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The Mikado (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (1939)

Kenny Baker , Martyn Green , Victor Schertzinger  |  NR |  Blu-ray
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)

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Blu-ray The Criterion Collection $26.59  
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The Mikado (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] + Topsy-Turvy (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] + Gilbert & Sullivan - H.M.S. Pinafore / Trial By Jury - David Hobson, Anthony Warlow, Colette Mann, Tiffany Speight, John Bolton Wood, Richard Alexander, Opera Australia, State Theatre, The Arts Centre Melbourne
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Product Details

  • Actors: Kenny Baker, Martyn Green, Sydney Granville, John Barclay, Gregory Stroud
  • Directors: Victor Schertzinger
  • Writers: Gilbert & Sullivan
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Full Screen, NTSC, Special Edition, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: March 29, 2011
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,271 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Mikado (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Special Features

Newly remastered digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition

New video interview with Topsy-Turvy director Mike Leigh on The Mikado and its adaptation for the screen

New video interview with Mikado scholars Josephine Lee and Ralph MacPhail Jr., tracing the 1939 filmed version of the opera back to its 1885 stage debut

Short silent film promoting the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company’s 1926 stage performance of The Mikado

PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien

Editorial Reviews

The legendary Gilbert and Sulliavan troupe the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company joined forces with Hollywood for this 1939 Technicolor version of the fabled comic opera, the first complete work by the famed duo to be adapted for the screen, directed by musician and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Victor Schertzinger (One Night of Love, Road to Singapore). The result is a lavish cinematic retelling of the British political satire set in exotic Japan, with such enduringly popular numbers as “A Wandering Minstrel I” and “Three Little Maids from School Are We,” and featuring performances by American singer Kenny Baker as well as a host of renowned D’Oyly Carte actors, including Martyn Green and Sydney Granville.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Green & Granville make for pleasant MIKADO June 27, 2003
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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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
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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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comparison to Statford Edition September 23, 2001
By A Customer
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
great sets, costumes and color...songs are all right!!!
Published 2 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Odd But Entertaining
An odd production of the Gilbert & Sullivan play made in 1939 amid the Hollywood glamour years and this reflects it. Read more
Published 16 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good, not the best musical ever, but worth seeing.
Published 16 days ago by Louis Gancsos Jr.
3.0 out of 5 stars The singing is good, though
Hollywood rewrite with scenes missing and out of order. The singing is good, though.
Published 1 month ago by margaret bernstein
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Any link between Gilbert and Sullivan's Mikado and this movie are purely coincidental.
Published 1 month ago by Eulon Ross Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars My mother was in this Opera in Springfield Ohio in the 1960's. I loved...
This is one of my favorite operetta's from my childhood. In these days of DVDs and video streaming, we have a benefit that I did not have when I was a kid hearing my mother, along... Read more
Published 1 month ago by BytemanProofreader at Gmail
5.0 out of 5 stars the nod for the best must go to this D'oyly Carte production
Of all the versins of the Mikado that I have seen, the nod for the best must go to this D'oyly Carte production.
Published 1 month ago by baa
3.0 out of 5 stars We have seen Mikados that were much better. Sometimes I felt the...
We have seen Mikados that were much better. Sometimes I felt the costuming got in the way. The sound was uneven so sometimes I could hear and sometimes not... Read more
Published 2 months ago by John R. Isaac
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
all good
Published 3 months ago by DARRYL
1.0 out of 5 stars Sorry but no cigar!
I love Gilbert and Sullivan, but this production is terrible. A waste of my time.
Published 3 months ago by Bndz
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