Sweeney Todd Week Question #2 ~ The Many Faces of Sweeney

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Sweeney Todd Week Question #2 ~ The Many Faces of Sweeney

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sat Dec 22, 2007 12:20 pm

Over the years there have been many stories and productions of Sweeney Todd. How would you compare Johnny’s portrayal of Sweeney to what you envisioned?
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Unread postby Parlez » Sat Dec 22, 2007 12:23 pm

In a word: HOT!!! :drool:
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sat Dec 22, 2007 3:40 pm

That we knew! :lol:

I think Tim, and especially Johnny, gave Sweeney a more human layer so we could feel his sadness and his need for revenge more than in other versions I have seen or read. I'll chalk that up to Johnny's incredible ability to portray so much just with a look, amazing!
:notworthy:
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Unread postby nebraska » Sat Dec 22, 2007 4:11 pm

Alas, I am not sure just when I will get a chance to see the movie. :bawl: Between social obligations, bad weather, and few theaters in my area showing ST, I have to wait until......not sure when. But I have watched numerous clips of Johnny's portrayal and I think my impression is that he is a stronger individual than I have seen in other versions....he seems somehow more focused and less manipulated by his insanity.

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Unread postby Liz » Sat Dec 22, 2007 4:15 pm

***MAJOR SPOILERS HERE***

He has something that I think all of the actors who've played Sweeney share. I wish I could put my finger on it. I think it is a combination of intensity, stature, and presence. Maybe it is the tone, manner or style that they have in common. Of course, Johnny is the best version of Sweeney I have ever seen, which matches with what I envisioned. :grin: But I don't think I expected him to share this whatever-it-is with the rest of them. And it is this thing that makes him the perfect choice to play Sweeney.

I agree with you, DITHOT, that he conveys so much in his face, but also with his body.....at the end his chin slightly lifts up and his eyes tell you that he knows Toby is there. So you get the feeling he is anticipating with relief that Toby do the deed.
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Unread postby Liz » Sat Dec 22, 2007 4:17 pm

nebraska wrote:Alas, I am not sure just when I will get a chance to see the movie. :bawl: Between social obligations, bad weather, and few theaters in my area showing ST, I have to wait until......not sure when. But I have watched numerous clips of Johnny's portrayal and I think my impression is that he is a stronger individual than I have seen in other versions....he seems somehow more focused and less manipulated by his insanity.


Oh Nebraska, I feel for you. :-/

Do what you can to get thee to a theater. It is a must see ASAP!
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Unread postby Parlez » Sat Dec 22, 2007 7:29 pm

Liz wrote:***MAJOR SPOILERS HERE***

He has something that I think all of the actors who've played Sweeney share. I wish I could put my finger on it. I think it is a combination of intensity, stature, and presence. Maybe it is the tone, manner or style that they have in common. Of course, Johnny is the best version of Sweeney I have ever seen, which matches with what I envisioned. :grin: But I don't think I expected him to share this whatever-it-is with the rest of them. And it is this thing that makes him the perfect choice to play Sweeney.

I agree with you, DITHOT, that he conveys so much in his face, but also with his body.....at the end his chin slightly lifts up and his eyes tell you that he knows Toby is there. So you get the feeling he is anticipating with relief that Toby do the deed.

I wonder if it isn't a sense of nobility, Liz...? Sort of the concept of divine madness that comes over someone who's gone completely off the deep end. There's such a sense of self-righteous commitment there! I got that feeling from the almost absurd posture Sweeney would take after slashing a throat ~ standing upright and erect, facing the opposite direction and staring straight ahead as he sent his victims down the shute. What a hoot! Since I haven't seen any other productions or versions, I'm just guessing that this might be the quality JD has in common with the others Sweeneys...
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sat Dec 22, 2007 9:37 pm

What struck me was that he was insane but sanely so, if that makes any sense. Self-righteous commitment is a good way to describe it, Parlez. He wasn't maniacal or desperate just deliberate and focused, cold like an animal bent on its prey. Even though the story is very much a melodrama, Johnny was able to personalize Sweeney in a way I hadn't seen or felt before.
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Unread postby fred's janet » Sat Dec 22, 2007 10:13 pm

I think that in Johnny and Tim's version, Sweeney comes off more as a victim in the beginning than in other productions I have seen. You can see it in his eyes. Sweeney is dead inside. His anger explodes when he believes that his beloved Lucy is dead.

In a stage production, one must use broader gestures and louder voices to convey what is happening. In film, Johnny and Tim were able to do what they do best. Less words; more facial expressions; and, portray the pain in hushed tones.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sat Dec 22, 2007 10:58 pm

Hi, fred's janet and welcome to ONBC! :welcome: I agree that we are able to see Sweeney as a victim and that humanizes him a bit compared to other stage productions. Your point about film being a more subtle genre is a good one! :cool:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby fred's janet » Sat Dec 22, 2007 11:08 pm

Thank you. It is a pleasure to be on board. I have read these posts frequently but this is my first time posting on it.

Janet

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Dec 23, 2007 11:22 am

We hope it won't be your last and you will join us for a discussion! :cool:
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Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Kittycat88 » Sun Dec 23, 2007 10:49 pm

fred's janet wrote:I think that in Johnny and Tim's version, Sweeney comes off more as a victim in the beginning than in other productions I have seen. You can see it in his eyes. Sweeney is dead inside. His anger explodes when he believes that his beloved Lucy is dead.

In a stage production, one must use broader gestures and louder voices to convey what is happening. In film, Johnny and Tim were able to do what they do best. Less words; more facial expressions; and, portray the pain in hushed tones.

Janet


This is a tragic story of a man who is dead to everything. I am not even sure if he did come back to a wife and child...still waiting, his bitterness would have already destroyed him. Fifteen years, day after day...having done nothing. No way can you communicate with your loved ones or know what is happening to them.

I think Sweeney is already driven into deep dispair when he arrives in London.

There is no justice, no closure for those who suffer loss like that.
Only eternal rest, hopefully, and forgiveness.
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Unread postby Liz » Sun Dec 23, 2007 11:23 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:We hope it won't be your last and you will join us for a discussion! :cool:


I echo DITHOT's words, Fred's janet. :welcome: to ONBC.
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Unread postby dharma_bum » Mon Dec 24, 2007 12:27 am

Parlez wrote:I wonder if it isn't a sense of nobility, Liz...? Sort of the concept of divine madness that comes over someone who's gone completely off the deep end. There's such a sense of self-righteous commitment there! I got that feeling from the almost absurd posture Sweeney would take after slashing a throat ~ standing upright and erect, facing the opposite direction and staring straight ahead as he sent his victims down the shute. What a hoot! Since I haven't seen any other productions or versions, I'm just guessing that this might be the quality JD has in common with the others Sweeneys...

Love that, self-righteous commitment. His turning away from the chute is almost as if he believes his part of the master plan complete and what Mrs. Lovett chooses to do from that point onward in not really his concern.

I found Johnny's Sweeney to be very predatory, cunning and feline, while most former Sweeney's were bull-like. Sweeney paces and paces like a caged big cat. He has a lion-like mane (albeit a bit scraggly). He stalks at a distance, and when hie spots his prey, as he does when he sees the Beadle in the marketplace, you see his eyes widen, his muscles tense, and a heightening of barely contained energy that needs an outlet (if he had a tail it would be flicking). He also toys with his prey before pouncing... unfortunately he toys with Judge Turpin a little too long.
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