The Tale of Sweeney Todd (1998)

Genres - Musical  |   Sub-Genres - Black Comedy  |   Run Time - 120 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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John Schlesinger directed this razor-sharp retelling of the familiar Demon Barber legend, previously a Victorian penny-dreadful by Christopher Bond (The Story of Pearls), a stage play by George Dibdin-Pitt, a Tod Slaughter film (the 1936 Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street), and the 1979 Stephen Sondheim stage musical (Sweeney Todd). Sondheim's musical has been televised in a production with George Hearn and Angela Lansbury heading the cast. This John Schlesinger drama, scripted by executive producer Peter Shaw, is set in turn-of-the-century London where bald barber Sweeney Todd (Ben Kingsley) runs a cutting-edge business with an affluent clientele. He also has several sidelines, including the sale of his murder victims' jewelry, plus a profitable agreement with Mrs. Lovett (Joanna Lumley), who uses an industrial-size meat grinder to prepare her tasty "meat pies" for her unsuspecting customers. American insurance investigator Ben Carlyle (Campbell Scott), tracking $50,000 worth of missing diamonds, encounters corruption throughout the city as he attempts to solve the case. Victorian London locales seen here were actually filmed in Dublin. Shown April 19, 1998 on Showtime.