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Fridge / Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

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The Musical

Fridge Brilliance
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a lot more interesting when you consider that Sweeney and Anthony are actually foils of each other beyond the simple fact that one is older and broken and more worldly and the other is younger and more optimistic. Going deeper, they are exact opposites in how they react to wrongs committed against themselves and the ones they love. Sweeney discovers how his wife was raped and his daughter was unhappily trapped within the Judge's house, and all he does is go on a long plot to kill the Judge. Even though he knows Johanna is alive and scared and miserable, he makes no effort to save her, unless it contributes to his plan to kill Turpin. His plan, while done in the name of his wife, still only help himself and add to the misery and bloodshed. Anthony, on the other hand, knows of Johanna's plight and spends the play trying to rescue her. Even though he knows how the Judge is mistreating her, he chooses to try to fix her situation and rescue her instead of get revenge on the Judge. This is perhaps best shown when Johanna is being sent to the asylum and Anthony threatens to kill Turpin. At that moment, Anthony could choose between killing the Judge (an act of revenge) or chasing after the carriage (directly helping Johanna). He, of course, chooses the latter. And at the end, that's why he and Johanna survive and escape while Sweeney becomes so horribly broken that he lets himself die. Anthony is really the more heroic of the two!
    • Punctuated by the film scene when Sweeney goes to his shop for the first time in years. He sadly examines at the abandoned cradle of his daughter, but seems to quickly forget it when Lovett finds his knives.
    • No kidding Anthony is more heroic? Sweeney Todd isn't heroic at all. A Villain Protagonist with a Freudian Excuse is not a hero. Even if one regarded killing Adolfo Pirelli, Beadle Bamford and Judge Turpin as justified (huge stretch) he murders a lot of people who just happen to wander in to get a shave (as seen in the "Johanna (reprise/quartet)" number). Anthony would be more heroic than Sweeney even if he never tried to help Johanna, by virtue of not being a mass murderer. The fact that he helps Sweeney Todd prior to the play's beginning, shows more compassion for Lucy Barker than anyone else, and saves Johanna is really just icing on the cake compared to the "not a serial killer" thing.
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    • I think what was meant was that these are the reasons for the two men turning out as differently as they did. Todd turned out the way he did because he prioritised revenge over finding his daughter. Anthony turned out the way he did because he prioritised rescuing Johanna over getting revenge for what had been done to her.
      • Todd lacks empathy and seems to view the wrongs done to his wife and daughter only in terms of how they wronged him.
  • Once you learn the Beggar Woman's backstory, subsequent viewings of the musical reveal the little hints. When Todd arrives back in London, who is there to greet him? Lucy. When Antony first sees Johanna, who is there watching over her daughter from a distance? Lucy. Who tries calling attention to Mrs. Lovett's lies? Lucy.
  • If you take the view that a city is made up of its citizens (rather than, say its geography or architecture), then the Beggar Woman is being quite literal when she screams warnings about the "city on fire."
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  • Sweeney's second revenge attempt on Judge Turpin is extra karmic as it parallels Turpin's original crime against Lucy. Judge Turpin lured Lucy to his home with false promises of help. Sweeney Todd lured Turpin to his home... with false promises of help.

Fridge Horror

  • The only character who vouches for Sweeney Todd's innocence is... Sweeney Todd.
    • Mrs. Lovett seems to corroborate that his exile was unjust, but she's not really any more reliable than he is, given that she seems to have had a crush on him as far back as before said exile. And her later displayed willingness to use Exact Words and Jedi Truths doesn't help.
  • Look at that poster hopefully still on the main page. Look at how Sweeney Todd is holding that razor. Now think about gravity and momentum and how it could affect the blade.
    • Actually possible Fridge Brilliance; the razor is directly above his eye, and it's a revenge plot...
  • Sweeney's song that marks his descent into madness, "Epiphany", is bad enough on its own. That you remember that "epiphany" used to mean "a realisation of divine truth". That's right, Sweeney may well have been visited by God. And what does God have to tell him? "We all deserve to die".
    • It makes the line "He served a dark and a hungry God" much more meaningful, but also implies Sweeney really is the agent of some God-like figure. And given the themes of insanity in the show, who's to say it's not an Eldritch Abomination?
  • I was wondering how Mrs. Lovett knew all about Lucy's fate when the Fridge Horror kicked in. Mrs. Lovett knew because she was there! Lucy may have been a bit naive, but not stupid enough to go to a man's house by herself. She thought it would be a good idea to bring another woman like Mrs. Lovett along as a witness, only to find she wasn't so trustworthy. Maybe Mrs. Lovett always secretly hated Lucy for having such a handsome husband. Maybe she even gave her the poison later.
    • I always interpreted it as thus: Lucy came home after being raped, in a distraught state, and Mrs. Lovett figured out what happened. Then Lucy either asked about the pharmacist on the corner if she forgot in a moment of confusion, or she just went there and took the arsenic back to her home and Mrs. Lovett recognised the arsenic.
    • She was definitely there. "Poor Thing" contains details that no one not at Turpin's party could possibly have known.
    • At one point during "God That's Good", Ms. Lovett points out The Beggar Woman, saying that she "seems a little beery" and "she got her comeuppance". Now remember who The Beggar Woman really is.
      • It's possible to read that line as bringing the conversation back to Mrs. Mooney. Based on the text alone, it could really be either.
    • One wonders how a woman who, for months, did nothing but "just lie there in bed" both avoided dying of starvation or thirst and attracted enough attention to end up being committed to Bedlam in the first place. Unless a "friendly" neighbor had something to do with it....
  • The body count at the end is already high, but it gets even higher when you remember that eating human meat can pass on a prion's disease that turns your brain spongy. Given how many people Sweeney kills, and how many customers Mrs. Lovett serves, just how many people have unknowingly been infected with a brain disease that will kill them long after Sweeney and Mrs. Lovett are dead?

The Movie

Fridge Brilliance
  • I disliked the bright, paint-looking blood in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. In a different movie, it might have been okay, but it just made me sick when compared to the subdued, washed-out tones of every other bright color, and the dark, smoke-stained grittiness of London. However, there are two other things in the film that are as clear: the razors and the flashbacks. These are the only things that are real to him. Todd's not a completely unfeeling monster (as possibly shown with the father/husband he didn't kill, either because of sympathy or witnesses): though the people mean nothing to him, the killing still affects him. It may not have been the intent of the director and effects artist, but it makes the special effects dissonance much less sickening. — JET73L
    • Sweeney's not an unfeeling monster, he's a passionate, enraged monster. The blood from his killings is always a pure visual metaphor for his emotions. The intensity of the spray and the gore matches the strength of his rage towards his victim. In the film, there is exactly one cold-blooded execution - when he kills the Beggar Woman who was actually his long thought dead wife, he is only concerned with getting her out of the barber shop so that he can have his revenge on Judge Turpin. He has no emotion toward her, she's not even the object of his general rage at the world - he just wants her out of the way quickly, so her blood does not spurt - just flows in an even, undisturbed sheet down her neck. At the end, as he's mourning his slain wife, he feels not rage but sorrow and weeps tears of blood from his own slit throat.Twin Ion Engines
      • Uhh, the entire point of the "Johanna" song is that he's killed so much that he's become detached and really doesn't care — Pannic
    • Sweeney and his dead wife are the only people whose blood doesn't spurt or gush. It dribbles because, to him, they're already dead. — Arzeef
    • When Sweeney sings A Barber And His Wife at the end he stops just before the part that says he was naive. That shows how overcrushed with guilt he was.

Fridge Horror

  • Also true for the musical but underlined in the movie, holy Christ, practically everyone is dead! Seriously, Signor Pirelli, Beadle Bamford, Judge Turpin, Mrs. Barker (Todd's now insane wife - though, not quite as insane as the original musical), Mrs. Lovett, Todd himself, not to mention a whole mess of townsfolk. This is, of course, not particularly a feel-good movie, but once you reach the fridge: the only characters left are Toby (a child, who may or may not go insane and/or be locked forever with people and pies in various states of decay around him), Johanna (who - and Tim Burton particularly underlines this, hasn't known a life outside a heavily guarded room), and Anthony (who, as a sailor may well have seen some gnarly things in the first place, but was then threatened by Turpin and Co., passed himself off to get into Fogg's Asylum and then left its owner to die by being torn to bits, and is now left with the utterly broken woman he loves). Basically, if you lived in this movie, you'd either be dead or wishing you were.
    • Which means that even with the madness, violence, and slaughter... Todd was right.


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