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Published: 30-09-2019

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The Significance and Perception of the Visual Style of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, a Movie by Tim Burton

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, premiered in 2007 and was directed by Tim Burton. The musical, written by Stephen Sondheim, tells the story of a man who is out for revenge, kills folks, then discretely disposes the of bodies by making them into meat pies and promoting them on the streets of London. Set in the 19th century, costume designer Colleen Atwood had her operate cut out for her. Ms. Atwood was faced with the challenge of combining Tim Burton’s special flair and darker outlook with the style of period. Combining lots of black and dark colors with Crinoline period garb, the film has a definite and very easily recognizable style.

Crinoline, the period of costume history from 1840-1865, is the time period in which Sweeney Todd is set. A single defining function from this time period is missing from a majority of the film, the Crinoline. Crinoline’s were the main shift from the time period ahead of, and these below garments held the dresses out to enormous, even intense, sizes. The major players in the movie do not specifically follow all of the standard Crinoline types, but the ensemble members come really close. For instance, in the song, “Pirelli’s Miracle Elixir” there are numerous occasions that the camera would sweep over the ensemble and they had been all dressed according to period. The women had their hair in the conventional twist and bonnets, but the major females by no means wore their hair as such nor did they put on bonnets. This movie, even though succeeding with the ensembles costumes, does not truly replicate the time period. What one should remember about the film is that it is stylized and the costumes contain components from the time period without having totally fulfilling the requirement that comes with a realistic period piece.

The Crinoline time period had a really specific silhouette, smaller sized at the leading with a big flared out skirt. The overall silhouette appears a bit like a bell. Sweeney Todd, nevertheless, does not fully meet this requirement. The female dresses slightly resemble a bell, but are no exactly where near big enough in the skirt, thanks to the lack of the Crinoline. The best instance of a bell shape would more than most likely be found in the chorus of extras rather than the top cast, but from the leads the greatest instance would be the blue dress worn by Johanna, played by Jayne Wisener. This dress sits off the shoulder and flares out from the waist, then it falls in huge waves down to the floor. This dress provides Johanna the bell silhouette that was desirable for the duration of the Crinoline time. The hair on the females in this film do not aid the silhouette what so ever. Each female leads, Johanna and Mrs. Lovett (played by Helena Bonham Carter), wear their hair in types that match their character rather than the period. Mrs. Lovett’s hair sits in an odd, but quirky, up-do that spikes up from the back of her head. Johanna’s long, blonde hair falls loose down her back. Neither hairstyle matches (or even resembles) the twisted bun that rests on the lower half of a woman’s head, held there by a little net known as the Snood, the style that was worn at the time. The male silhouette is really basic during this time period, so it wasn’t too tough to replicate. The male silhouette is very easily noticed in the major male characters, with few costume exceptions. Sweeney Todd, portrayed by Johnny Depp, in no way wears a top hat, not even when outside. Todd also wears a jacket that is worn open and is unfitted, which does not fall in line with the time period. When once again, the males that make up the ensemble wear the correct leading hats and jackets.

Regardless of the stylistic alternatives, the costumes in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street had been constructed beautifully. One particular costume that appears to be constructed accurately is the aforementioned blue dress Johanna wears. The dress rests almost off her shoulders, and on the prime hem there is a line of white lace, which was common throughout the Crinoline time period. In the torso of this beautiful blue dress, one can clearly see the structural operate accomplished with seams and stitching. Also in the torso, 1 can inform that there is just the hint of a corset underneath. The fabric this dress is made of appears lush and pricey, which would be correct thinking about that her adoptive care-giver is a properly-known judge. Also, if one looks closely, you can see a small print on the fabric, particularly on the bodice. The print would be precise to the Crinoline time period thanks to the advances from the industrial revolution.

Stylistic choices can make any film a lot more interesting, unless you’re watching the film for the objective of evaluation and critique. Some stylization adds to character, some detracts. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street featured costumes that had been incredibly styled and various than the Crinoline time period in which the film is supposedly set. The largest examples of structural modifications would be found in the top characters, Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett. The most prevalent, and honestly surprising, stylistic decision would be the reality that Mr. Todd wears a leather jacket throughout the film. During this time period, guys wore fitted frock coats, typically with tails. These coats have been made from fabric, not leather. When one particular sits down and really thinks about why Ms. Colleen Atwood would incorporate this drastic option, this inconsistency with history can make sense. Sweeney Todd is the hero of the tale, but if this tale were correct and we were to study it in a history book, Mr. Todd would be seen as an antagonist. Leather jackets, and automatic assumptions that come with seeing somebody wearing a leather jacket, give off a sense of getting reckless or tough. Sweeney Todd would undoubtedly be the definition of reckless, and homicidal even though we’re on at it, so in a way it tends to make sense to give him a leather jacket. The leather jacket is component of his character, no matter how entirely inaccurate. Otherwise, Mr. Todd wears a nicely match vest and a white shirt with Leg-O-Mutton resembling sleeves.

Mrs. Lovett’s costumes had been a lot more accurate, in some elements. Her primary costume looked some what like a punk Raggedy-Anne doll with slight Crinoline embellishments, such as a corset worn on the outside of her clothes a la Clara Barton. The corset appears like it is created properly and nicely, and it’s naturally a fashion corset rather than a single that’s supposed to shove all your organs together for the “beautiful” wasp waist effect. Her principal costume also includes fingerless, black, netted gloves, which appear to come from the 1980’s and had been extremely naturally out of location. Mrs. Lovett’s major costume also consists of combat boots, which, regardless of personality, no woman in this time period would be wearing. Her other costumes are a lot more precise to the time period while nonetheless staying true to character. For example, her final costume is made with far more lace and is more fancy (there is some sort of shiny fabric about the bust region and it appears, and tends to make her seem, more high-priced), basically simply because her company is now choosing up and she is earning much more income. Her new dress reflects her new social standing and shows that she is gaining wealth and is now “successful.” Underneath her “rich” dress, there is a hint of a Crinoline, which was severely lacking in her original costume. The Crinoline could have been ignored in order to enable Ms. Bonham Carter the capacity to move and dance, but thinking about that this time period is named following this undergarment, I’m not confident it was a wise option to ignore it to the point of not including it at all.

General, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street wasn’t extremely historically accurate in terms of costuming. There are moments of costume accuracy amongst the numerous costumes the various leads wear, and several far more situations of accuracy in the ensemble. The costume designer, Colleen Atwood, took Tim Burton’s dark themes and color palettes and certainly played with the dark side of Crinoline. The movie is quite recognizable because of it’s theme and costumes, which, however odd and slightly out of spot, had been beautiful.
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