Sweeney Todd Question #16 - More Comparisons

by George Dibdin Pitt

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Sweeney Todd Question #16 - More Comparisons

Unread postby Liz » Tue Oct 24, 2006 8:21 am

Are there any other differences or similarities between the two plays that you would like to discuss? Note: this may appear like it could be the last question, but we have more on the way.
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Unread postby Betty Sue » Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:24 pm

The musical has some entertainment value in today's world? :grin:
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Unread postby Depputante » Tue Oct 24, 2006 1:22 pm

Well, there were more descriptive paragraphs in the Bond book which didn't make it into the Sondheim version, but I've returned all to the library. :banghead:
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Unread postby gemini » Tue Oct 24, 2006 3:38 pm

It was hard to get my mind back into Sweeney Todd after reading about Johnny's appearance at Guadalupe Dunes.
I am not sure if it is really that interesting but I wondered at seeing the Sondhiem version about the scenes. When I saw Sweeney's barbershop above Mrs. Lovetts pie shop, I thought it must have been done as a production cost savings convenience as opposed to his shop being a separate establishment connected by the underground tunnels. I wonder if there were other reasons for the change? I notice in Pitts book it says the play requires nine to ten sets.
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Unread postby Depputante » Tue Oct 24, 2006 4:57 pm

Gemini, In the Bond book, Sweeny's shop is above Mrs. Lovett's shop. Sondheim must have copied that idea.

If it was in a tunnel in the Pitt version, how did she receive the bodies then?
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Unread postby gemini » Tue Oct 24, 2006 5:44 pm

Good point Depputante.
In the Peter Haining version there was much said about the tunnels running between the two shops and Sweeney getting rid of, "the parts of the bodies not used in the pies", down there. ( I believe it was the smell coming up into the church next door that got him caught.) There was no mention of an oven except I imagine there was one in Mrs Lovetts to bake the pies. This scene was set in my head before I read the Pitt play so I probably just assumed he used the tunnels to take them to Mrs Lovetts.

Looking through the book you seem to be correct. I see no tunnels mentioned, only his cellar where the chair flipped the victims. In my mind, I always saw Mark stumbling around in the tunnels after his close call with the chair but Pitt may have meant the cellar below the chair. I see now where it mentions Mark climbing out and he only refers to it as falling into "the depths below". I really don't remember any mention of Sweeney taking the bodies to Mrs Lovetts in Pitts play, only that they are made into pies.
A little help here? Does anyone else remember? It does not help having read so many versions trying to keep the plot lines straight.
Last edited by gemini on Tue Oct 24, 2006 6:36 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Unread postby Boo-Radley » Tue Oct 24, 2006 5:55 pm

You're right Gemini, Pitt doesn't mention Sweeney taking the bodies to Mrs. Lovett, he does mention the secret door that led into the bake house (room) which I assumed led from the tunnells connecting Sweeney's shop to Mrs. Lovett's shop. It's through that secret door that Sweeney escapes, locking Jarvis and Mark in the Bake house.

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Unread postby Liz » Tue Oct 24, 2006 8:31 pm

gemini wrote:It was hard to get my mind back into Sweeney Todd after reading about Johnny's appearance at Guadalupe Dunes.


Me too—especially since it’s not all that far from me.

gemini wrote:This scene was set in my head before I read the Pitt play so I probably just assumed he used the tunnels to take them to Mrs Lovetts.


So did I. And I am jaded too because I read Mark Gribben’s account of the real Sweeney (which included the tunnels) at the same time that I read the Pitt play.
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Unread postby nebraska » Tue Oct 24, 2006 11:00 pm

In connection with one of the tidbits, I followed a link for the penny dreadful version of ST. It was a lot like the Pitt play but it was more of a novel and thus had more description etc in it.

According to that version, there were tunnels involved in disposing of the bodies, both in taking the meat to the bakeshop and in "storing" the remaining parts of the bodies that could not be baked in pies. The smell coming up into the church from rotting body parts in the crypts and tunnels beneath it played a significant part in the story.

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Unread postby Liz » Tue Oct 24, 2006 11:52 pm

nebraska wrote:In connection with one of the tidbits, I followed a link for the penny dreadful version of ST. It was a lot like the Pitt play but it was more of a novel and thus had more description etc in it.

According to that version, there were tunnels involved in disposing of the bodies, both in taking the meat to the bakeshop and in "storing" the remaining parts of the bodies that could not be baked in pies. The smell coming up into the church from rotting body parts in the crypts and tunnels beneath it played a significant part in the story.


The Sweeney Todd story must hold the record for more versions than any in history. :-O
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Unread postby nebraska » Wed Oct 25, 2006 6:49 am

Liz wrote:
nebraska wrote:In connection with one of the tidbits, I followed a link for the penny dreadful version of ST. It was a lot like the Pitt play but it was more of a novel and thus had more description etc in it.

According to that version, there were tunnels involved in disposing of the bodies, both in taking the meat to the bakeshop and in "storing" the remaining parts of the bodies that could not be baked in pies. The smell coming up into the church from rotting body parts in the crypts and tunnels beneath it played a significant part in the story.


The Sweeney Todd story must hold the record for more versions than any in history. :-O


Which brings me back to my question of WHY? :-? I still have trouble grasping why this particular story has been the focus of so many creative minds over the years.....it is not a "nice" story yet it keeps being told over and over.....changed and told again. Amazing!

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Unread postby fansmom » Wed Oct 25, 2006 2:05 pm

nebraska wrote:The Sweeney Todd story must hold the record for more versions than any in history.

Which brings me back to my question of WHY? :-? I still have trouble grasping why this particular story has been the focus of so many creative minds over the years.....it is not a "nice" story yet it keeps being told over and over.....changed and told again. Amazing!

You and me both, Nebraska! The only thing I can think of is that cannibalism is such a deep-seated taboo (POTC2 aside) that we have to pick at it like a scab to remind ourselves of how nasty it is. :yuck: :yuck2:

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Unread postby Liz » Wed Oct 25, 2006 6:57 pm

fansmom wrote:
nebraska wrote:The Sweeney Todd story must hold the record for more versions than any in history.

Which brings me back to my question of WHY? :-? I still have trouble grasping why this particular story has been the focus of so many creative minds over the years.....it is not a "nice" story yet it keeps being told over and over.....changed and told again. Amazing!

You and me both, Nebraska! The only thing I can think of is that cannibalism is such a deep-seated taboo (POTC2 aside) that we have to pick at it like a scab to remind ourselves of how nasty it is. :yuck: :yuck2:


I still don't get it. :perplexed:
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Unread postby PhD » Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:27 pm

fansmom wrote:
nebraska wrote:The Sweeney Todd story must hold the record for more versions than any in history.

Which brings me back to my question of WHY? :-? I still have trouble grasping why this particular story has been the focus of so many creative minds over the years.....it is not a "nice" story yet it keeps being told over and over.....changed and told again. Amazing!

You and me both, Nebraska! The only thing I can think of is that cannibalism is such a deep-seated taboo (POTC2 aside) that we have to pick at it like a scab to remind ourselves of how nasty it is. :yuck: :yuck2:


And not just cannibalism... but unknowing cannibalism. All those people raving over the pies didn't have any idea what was in them. Wouldn't it be horrible if we realized that we LIKED the taste of human beings? I think that's part of this story's appeal.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Oct 26, 2006 7:21 pm

Very creepy. I think that is part of the appeal of horror...the normal becomes a bit twisted...okay a lot twisted! :-O
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