SWEENEY TODD THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET Title Sequence Analysis

SYNOPSIS

In the Victorian London, the barber Benjamin Barker is married to the gorgeous Lucy and they have a lovely child, Johanna. The beauty of Lucy attracts the attention of the corrupt Judge Turpin, who falsely accuses the barber of a crime that he did not commit and abuses Lucy later after gaining custody of her. After fifteen years in exile, Benjamin returns to London under the new identity of Sweeney Todd, seeking revenge against Turpin. He meets the widow Mrs. Lovett who is the owner of a meat pie shop who tells him that Lucy swallowed arsenic many years ago, and Turpin assigned himself tutor of Johanna. He opens a barber shop above her store, initiating a crime rampage against those who made him suffer and lose his beloved family.

TITLE

The title is “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”. Sweeney Todd is the main title, which informs the audience who the main character is and who they will be following as the story progresses. The use of the word “demon” is significant as the metaphor suggests that Sweeney Todd is a demonic character and is barbaric in his murders that makes him inhumane. The setting is also set in the title; “Fleet Street” to again inform the audience and set the scene. In a way, the title is effective because it focuses on main points in the story and explores the themes and aspects of narrative.

TYPOGRAPHY

As the film has very much a Victorian theme edge to it, the chosen font for the title sequence is stylish and accomplished. It is very presentable but creates a clear juxtaposition to the main storyline, as this writing is formal but Sweeney Todd’s motives are definitely not.

TYPOGRAPHY

There is a clear comparison in the choice of colours from the actor’s name’s appearances and the film title. All the previous texts are in white and then this is contrasted to the entrance of the red colouring for Sweeney Todd. This use of red develops the connotations of importance in contrast to the other text, and encourages the audience’s attention throughout the sequence.

EDITING

A pan is used throughout the sequence to enable the audience to travel to different settings that are obviously explored in the film. The constant pan editing suggests the leading of one thing to another in the storyline and how there is a rhythm to Sweeney Todd’s murders which progresses him to the next victim.

CAMERA

The close ups used on the machinery represents the chronological nature of the story and Sweeney Todd’s murders are associated with machinery and the running of equipment.

CAMERA

The high angle shot used on the barber’s chair highlights its importance in the story, as this is where Sweeney Todd murders his victims whilst giving them a shave. This shot could be interpreted as seeing the situation from God’s perspective, and how what Sweeney Todd is doing is against the 10 Commandments.

SOUND

The non-diegetic Victorian style music is played throughout which clearly follows the theme and era. The choice of music almost presents it to be glorifying death through the choice of a powerful and orchestral piece.
The diegetic sound of blood splattering onto the window suggests strong connotations of death and violence, enabling the audience to understand the storyline. The music reaches its climax when the title of the film appears, highlighting its importance and how the whole title sequence evolves around it.

MISE-EN-SCENE

In the beginning of the title sequence it is seen to be raining, but these droplets soon turn red to suggest the idea of blood droplets. This portrays the idea of a massacre or a gory film to come.

MISE-EN-SCENE

The barber shop sign is important as it suggests where the murders will take place. The colours of the sign are also significant as white conveys innocence and red connotes danger. This could suggest that innocent people are killed and therefore a juxtaposition is made.

MISE-EN-SCENE

A lion themed chair is also seen in the sequence. This animal imagery of a lion could suggest Sweeney Todd’s fury and barbaric actions, like a lion in a rage. This would make sense as Sweeney Todd is committing these murders out of revenge.

MISE-EN-SCENE

Blood is constantly flowing throughout the sequence, confirming the horror genre of the film. This also enables the title sequence to build up to its climax. It is also clear that the blood and its red colour is the only main colour in the sequence, so there is a clear contrast to light and dark which could suggest Sweeney Todd’s personality in the way that he may have two sides.

TIM BURTON

The film is directed by Tim Burton, therefore it would only be right that the title sequence was animated, something Tim is best known for. The use of animation highlights the severity of the blood and gore and its characterization.