Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sondheim, Burton, Depp and Rickman's "Pretty Women"

I tend to watch great movies with a considerable delay..., but then again, my feeling is that I get to appreciate them much more in this way, aside all the initial hype and the turmoil associated with a new release (an auxiliary gain is that I can discard-- without having to go through the pain of actually watching them-- a lot of movies which were released with high expectations, only to turn out total flops, hence really what remains is above average or, in the best case, excellent). One of these movies is Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd (IMDb, RottenTomatoes), the movie version of Stephen Sondheim's famous musical that premiered only days before I was born (i.e., an eternity ago)-- and which I still promise myself to see on Broadway at some point (or: in London-- Sweeney Todd the musical was rumored to know a revival in London this year-- perhaps with Alan Rickman in the role of Judge Turpin, as in the movie; but, as it looks, this will hardly happen before next year...). In any case, this movie easily gets very high in my top movies all time, at least top 10 (my 25-movie hierarchy put together a while ago has changed significantly since then, as you no doubt noticed if you followed --particularly recent--blogposts set in my "movies" category).

Briefly, this movie broke several personal records among my earlier movie rankings/assessments: i). it is by far my favorite film version of a musical (Chicago was my top choice so far); ii). it is also my winning choice for a dark humor movie (title claimed earlier by Delicatessen); iii). it is my number one Tim Burton movie so far (though I still have to see some of his movies that might challenge that); iv). it is my best Johnny Depp movie to date (and I can safely say that I have seen most productions in which he acted; however, with Depp one can expect any time a new movie which can claim the first place in this ranking; another interesting observation I would make here is that Johnny Depp has that amazing quality of almost always being outstanding in his role, even if the rest of the movie in which he happens to play is mediocre or worse, which happened in a few cases). These opinions were strengthened after watching 'the make of', i.e. a series of interviews available  also on the DVD of the movie, with Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, and several others among the actors and crew, plus the one and only Stephen Sondheim*.

Anyway, the point of me writing this post was to emphasize my possibly favorite scene of the movie (I say "possibly" because this choice might be mood-dependent to some extent), also my favorite piece of music from the soundtrack, the "Pretty Women" duet scene between Sweeney Todd and Judge Turpin (which remained in my memory and would not go away since). Here's the full scene from the movie. Here's an audio version only, with better sound quality. And here's an audio version with lyrics**.

* I thought of Sondheim as a genius ever since I first saw/listened to West Side Story, the Bernstein-Sondheim masterpiece. Among the interviews available on the DVD of "Sweeney Todd" there is one amusing line of Alan Rickman (who, by the way, played superbly Judge Turpin; more generally, the few movies where I have seen Rickman acting--still have to see some of the older ones-- already place him extremely high in my actors' ranking). He confesses that he thought absolutely crazy the fact that the great Stephen Sondheim himself came to listen to, criticize, and encourage the actors--most of whom never sang publicly before and were thus 100% amateurs when it came to musicals.

** There are other fabulous parts of the soundtrack/scenes (after all, the whole thing is superlative, you should not miss anything!). A personal selection: "No place like London", "Johanna" (Antony's version), "By the sea", "Epiphany",  "My friends", "A little priest"-- the latter with a bonus: "A little priest" 2005 live version, with the original Sweeney Todd musical casting of Angela Landsbury as Mrs. Lovett and Len Cariou as Sweeney Todd.


Nnicu said...

Noah, inca unu' de vazut. Maestre, ma tii ocupat!

Sebi Buhai said...

Sper ca nu te plangi :-).

Anonymous said...

I could hardly watch it, there was blood everywhere in the movie...

Sebi Buhai said...

Bloody in a funny way though... dark comedy, no? But in any case, you can safely listen to the soundtrack, no danger even for M&M's there