I guess it’s just one of life’s little ironies that an actor bearing a phenomenal resemblance to Anthony Stewart Head makes his singular appearance in Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd about 38 minutes into the film. Moments after Todd’s tonsorial contest with Pirelli concludes, the actor I’m talking about congratulates the victor with a couple of lines that indicate the inquisitive gentleman fully intends to become one of Todd’s regular customers.
This moment is oddly ironic simply because Anthony Stewart Head’s appearance is
- uncredited, and
- Head (unless I’m entirely mistaken) was probably the most accomplished professional singer who ever came near the set (exluding coaches and extras).
The one-and-only special feature on the DVD, I just cruised through, makes much of the good fortune and pluck surrounding Tim Burton’s, Helena Bonham Carter’s, Johnny Depp’s and Richard D. Zanuck’s very first musical, ever. There’s even mention of Burton’s disinterest in the theatrical form of the muscial; Carter’s longstanding passion for the play; and Depp’s having come to Hollywood originally, not as an actor, but as a musician (who never sang)…and yet…movie-magic doesn’t translate this rendition of Sweeney Todd into a hands-down masterpiece of dark cinematic genius. It’s a fine, engaging, very-visual and well-acted movie that’s 70% singing with reasonably good vocal performances by people who are famously marketed for doing other things. They classed it up with Alan Rickman, yet gave him very little to do.
I’m probably making strident note of a subtle aftertaste of commerical arrogance that drips like running riulvets of blood from this remarkably entertaining film that might have been something ? more rewarding? inspiring? influential?…supm brilliant.
It was really very good, just more like Alien Resurrection than Amelie; they were last night. I gotta say that an esteemed auteur’s name on the cover says very little about end-product-value, nor is an auteur’s interaction with collaborators central to promotion. Maybe it should be. And what might a filmmaker learn from a film of audiences watching her film?
A summary Rickmanism:
“You can act truthfully or you can lie. You can reveal things about yourself or you can hide.
Therefore, the audience recognises something about themselves or they don’t —
You hope they don’t leave the theatre thinking ‘that was nice…now where’s the cab?'”
“[Head] was originally to have a role in Sweeney Todd, as a ballad soloist and one of Todd’s murder victims, but, due to the ailing of Johnny Depp’s daughter, the schedule became tight and Head’s character, as well as the characters of 13 other actors, were dropped from the film. Instead, Head made a short cameo appearance as a character who asks whether Sweeney Todd has an establishment of his own. — Wikipedia
That’s my tale of Weenie Todd; hotdog box office appeal, but don’t question the ingredients.