Film Analysis: "Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"

Term Paper, 2009

9 Pages, Grade: 2,0




1. Basic information on the film

2. Plot segmentation

3. Sequence analysis
3.1. Summary of the sequence
3.2. Detailed description of the sequence
3.3. Focus on sound and its effect on the viewer

4. Conclusion

5. Bibliography

1. Basic information on the film

“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” is a musical-thriller, was produced in 2007 and is based on the 1979 musical of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler. The character “Sweeney Todd” first appeared in 1846 in a penny dreadful serial in the story “The String of Pearls”.

The film was directed by Tim Burton and it was produced by Richard D. Zanuck, John Logan and Walter F. Parkes.

The film is about the barber Sweeney Todd who has gone insane because of the loss of his wife and his daughter. He vows to take revenge on the man who has done this to him, Judge Turpin. He re-opens his barber shop and while waiting to get the chance to kill him, many other costumers have to die. The dead bodies are turned into meat pies which are sold by his accessory Mrs. Lovett.

The main actors are Johnny Depp as Benjamin Barker / Sweeney Todd and Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett.

The film won several awards like the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy, the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, and the Academy Award for Best Art Direction.

2. Plot Segmentation

C. Credit title

1. London harbour:

a. Return of Benjamin Barker alias Sweeney Todd (ST) with sailor Anthony First flashback
b. Benjamin Barker with his wife Lucy and his daughter Johanna on the market
c. Judge Turpin watches the family closely
d. imprisonment of Benjamin Barker by judge
e. arrival in London

2. Fleet Street – Pie shop of Mrs. Lovett:

a. ST gets to know Mrs. Lovett Second flashback
b. masked ball – Turpin takes care of Lucy and adopts Johanna
c. Mrs. Lovett tells ST that Lucy has committed suicide
d. ST vows revenge
e. ST re-opens barber shop

3. House of the judge:

a. Anthony stands in the front of the house and sees Johanna who is sitting at the window and is staring outside and falls in love with her
b. Turpin asks Anthony in
c. Anthony is battered by Turpin’s assistant Beadle because of looking at Johanna

4. Market hall:

a. ST recognises Beadle
b. ST challenges Pirelli (another barber) to a duel
c. ST wins the challenge

5. Barber Shop:

a. Pirelli comes and recognises and tries to blackmail ST
b. ST kills Pirelli by cutting his throat
c. Toby (boy assistant of Pirelli) is put up by Mrs. Lovett
d. Judge Turpin comes to be shaved by ST
e. ST is just about to cut his throat when suddenly Anthony enters the room
f. Turpin don’t want to come again because of Anthony
g. ST thinks he has screwed up his last chance to kill Turpin
h. ST decides to kill as many customers as he can while waiting for another chance to kill Turpin
i. Mrs. Lovett suggests to dispose the bodies by baking them into meat pies

6. House of the judge:

a. Turpin decides to marry Johanna
b. Johanna wants to run away with Anthony
c. Turpin brings Johanna into an insane asylum as punishment

7. Barber shop:

a. ST keeps on murdering his costumers

8. Pie shop:

a. Re-opening of pie shop

9. Park:

a. ST, Mrs. Lovett and Toby mime the happy family
b. Mrs. Lovett dreams of a life with ST, of marriage and of a house by the sea

10. Insane asylum:

a. Anthony searches for Johanna and finds her

11. Barber shop:

a. ST writes a letter to the judge about Johanna in order to make him come again to be shaved
b. Anthony hides Johanna in a chest in the shop
c. Beggar woman comes into the shop and ST kills her moments before Turpin enters the shop
d. ST can finally take revenge on Turpin and kills him
e. ST suddenly spots Johanna in the chest, not recognising her as his daughter and nearly kills her throat too

11. Cellar of the pie shop:

a. Toby is locked into the cellar and discovers the macabre secret of ST and Mrs. Lovett
b. ST and Mrs. Lovett enter the cellar and can’t find Toby who has hidden in the gully
c. ST finally recognises the dead beggar woman as his wife Lucy
d. ST accuses Mrs. Lovett of not telling him the truth about his wife
e. ST kills Mrs. Lovett by throwing her into the backing oven
f. Toby kills ST by cutting his throat

E. End credits

The film is mainly told in temporal order, except for the first flashback in the first scene, when Sweeney Todd thinks back to the wonderful time he had with his family and his sudden imprisonment and the second flashback, when he thinks of the masked ball where the judge takes care of his family.

3. Sequence analysis

3.1. Summary of the sequence

The sequence I have chosen is at the beginning of the film from 00:05:10 until 00:07:30. It shows the return of barber Sweeney Todd. He is standing on a ship with the sailor Anthony Hope and they are singing the song “No Place Like London”. At the harbour, they get off the ship and Sweeney Todd sings about his former life with his beautiful wife and his lovely daughter. Furthermore, he sings about how they had been separated by the judge Turpin.

I have chosen this sequence because it shows impressively how colours are used in this exceptional film to demonstrate different feelings and different times.

3.2. Detailed description of the sequence

The following section contains a detailed description, the dialogues and the types of shots in the sequence.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten


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Film Analysis: "Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"
University of Salzburg
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film, analysis, sweeney, todd, demon, barber, fleet, street
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Anonymous, 2009, Film Analysis: "Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber of Fleet Street", Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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