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Gilbert & Sullivan - The Mikado

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The Mikado
The Mikado
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

As an operetta, THE MIKADO was the culmination of Gilbert & Sullivan's work - the tale of Japanese prince Nanki-Poo, who is on the run from an arranged marriage, masquerading as a balladeer. He falls in love with Yum-Yum, a woman betrothed to the Lord Hig


Changes must be expected when a classic book or stage show becomes a movie. In this 1939 Mikado, efforts were made to respect the original. Stars of the D'Oyly Carte Company were hired for key roles and performed them in their traditional style, with the D'Oyly Carte Chorus, London Symphony Orchestra, and a director (Victor Schertzinger) who was also a conductor and knew the music.

An introductory scene was added to clarify the plot, and other small adjustments were made. Several songs were left out or abbreviated, and one song, "The sun, whose rays," was sung twice, by Nanki-Poo and by Yum-Yum, for whom it was written. A popular tenor of the time, Kenny Baker, sang Nanki-Poo with good, light tone, but in his own non-traditional style. These departures from tradition may infuriate hard-core Gilbert and Sullivan fans, but others will hardly notice. The visuals are gorgeous, the sound not up to present standards but clear and accurate. This is not a definitive Mikado, but an interesting one and timeless in style. --Joe McLellan

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Kenny Baker, Martyn Green, Sydney Granville, John Barclay, Jean Colin
  • Directors: Victor Schertzinger
  • Writers: William S. Gilbert
  • Producers: Geoffrey Toye, Josef Somlo
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 2, 2012
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305186596
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,335 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Gilbert & Sullivan - The Mikado" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

The film has been beautifully restored and the print looks fabulous.
P. Hedlesky
This seems counterproductive, but there really isn't much one can do about it except skip it.
The music is till Gilbert and Sulllivan as are the lyrics, but show it age.
Bill Shea

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Hazen B Markoe on June 27, 2003
Format: DVD
True love never runs smooth in the classic operas of W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan. When the son of the Mikado of Japan falls in love with the fair Yum-Yum, he must not only out-wit the man she is to wed (Ko-Ko), but the lovesick Katisha and his own father as well. What follows is a tuneful comedy of errors that has become one of the classics of the musical stage. If nothing else, THE MIKADO has long been regarded as one of the best of the Gilbert & Sullivan creations, with it's sharp satire wedded to the lovely music and Japanese trappings. However, many fans of the Savoy operas have tended to view this 1939 film adapation as somewhat of a mixed bag. While they appreciated the use of stars from the D'Oyle Carte Opera Company, they didn't enjoy seeing the opera trimmed to fit into a 90 minute time frame. Having said that, I will state that this version is a solid enough introduction to the classic show, while preserving the great performances of D'Oyle Carte veterans Sydney Granville and Martyn Green.
Green truly makes the most of his role as the nervous Lord High Executioner, Ko-Ko. His dances of glee in the "Here's A How De Do" number are a great highlight. In contrast, Granville is the epitome of pompous officialdom as Pooh-Bah, the Lord High Everything Else. Kenny Baker's Nanki-Poo doesn't quite have the flair of the others, but he's pleasant enough in the role.
In the title role, John Barclay makes an absolutely gleefully ghoulish Mikado. Some of the costumes are a little strange and the "prologue" which basically sets up the story is charming, if a little strange to those familiar with the opera. If you're a solid G & S fan, you might not appreciate the abridgement, but the performances of Green and Granville are truly classic.....and that alone makes this film worth recommending.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Aronne VINE VOICE on November 14, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The Martyn Green 1939 Mikado film is a valuable historical document, and in the end enjoyable, but still not without certain defects. The foremost of these is the huge number of cuts, listed here in chronological order:

* Much of the Overture (understandable, as it wasn't even written by Sullivan)
* Some of the opening chorus I think, but half of it is run over the opening credits anyway
* Both of Nanki-Poo's recitatives (some of the words of the first one are place in his dialogue with Pish-Tush)
* 2nd verse of Pish-Tush's song, "Our great Mikado"
* Pooh-Bah's song, "Young man despair"
* The list song, "As some day it may happen"
* All but the coda of "Comes a train of little ladies"
* "So please you sir, we much regret" and much of the dialogue preceding it
* "With aspect stern and gloomy stride" (the orchestral part is altered in order to skip from the introduction to Pooh-Bah singing "To ask you what you mean to do we punctually appear")
* 2nd verse of "The threatn'd cloud has passed away"
* "Oh fool that flee-est my Hallow'd joys"
* "The hour of gladness is dead and gone"
* Katisha's first solo lines in the conclusion of the Act I Finale ("Ye torrents roar"), allowing for the chorus to continue on after they interrupt Katisha.
* Pitti-Sing's solo and the reprise of the main verse in "Braid the raven hair"
* 2nd verse of "The sun whose rays are all ablaze.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 23, 2001
Format: DVD
It is certain that the biggest problem with this make of the Mikado is that so many good songs were cut. However, I am glad that they cut out "As someday it may happen" I never liked that in the least. I mostly compare this to the Statford 1986 version. Overall, it wasn't as good, but it is worth seeing both. I think that this is definitely the Mikado to watch first because it is shorter and the sets are so excellent the watching is easier. I tried watching the Statford version and was desparately bored, until I became enough of a Mikado lover from watching this version to watch it again.
I thought that Kenney Baker made a fine Nanki-Poo, he was much better than Stratford's Henry Ingram, who overacted even more, if that's possible. Baker's voice was good for the role. The accent wasn't much of an impediment, though getting an English one may have helped.
I liked this Yum-Yum because she was much different than the Stratford one, she was quiet and graceful while the other was bouncy, active and perky.
I like the way that Martyn Green hammed up the role, he is the best Ko-Ko I know and did that very well. The Mikado, however, I thought was very bad because he was nothing compared to Gidon Saks of Stratford, a better Mikado than Saks never did in DVD exist.
My favorite character was certainly Sydney Granville, he really captured and haughtiness and snobbery perfectly. While the Stratford Pooh-Bah makes one laugh more, this Pooh-Bah had the correct personality and was better. I loved his fake stomach.
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