A. Porter said...

Very, very nice. I'm a little shocked they've gone so young for Toby, but it does let them move his songs up into the higher registers. That'll work nicely. Also, this way he gets to just be young and innocent instead of slow witted.

I still wish Johnny had cut down on the Cockney when singing, though.

Tosy And Cosh said...

I was surprised too - but it looks like it'll work nicely. Given that Johnny's singing lacks the deep, rich tones I'd prefer, I'm coll with the cockney adding some character to that pretty thin sound.

R.A. Porter said...

Sitting here, listening to the original B'way soundtrack, and I'm struck that we haven't seen any clips yet of "The Ballad..." or any other choral pieces. From what we've seen to date - a more naturalistic version of Sweeney than on stage (excluding "Epiphany") - I wonder how Burton's chosen to film those.

Tosy And Cosh said...

I know I've read somewhere that they cut the ballad, thinking it more of a theatrical device. I was going to say that there probably won't be any choral singing, but then I remembered seeing "God That's Good" on the CD track listing. Take a look if you haven't - they actually haven't cut much!

R.A. Porter said...

Thanks for the pointer. It hadn't occurred to me that the CD's track listing would be up yet. I suspect "God That's Good" makes it in the same way you're supposing "Elixir" does, as diegesis.

I wonder if the small chorus that was going to include Christopher Lee and Anthony Stewart Head was intended to sing the large choral pieces.

Tosy And Cosh said...

For some reason, I have the impression that Head is still in the film. ?

R.A. Porter said...

I'd heard that when Lee had to pull out over the scheduling issues (Johnny's daughter was sick for a while and they had a production delay) Burton dropped the whole chorus of ¿ghosts?

The report could have been wrong, but the Whedonesque folks are pretty obsessive about keeping up on their family. :)

Tosy And Cosh said...

You're probably right then. Pity.