Monday, April 23, 2012

A-Z Challenge: "T" for Sweeney Todd

I'm doing the home-stretch with the A-Z Challenge here, minions!  Whew!  I'm tired.  Anyway, my character feature for the letter "T" is "Sweeney Todd" from Thomas Peckett Prest version of The String of Pearls.  Today, I wanted to highlight this all-time favorite of mine--a classic character that is so devious, twisted and downright demonic, it's no wonder he's referred to as The Demon Barber.

To give you an example of the true art of illustrating characters, here's a sample of Prest's initial description of Todd:

"The barber himself was a long, low-jointed, ill-put-together sort of fellow, with an immense mouth, and such huge hands and feet, that he was, in his way, quite a natural curiosity; and, what was more wonderful, considering his trade, there never was seen such a head of hair as Sweeney Todd's. We know not what to compare it to: probably it came nearest to what one might suppose to be the appearance of a thickset hedge, in which a quantity of small wire had got entangled. In truth, it was a most terrific head of hair; and as Sweeney Todd kept all his combs in it--some said his scissors likewise--when he put his head out of the shop-door to see what sort of weather it was, he might have been mistaken for some Indian warrior with a very remarkable head-dress. He had a short disagreeable kind of unmirthful laugh, which came in at all sorts of odd times when nobody else saw anything to laugh at at all, and which sometimes made people again, especially when they were being shaved, and Sweeney Todd would stop short in that operation to indulge in one those cacchinatory effusions. It was evident that the remembrance of some very strange and out-of-the-way joke must occasionally flit across him, and then he gave his hyena-like laugh, but it was so short, so sudden, striking upon the ear for a moment, and then gone, that people have been known to look up to the ceiling, and on the floor, and all round them, to know from whence it had come, scarcely supposing it possible that it proceeded from mortal lips."

In that snidbit alone, you get an eerie and striking sensation about Todd and you know that tale promises to be a riveting one.  Prest paints such a vivid picture in my mind that I have an instant image of what Sweeney Todd is like.  He even lets us know what the patrons think of the strange barber.  

Have you read The String of Pearls?  Tim Burton's movie and Johnny's Deep's portrayal of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber on Fleet Street, was different, but equally thrilling.  Want to know more about the original tale, here's my creepy classic review.

Mina B.


Elise Fallson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elise Fallson said...

Never read The String of Pearls. But I did see Tim Burton's movie and loved it! I'm also a big Johnny Depp fan. (=

Geeky Daddy said...

I have not read The String of Pearls..yet at least. I have seen the movie played by Depp. You can never go wrong with a Burton flick.

It looks like I will have to take a look into this one. Thanks Mina

Lynn Proctor said...

i don't think i have ever seen a burton--don't know why

David P. King said...

Such a freaky character, I agree. :)

S. L. Hennessy said...

I love love love Sweeny Todd. Steven Sondheim is a genius. I saw a live performance once. It was simply terrific.

Morgan said...

I've always loved Sweeney Todd... fell in love with the music first and then loved seeing it adapted to film. I'm a fan of the dark and creepy... I'll have to read String of Pearls!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I saw the Tim Burton film. Such a bitter ending.

Cecilia M. said...

Loved Sweeney Todd. Had to get a DVD. It's creeply dark in an awesome way. :D Besides I love any movie Johnny Depp is in.

Cynthia said...

I haven't seen Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd yet. But I've seen him in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, also directed by Tim Burton.

M Pax said...

Johnny Depp is pretty thrilling. :) Sweeny Todd is a great bit of theater, too.

Anonymous said...

I love Tim Burton's films, but I haven't seen this one yet.

Anonymous said...

Tim Burton/Johnny Depp/Sweeney Todd.. Win/Win/Win!

Michael Pierce said...

I also quite enjoyed the play. The way the violence was portrayed on stage was really cool.

Grover said...

Never read the book, but this makes me want to!

Francene Stanley said...

This is a remarkable description. Thanks for sharing it. Blog on!

baygirl32 said...

Love Johnny!

The String of Pearls is on my Kobo to be read in the near future

Happy A to Z

Tonja said...

I saw the movie. It was a little too musical for me. I think the character is totally creepy though.

Mina Burrows said...

@Elise Fallson - I enjoyed the book.

@Geeky Daddy - I agree.

@Lynn Proctor - Really? Not everybody like Tim, but I do. Start with Sleepy Hallow first.

@David P. King - Don't you love that about him?

@S. L. Hennessy - I would love to see it live. *sigh*

@Morgan - I liked it. I loved the character Tobias too.

@Alex J. Cavanaugh - I agree, but it was brilliant just the same.

@Cecilia M. - I have it too. I used to be able to sing the vengeance song. Pathetic, I know.

@Cynthia - Hold on for Sweeney Todd. Totally amazing movie.

@M Pax - ST live must be awesome.

@Medeia Sharif - It's so good. You'll love it.

@Magical Mystical MiMi - Always a win, win, win, huh?

@Michael Pierce-I wish I could see that.

@Grover - A very quick read too.

@Francene Stanley - Completely. That's why I love the classics.

@baygirl32 - I hope you like it. Let me know.

@Tonja- I liked Depp singing. It was different and I appreciate when artist stretch themselves.