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I wish-a-to know-a who has-a the nerve-a to say my elixir is piss! Who says this?!
~ Adolfo Pirelli

Adolfo Pirelli (formerly known as Daniel O'Higgins or Davey Collins) is a supporting antagonist of the 1979 musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and the 2007 live-action film of the same name. He is a barber who acts as a rival to Sweeney Todd until his death.

In the film, he was portrayed by Sacha Baron Cohen, who also portrayed Mr. Thenardier in the 2012 film Les Misérables and Admiral General Aladeen in The Dictator.

Biography

Pirelli is first introduced as an Italian barber who is "all the rage" in Victorian London. He is very theatrical and dresses in extravagant clothing, and mercilessly beats his young apprentice Tobias Ragg for the slightest imperfection, and often for no reason at all. Pirelli also claims to have shaved the King of Naples and the Pope, arrogantly referring to himself as "the King of the Barbers and the Barber of Kings." As part of his act, he pretends to be a devout Christian, at one point praising God for bestowing the gift of talent upon him.

When Todd and his accomplice Mrs. Lovett are in the town square, they witnessed Tobias selling a concoction of Pirelli's entitled Miracle Elixir, which is purported to stimulate the growth of hair. However, Todd takes one sniff of the mixture and denounces the Elixir as "an arrant fraud" concocted of "piss and ink."

Enraged, Pirelli emerges from his tent to berate Todd, who challenges him to a shaving competition: whoever shaves a person the fastest and the closest will win five pounds. To that end Todd gets Beadle Bamford to act as the judge of the competition. Pirelli wastes time bragging about his vast talent and superiority over all other barbers, while Todd actually concentrates on doing the job and, after carefully preparing his razors and mixing the lather perfectly, shaves the customer in a matter of seconds, and promptly wins. As such, Pirelli is reluctantly forced to pay five pounds to Todd before taking his anger out on Toby, much to Mrs. Lovett's disgust.

The following day, Pirelli and Toby arrive at Mrs. Lovett's Meat Pie Emporium to visit Todd, whose establishment is above Mrs. Lovett's. While Mrs. Lovett gives Toby a pie downstairs in her parlor, Pirelli ascends the stairs to Todd's room to confront him. Pirelli reveals that his real name is Daniel O'Higgins and he is in fact Irish. He reveals that he knows Todd's true identity as Benjamin Barker, having served as his apprentice as a small boy, and threatens to expose Todd to Bamford and his master Judge Turpin unless he pays him half of his profits. In a rage, Todd beats Pirelli up and throws his body in a trunk when Tobias enters the shop. While speaking to Tobias, Todd notices that Pirelli's hand is sticking out and feebly moving. After sending Toby downstairs, Todd finishes Pirelli off by slitting his throat. Mrs. Lovett later takes his coin purse, where she finds three pounds, keeping the purse as her own.

Gallery

Trivia

  • Adolfo is a fictional example of a snake oil salesman, a specific type of con artist (usually in the Wild West), who sold off various unknown fraudulent concoctions (usually made with piss and ink) as a bottled medicine despite the fact that the concoctions never worked in the way they were advertised as.

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See Also
Tales of Arcadia Villains

           Tim Burton LogoVillains

Movies
Beetlejuice: Beetlejuice
Batman (1989): Joker | Bob Hawkins | Alicia Hunt | Carl Grissom | Max Eckhardt | Vinnie Ricorso | Joe Chill |
Edward Scissorhands: Jim
Batman Returns: Penguin | Red Triangle Circus Gang (Organ Grinder, Poodle Lady, Tattooed Strongman, Stungun Clown, Thin Clown, Fat Clown, Sword Swallower & Knifethrower Dame) | Max Shreck | Catwoman | Charles "Chip" Shreck
The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie Boogie | Lock, Shock and Barrel
Batman Forever: Riddler | Two-Face | Sugar | Spice | NygmaTech (Frogmen) | Neon Gang (Neon Gang Leader) | Salvatore Maroni
James and the Giant Peach: Aunt Sponge | Aunt Spiker | Rhino | Skeleton Pirates | Shark
Mars Attacks!: Martian Leader | Martians (Martian Ambassador & Martian Girl)
Sleepy Hollow (1999): Lady Van Tassel | Headless Horseman | Reverend Steenwyck
Planet of the Apes (2001) General Thade | Attar
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Arthur Slugworth
Corpse Bride: Barkis Bittern | Maudeline Everglot
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: Sweeney Todd | Mrs. Lovett | Judge Turpin | Beadle Bamford | Jonas Fogg | Adolfo Pirelli
9: Fabrication Machine | 1 | 8 | Machines (Cat Beast, Winged Beast, Seamstress, Steel Behemoths, Seeker Drones & Spiderbots) | Chancellor Fredinand | The Chancellor's Party
Alice in Wonderland (2010): Red Queen | Knave of Hearts | Card Soldiers | The Jabberwock | Jubjub Bird | Hamish Ascot
Dark Shadows: Angelique Bouchard | Julia Hoffman
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: Adam
Frankenweenie: Mr. Whiskers | Shelley | Were-Rat | Sea Monkeys | Mr. Burgermeister
Big Eyes: Walter Keane
Miss Peregrine's Homes for Peculiar Children: Mr. Barron
Dumbo (2019): V.A. Vandevere | Neils Skellig | Pink Elephants | Rufus Sorghum

           SweeneyToddTitle Villains

The String of Pearls
Sweeney Todd | Mrs. Lovett

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Sweeney Todd | Nellie Lovett | Judge Turpin | Beadle Bamford | Jonas Fogg | Adolfo Pirelli

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