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Sweeney Todd surprises audience

SweenyTodd.jpgI've been saying since the first promotional clip for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street came out, well actually the second since the first featured a tiny piece of singing, that the trailers and teasers have been misleading about the film for they featured no singing, no musical numbers.

Now we're hearing that a few audience members are actually leaving the cinema when the songs begin, and the reported comments would suggest that they've been fooled too.

There's been nothing really said about the fact that Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a musical in any of the material I've seen that is intended for the cinema going audience, particularly the teasers and trailers that are playing in the cinema.

Of course if you're reading about films on the Internet then you're more likely to know it is, and if you knew that there was a Sweeney Todd musical - and I didn't before investigating the film to write about it - then of course you could make the connection, after all a film with the same name would have to be a musical wouldn't it?

The main promotional item that the audience see is the trailer, and that's not shown anything about it being a musical, it looks just like a typical Tim Burton horror - and that's another issue for me.

So over at Hollywood Elsewhere Jeffrey Wells has pulled a few of his readers comments together:

"I attended the Friday 4:35 pm screening of Sweeney Todd at The Grove. A full house at the beginning, though numerous walk outs [happened] during first two songs. The film was not sold as a musical and I believe these people were Pirates fans who were caught off guard."

I'm not surprised. I think you'll see a lot of people who are, and if I hadn't been writing about films and reading many internet film sites multiple times a day, I would be relying on the trailer alone and I would be surprised to see a musical.

Under the Sale of Goods Act (Revised) in the UK I'd be quite entitled to my money back as the goods were not "sold as described".

It's one thing when a film disguises the fact that it's rubbish in a trailer, that's almost expected, but when it disguises what it actually is, that's another.



I half agree with you here. In the trailer, while not marketed as a musical, there was some singing and some other obvious clips that gave it away as being such. Anyone who thought it otherwise simply didn't do their homework before seeing the film. I use the word "homework" loosely as it's not hard these days to find out what a movie is about. If you just went because it's Johnny Depp, knowing nothing else about the film, then you're an idiot.

However, the songs are atrocious and I completely understand why people might've left during the movie. I never walk out, but some of the singing is like nails on a chalkboard. Instead of sticking with his faithfuls, Burton could've found some actors who can actually sing well (i.e. not Alan Rickman and Timothy Spall).

Not having seen the musical but as a Stephen Sondheim fan (although I also like Johnny Depp but not really gaga over him) I am really looking forward to see this.

It must really be that bad if a lot of the audience were walking out.

Drew: You probably meant the singing to be atrocious and not really the songs, as Sondheim is a brilliant composer! He's one of the greatest!

Idiot? I think that's far too harsh. What kind of homework does the average audience member do? From my experience with friends (who don't read film sites all day) is often a read at the blurb and the cast list on the cinema listings. and more often than not viewing the trailer, the trailer which does not show singing and dancing.

On that alone I wouldn't be surprised if the average cinema goer did get caught out by the film.

What kind of homework does the average audience member do?,/I>

I agree with you there.

Not all the people I know have Internet access at home and actually check on a film's background, almost always they do rely on trailers or word-of-mouth, and almost always they ask me since I seem to be on top of it all, thanks of course to my distinctive taste and Filmstalker.

But Richard also rightly pointed out since the trailers came out for Sweeney Todd that it actually wasnt being properly advertised as a musical, hence the disillusionment once the reality sinks in. I do have a lot of hope for this film, not just because of Johnny Depp but also because of the other talents involved like Alan Rickman and Helena Bonham-Carter, with Tim Burton helming it and the music of Sondheim that brings it all to life.

The songs were definitely not atrocious - I even didn't mind the actors' singing. Sondheim's stage work is translated well to the screen here.

i hate most musicals.

if i found out that "i am legend" was actually a musical, i'd not only walk out, but also demand a refund from the manager of the cinema.

that's not cool, and the marketing team should know better.

my wife was really looking forward to this movie. she's been told it's a musical and she's no longer willing to sit through it.

Well if a person buys a movie ticket based solely on the names attached to this film then I can see where they would be surprised.
However, here in the states all the TV spots show Depp singing. Not to mention that there have been special "behind the scenes" extended commercials during a handful of shows, which clearly show it as a musicals.
It's true that it is not out right advertised as a musical and it should be, but I think a fair portion of the average movie goer is going to know what they're getting into.

And I did love the film and all the performances that went along with it.

You've already seen it Meli? How would you rate it then?

Hey Simone - the kiddo and I went to see it opening day (12/21) and I would give it a solid 8 out of 10. Keep in mind I didn't expect Broadway quailty singing, but Depp and Carter did a fine job. I also am always bias when it comes to Burton because I adore him and his movies. All the same the movie was throughly enjoyable, never dragged and we (me and the kid) are looking forward to seeing it again.

Cheers Meli.

It's not out in the UK yet but I will see it as soon as it's released and let you know what I thought about it. ;)


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