Friday, December 28, 2007

Good Translation

For many years, my high school friends and I had a tradition of going to the movies on Christmas night after we finished celebrating the holiday with our families.

We brought back that tradition this year -- even if the movie we saw was probably the least "Christmassy" film we could have chosen: "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street." (We caught it at Destinta in Bridgeville, PA.)

Directed by Tim Burton, "Sweeney Todd" is a good translation to the screen of Stephen Sondheim's Tony-award winning 1979 musical of the same name. In fact, I think the piece may work better on the screen than it did on stage.

Make no mistake. "Sweeney Todd" is about revenge, mass murder and cannibalism. Blood and gore abound -- but are largely necessary to tell the tale.

Turning in excellent performances were Johnny Depp in the title role, Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett (a part originated on Broadway by Angela Lansbury) and Alan Rickman as Sweeney Todd's nemesis, the evil Judge Turpin.

I'd recommend "Sweeney Todd" to all those without sensitive stomachs.

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