Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street


I watched the movie Sweeney Todd, based on the Sondheim musical again today. After watching it, I deciding to try and find the original story, a serial Penny Dreadful. I managed to find it at victorianlondon.org, a site which I am keen to further investigate.

The original story, titled The String of Pearls, is more of a mystery, although Todd's guilt is clear from the start. a man disappears from Todd's shop, assumedly murdered, and it is up to his friends (who only know he has gone missing) to discover what has happened to him, and the string of pearls he was to give the fiancee of his dead friend. It is a well put together story, with humour and sadness and suspense. The other characters and events concerned include Johanna, the fiancee of the man lost at sea, and her faithfulness to the man, while her mother seeks to make her marry a ridiculous drunken 'holy' man, which is, when you think about it, a paritcularly horrifying prospect for a young girl.

There is a great mix of humour, adventure and mystery. Sam, an impish, angry little apprentice who is in love with the daughter of his master is a humorous character. A back story in the chapter I have just started tells of travails of the sailors in Madagascar, which I am sure will be perilous.

The only caveat with this online copy is that the type is rather small, and, for those used to reading novels, the screen size is quite wide. For narrowing the width of the writing, one need only minimise the window slightly, but I haven't worked out a way to make the type larger.

All in all it is, so far, a very enjoyable story, and I highly recommend reading it.

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