Sweeney Todd (1928)
Article 5516 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Walter West
Featuring Moore Marriott, Iris Darbyshire, Judd Green
What it is: Time for a shave and a snack
A barber and an innkeeper who specializes in meat pies join forces to kill rich men for their money.
From what I gather, this silent version of the Todd story was a fairly low-budget affair, and the print I saw was not in the best of condition; furthermore, there may be some footage missing. Nevertheless, it is an entertaining version of the story, and is arguably better than the more-well-known Tod Slaughter version. It has a few curious touches to add to the mix. It has a framing story in which a husband returns home and gets caught up in reading the story about Sweeney Todd in the paper, and begins dreaming he himself is Todd. It also takes a definite turn into clear fantastic territory when a ghost shows up near the climax of the movie. The movie doesn’t make the cannibalism angle explicit, mostly using subtlety and suggestion to imply it. It may be the most enjoyable version of the story I’ve seen, though I should point out that I’ve never seen the famous musical version.