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Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Broadway Version) (2004)

Angela Lansbury , George Hearn  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (196 customer reviews)

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Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Broadway Version) + Into the Woods + Sunday in the Park with George
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Product Details

  • Actors: Angela Lansbury, George Hearn
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: April 15, 2008
  • Run Time: 140 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (196 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0013Z7RUC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,342 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Broadway Version)" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Times are hard in 1846 London and one must make do. So Nellie Lovett adds something extra to the meat pies she peddles on Fleet Street. The secret ingredient: freshly murdered victims of her partner in crime, barber Sweeney Todd. Composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim refashions a macabre tale into a musical masterwork in this dazzling performance of the 1979 Broadway hit originally staged by Harold Prince. In her Tony-winning role (one of eight the show earned, including Best Musical), Angela Lansbury plays Nellie. George Hearn turns his stage role of twisted Sweeney into an Emmy-winning triumph. The score coils around itself in ever-tightening spirals. The lines ripple with black humor and madness. Enter Sweeney's tonsorial parlor. Attend the tale.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
124 of 126 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I have been watching this 1982 production of "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" for almost twenty years on videotape, so releasing it on DVD would be greatly appreciated. The cast features three of the original stars of the 1979 Broadway production: Angela Lansbury in her Tony Award winning role as Mrs. Lovett, Edmund Lyndeck as Judge Turpin, and Ken Jennings as Tobias Ragg. Well, you can also add to this list Cris Groenendaal and Betsy Joslyn, who play the young lovers Anthony Hope and Johanna, since they were members of the original company. Len Cariou had been replaced in the title role by George Hearn, who was still two years away from winning the Tony Award for his performance in "La Cage aux Folles." On Broadway Hearn played opposite Dorothy Louden before teaming up with Lansbury for the show's touring company and eventually this Showtime production of the musical.
Stephen Sondheim has said that if people insist on putting "Sweeney Todd" into a category it would be black comic operetta, which is as good a way as any of defining its uniqueness. If you are going to have a barber who slits the throats of his customer team up with a woman who bakes the corpses into meat pies, then black comedy would be the way to go. But what makes "Sweeney Todd" so marvelous is that it mixes the dark comedy with chilling horror. For the most part the comedy is carried by Lansbury's Mrs. Lovett, starting with "The Worst Pies in Lond," while Hearn's Todd provides the chills, beginning with the hauntingly beautiful "My Friends," sung to his razors. Of course, it is "A Little Priest" that brings these two elements together, but while it is no doubt the show's signature piece it is not the supreme dramatic moment.
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111 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AT LONG LAST!!!! Sweeney's Back Where He Belongs! July 10, 2004
"Sweeney Todd" has been out of print for many, many years. Video copies went for enormous sums, and I had to settle for an aging video copy I recorded when the show was first aired on television 22 years ago. I understood that there were some copyright issues that stopped the show from being re-released, which have apparently been resolved.
Although I usually curse Warner Brothers for having the worst track record of any major studio for not releasing their extensive library of films to DVD, today I applaud them for giving us back this wonderful show with its delightful performances on DVD. Not only can we relish Angela Lansbury in her Tony-winning role as Mrs. Lovett, but we get the extra bonus of seeing George Hearn as Sweeney, to my mind the best Sweeney I've ever seen (and I've seen two others as well -- Len Cariou, who originated the role on Broadway and was probably the sexiest Sweeney (making Lovett's attraction for him perfectly understandable), but without Hearn's depth and a bit too American (or rather, Canadian), and Denis Quilley, who performed the role in London. Although Quilley's acting and singing talents were a match for Hearn's, he was physically not exactly right.
As for the Mrs. Lovetts I've seen, the West End production's Sheila Hancock will always be my favorite for her ability to capture all the comedic aspects of the role (as Angela Lansbury does too) while still managing to plumb the pure evil depths and total amorality of the character. Ms. Hancock had the ability to make the theatre-goer laugh his head off one moment, and then to send chills down his spine the next. But who could not love Angela as well? And aside from Ms.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatly improved over previous VHS release May 5, 2004
Much care has been taken on this DVD transfer. The sound, which was always muddy on the original VHS release is much crisper and clearer. The organ prelude which was faded on the VHS release continues now right up until the factory whistle.
One person here commented that he could not hear the audience. The audience is there in the extreme left and right channels just as always. Maybe you need to get your sound system tweaked? Or use the 2 channel stereo mix. But it's all there.
Best of all this transfer brings out details in the orchestra that were never heard before.
The performances remain as vivid as when this production was first broadcast in 1982. I have always had minor reservations about Betsy Joslyn's cross-eyed Joanna and some of the cuts made in the show: The tooth-pulling section of "The Contest", the Judge's whipping number, and most of the "Parlour Songs" were trimmed form the show due to overlength. The road tour set is not as elaborate as the one used on Broadway (in the opening and closing numbers Sweeney Todd rose out of the stage on a lift... very effective!) but this is the SWEENEY TODD that Hal Prince staged.
One other bit of good news that no one else here has mentioned: There are subtitles so you can follow along the trickier lyrics. Strange that there are none on the DVD's of INTO THE WOODS, PASSION or SUNDAY IN THE PARK. It's most welcome on SWEENEY TODD.
Of course it is best to see stage musicals live in the theatre, but this video production offers a good approximation of what it was like when SWEENEY TODD was unleashed on us 25 years ago.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A class Broadway show.
My favorite rendition of Sweeney Todd. This was a live production so at times the filming is clumsy but the acting and music is so worth it. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Judy Cabito
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended!!
Excellent!! I'm music director for Sweeney in the fall & this really helps. It is a beautiful production with superb talent
Published 1 month ago by King's Mom
5.0 out of 5 stars There was a barber and his wife
What can I say about this version? It has terrific acting, absolutely amazing music, awesome singing, and much more. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Excalibur Lord of Annoyance
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite Sondheim musical.
I love Sweeny Todd. It's my favorite of Sondheim with A Little Night Music running a close second. I love the drama of Sweeny Todd, the darkness of it. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Penny Antine
5.0 out of 5 stars The best performance of this Musical I've seen.
The first week after I recieved this DVD, all I did was watch it. I absolutely love this production. Angela Lansbury and George Hearn at their best for a flawless performance. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Rocco Macchia
5.0 out of 5 stars incredible
one of my favorites of all time. this movie brings back memories and well as continuing to interest me as I watch it again and again
Published 4 months ago by bwolz
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic!
A wonderful classic that any musical threatre lover should have. Angela at her best! George is wonderful too. You must have it!
Published 5 months ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Broadway at its best
I first saw the Tim Burton version of Sweeney Todd and I loved it. I definitely became obsessed. When I found out the original musical was on dvd, I had to get it. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Deborah A. Cardile
5.0 out of 5 stars Boradway is better
Though the subject matter is rather gruesome, this version has more innocence and more humor than the movie version. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Kaci
5.0 out of 5 stars Creepy and funny at the same time
This stage performance of Sweeney Todd is the best I have ever seen. It is both funnier and creepier than the recent film adaptation.
Published 5 months ago by Britt Jansson
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I too have the earlier DVD release, and hate the way they cut out most of the audience response, which somehow lends the whole performance an off-putting airless quality. And no, it's not a right-channel, left-channel problem, as another reviewer suggested. The laughter just isn't there on the... Read more
Mar 30, 2011 by The Naked Librarian |  See all 4 posts
What happen to Johana?
They don't make it clear in the film--in the stage play, she runs out of the shop after escaping Sweeney's razor. After Tobias has killed Sweeney Todd is when Johanna, Anthony and two policemen run into the bakehouse and see the carnage. Obviously, Johanna had found Anthony and informed the... Read more
Apr 26, 2008 by David S |  See all 4 posts
Snap Case Vs Keep Case
A keep case is better because it is all hard plastic and closes like a book snapping shut and then self clicks shut tightly and it has a clear slip wrap around it to insert a movie jacket. The snap case has a cheesy plastic lip that folds over a cardboard frame and sorta snaps shut.
Sep 24, 2009 by Gizmo Gal |  See all 5 posts
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