But only in the 2005 Howard Dean usage â€” Steve Rose at the Guardian complains about how the UK trailer for "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" tortuously obscures the fact that the film’s a musical: "Stung at paying to see a collection of tortuously constructed Stephen Sondheim tunes when they were expecting a gory Gothic thriller, a fair proportion of cinema audiences has been walking out of Sweeney Todd. A complaint has even been made to the Advertising Standards Authority." Apparently the marketing powers in England blame the bursts into song for the film’s lukewarm box office here, and are trying to will them away with the force of false advertising. Mark Shenton at the Guardian’s Film Blog thinks its no wonder, that there’s no consistent audience for the grown-up musical these days ("People are still suspicious of musicals’ artificiality"), though he doesn’t discount "High School Musical"’s near-satanic power over a younger crowd.
Peter Hartlaub at the San Francisco Chronicle has a list of eight musical suggestions "for people who hate musicals." Fair warning: He wrote the piece on the occasion of the release of "Across the Universe," which, he notes, "wasn’t included but would probably fall in the top five."
Dan Callahan at The House Next Door turns to an early period in the genre, looking at Criterion’s Lubitsch Musicals set that comes out next Tuesday:
Maurice Chevalier and Jeannette MacDonald are the nominal stars of this early talkie series, either together or paired with other players, and you just have to accept and even embrace the former’s full-frontal â€œooh la la!â€ chortles and the latter’s not-yet-calcified operetta hauteur if you plan to make it through these pictures alive. They both came from the stage, and they have just the right lightly formal quality for Lubitschâ€™s theatrical bits of business. Though a little of Chevalierâ€™s strenuous Gallic charmboat act goes a long, long way, it must be said that Lubitsch makes MacDonald surprisingly sexy and even touching in her pre-Nelson Eddy salad days at Paramount.
+ What the Sweeney Todd trailer failed to tell us about the film (Guardian)
+ Sweeney Todd won’t revitalise musicals (Guardian Film Blog)
+ HATE MUSICALS? TRY THESE (SF Chronicle)
+ Eclipse Series 8: Lubitsch Musicals (The House Next Door)