As everyone in Sondheim cyberland (the name of the next Monster Magnet album, I might add) knows, there are plans in the works to turn Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street into a movie.
At first I was excited, because I always thought Sweeney Todd would make a great movie. Then I remembered the film debacles that are West Side Story, A Little Night Music, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum Much of the score to Forum was cut, and the director seemingly did the editing of the film after a week-long, ouzo-induced bender. I care not to comment on the film version of West Side Story because I always get everyone mad at me when I tool on it (and the play for that matter), and I care not to comment on the film version of A Little Night Music because, well, I haven't seen it. I've been assured it's bad, although how could anything with Diana Rigg in it possibly be bad? (Patrick MacNee is another matter.)
But, the rumor is the master is writing some new music for the film and master director/strange strange man Tim Burton is supposedly at the helm, so you never know ...
Of course, Burton has been working with Disney lately, so you know if Sweeney Todd is made, then it's going to have lots of promotional tie-ins. Look at the blitz we face whenever another Disney animated "classic" (the studio uses the term, but to those of us who saw Oliver and Company, the term doesn't always apply). Dolls, t-shirts, mugs, storyboard cells, and so on and so forth.
In other words, if Disney does distribute the latest Tim Burton oddity (I think it'd be the first one Danny Elfman didn't write the score to), then you know we're going to see a lot of this stuff:
SWEENEY TODD KID'S MEALS AT BURGER KING: With each meal comes a little toy. In this case, we'd have Judge Turpin in a barber chair (pull the little lever and he pops out), Tobias (press the button on his back and his hair turns white), Anthony Hope (press his button and he says something naively innocent), and of course Mr. Todd (press his button and a little razor pops out of his hand). While we're at Burger King, they'll probably sell Mrs. Lovett's meat pies as well. (DISCLAIMER: SORRY, KIDS, WE AT BURGER KING WILL NOT ACCEPT ENEMIES AS POTENTIAL PIE FILLINGS.)
SWEENEY TODD TOY RAZORS: Plastic, of course, but with a little button that, when you press it, makes blood gush out of the sides. I mean, that's how they did on the stage anyway.
SWEENEY TODD PAJAMAS: Little animated versions of the characters with their best lines on the back. For example, Sweeney's shirt would say, "At last my arm is complete again!" For Anthony's, "I feel you, Johanna!" Mrs. Lovett's would say, "Ah, a CUSTOMER!" And of course, Tobias' would say, "Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention, per-lease!"
SWEENEY TODD TRADING CARDS: Well, they already have the mass murderer trading cards, right?
MRS. LOVETT E-Z BAKE OVEN
FOGG'S CUSTOM-MADE WIGS
PIRELLI'S MIRACLE ELIXIR: Now featuring Rogaine.
JOHANNA LARK DOLLS: They only sing when exposed to sunlight.
FLEET STREET LAZY SUSAN: A spice rack that looks like the rotating set they used in the play. (I'd actually buy this, to be honest with you.)
SWEENEY TODD ORIGINAL FILM SOUNDTRACK: All the songs in the film, plus a new version of "Pretty Women" sung by Peabo Bryson.
The possibilities are endless (as are the taste boundries). Although I'm pretty sure we won't see the Judge Turpin flagellation machine, but you never know ...
Assassins is about how society interprets the American Dream, marginalizes outsiders and rewrites and sanitizes its collective history. "Something Just Broke" is a major distraction and plays like an afterthought, shoe horned simply to appease. The song breaks the dramatic fluidity and obstructs the overall pacing and climactic arc which derails the very intent and momentum that makes this work so compelling...
- Mark Bakalor
Which is not to say that it is perfect...
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