I am hitting a streak of really good old movies here. Sweeney Todd from 1936 is a really fantastic little film. My only experience with Sweeney Todd is Kevin Smith's Jersey Girl and Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd with Johnny Depp. I didn't really care for the Tim Burton version though. This movie is about a barber in England who kills his clients by launching them into his dungeon-like basement. I guess they break their necks or something like that. It is hinted that his victims end up in pies that are baked by his neighboring business partner, but never explicitly displayed. The two seem to be getting away with it until jealousy rears its ugly head and the relationship starts to strain. The movie doesn't do a really good job of establishing a connection between the pie maker lady and ol' Todd, however, you get the point.
The thing that I liked most about this movie would be the way that Tod Slaughter (what a name right?) portrays a really imposing figure as the titular character; he is like the Leatherface of jolly old England. You don't get to see what he does to his victims but throughout the film you get the idea that he slit's his victims throats. He is always talking about how beautiful his straight razor looks against the victim's neck, its really creepy. Other great performances come from little Johnny Singer and Stella Rho both of whom play their parts to a T.
If you are looking for a musical or fun dance-ish version of Sweeney Todd you are going to have to look elsewhere. This is a straight forward horror movie with no frills and the intro and outro are amazing. The movie has little hangups but in short it ranks right up there with Bride of Frankenstein as being one of the greatest horror movies of the 1930's.
- There are some issues with the set design. The "stone" floor in Sweeney's basement is made of wood.
- Filmed in England
- This is widely considered to be Tod Slaughter's best role.
Enjoy the full movie!