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The world of Gilbert and Sulliavan comes to vivid life in this extraordinary dramatization of the staging of their legendary 1885 comic opera The Mikado from Mike Leigh (Naked, Secrets and Lies). Jim Broadbent (Moulin Rouge, Iris) and Allan Corduner (Yentl, Vera Drake) brilliantly inhabit the roles of the world-famous Victorian librettist and composer, respectively, who, along with their troupe of temperamental actors, must battle personal and professional demons while mounting this major production. A lushly produced epic about the harsh realities of creative expression, featuring bravura performances and Oscar-winning costume design and makeup, Topsy-Turvy is an unexpected period delight from one of contemporary cinema’s great artists.
As is often the case with Criterion Collection reissues, the bonus material for both the Blu-ray and DVD editions of Topsy-Turvy is generous and varied. Aside from director Mike Leigh's audio commentary track, a nearly 40-minute conversation between Leigh and musical director Gary Yershon, the only item newly created for this release, will appeal to film buffs, as the two discuss Leigh's decision to focus on The Mikado instead of other Gilbert and Sullivan works; the director's preference for lyricist Gilbert, the more conflicted and complex of the pair; the filmmakers' use of diaries and other material to give the film a strong factual basis; and various technical details. Deleted scenes and a brief (about 10 minutes) making-of featurette from 1999 are of middling interest, but the real gem here is "A Sense of History," a short (about 22 minutes) film from 1992. Directed by Leigh and both written by and starring Jim Broadbent, it's an amusing, increasingly strange satire of British nobility in which Broadbent portrays the (fictional) 23rd Earl of Leete. As a film crew accompanies him on a tour of his grand country estate, the earl details an outrageous catalogue of family horrors, ranging from an abusive father and narcotized mother to the earl's own macabre misdeeds. We're told that it was during the production of this film that Leigh and Broadbent first discussed making a movie about Gilbert and Sullivan, which explains its presence here; but this peculiar item could also stand quite well on its own. --Sam Graham
Highly enjoyable recreation of the music and times of Gilbert and Sullivan.Published 8 days ago by A
I hated Gilbert and Sullivan as child and turned up my noise at it as an adult!!!!! I watched this film since it was made by the great and excellent Mike Leigh, and as a result,... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Execelsior
I really like this film but it does sag a bit one third of the way in, but eventually hits a spirited G&S stride. Super caste and period flare. I've watched three times so far.Published 1 month ago by W. Robinson
I went into this movie hoping for some insight into how mere mortals could have achieved such excellence as Gilbert and Sullivan did. I was disappointed. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Al Phabetical
I have seen this movie many years ago, but decided to buy my own.
thoroughly enjoyed it again, if you are a G & S fan you will too.
The relationship between G&S and between them and D'Oyly Carte was much more complex than suggested by this film. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Keith Nichols
Great production about Gilbert and Sullivan and how "The Mikado" was written and produced. A wonderful tale, by itself, but if you love "The Mikado" its utterly... Read morePublished 2 months ago by W. David Gerns
Outstanding bit of Mike Leigh and ensemble; true to G&S spirit in depicting their partnership; good depiction of the creation of a memorable work and its staging.Published 2 months ago by James Connelly
Before film in the 20th century, the primary means of experiencing grand entertainment was music theater, known universally as "opera", an Italian word meaning "many... Read morePublished 2 months ago by classicalsteve