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Topsy-Turvy (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (1999)

Allan Corduner , Dexter Fletcher , Mike Leigh  |  R |  Blu-ray
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (196 customer reviews)

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Frequently Bought Together

Topsy-Turvy (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] + The Mikado (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
Price for all three: $73.92

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Product Details

  • Actors: Allan Corduner, Dexter Fletcher, Sukie Smith, Roger Heathcott, Wendy Nottingham
  • Directors: Mike Leigh
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, DTS Surround Sound, 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: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: March 29, 2011
  • Run Time: 160 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (196 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004GFGUCW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,128 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Topsy-Turvy (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Special Features

Director-approved digital transfer, supervised by cinematographer Dick Pope, with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition

Audio commentary featuring director Mike Leigh

New video conversation between Leigh and the film’s musical director, Gary Yershon

A Sense of History, Leigh’s 1992 short film written by and starring actor Jim Broadbent

Deleted scenes

Featurette from 1999 including interviews with Leigh, stars Broadbent and Allan Corduner, and other cast members

Theatrical trailer and TV spots

PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Amy Taubin


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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.

Additional Features

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

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
95 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best biopic ever! Not just for Gilbert & Sullivan fans! November 8, 2002
Format:DVD
Topsy-Turvy is the story of the creation of the Gilbert & Sullivan operetta, "The Mikado." It contains not just the story of the musical's creation but many scenes from Mikado and other G&S musicals. Long-time "G&S" (Gilbert & Sullivan) fans probably found this movie a long time ago. I am one of them, so first I'll say that I found the performance of the G&S material in this movie absolutely superb. I've never seen a Mikado as genuinely funning and eccentric as Tim Sprall's, or a Yum-Yum as winsomely self-centered as Shirley Hendersen's Leonora Branham.
Viewers who find musicals simplistic or shallow or generally silly should make an exception in the case of Topsy-Turvy. It is none of those things. In true Mike Leigh fashion, the actors inhabit their characters like second skin. No one is simple or shallow. Nor does Leigh avoid the seamier side of London theatrical life. I particularly liked Jim Broadbent's bitterly comic and misanthropic Gilbert, Martin Savage as the opium-addicted George Grossmith (the 'patter baritone' who rips through Gilbert's rapidfire lyrics like a rap song), and Lucy Manville as Gilbert's long-suffering wife.
Finally, the film is visually beautiful and detailed; wonderful costumes, lighting, and sets that seem faultless in their historical detail.
One of the best, if not the best, bio-pic ever made.
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59 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An improbably great film from an unexpected source November 23, 2003
Format:DVD
This delightful retelling of the creation of the Gilbert and Sullivan masterpiece THE MIKADO is as improbable a product from the hands of Mike Leigh as a Hollywood shoot-'em-up would have been from Jane Campion. Leigh had made his reputation by crafting some amazingly intimate films about human relationships in films like the astonishing SECRETS AND LIES (which features in Brenda Blethyn one of the two or three greatest performances ever by an actress in any film). The idea of doing a historical recreation of Gilbert and Sullivan is not one that easily attaches itself to Leigh. Nonetheless, this film is in every sense masterful and entertaining.
With a director of the ability of Mike Leigh, it is no surprise that the film is superb as a production. Everything is superb about the film. The art direction and set design is extraordinary, and I can't imagine a historical film more compellingly done than this one. Moreover, the musical numbers are exquisitely done, and always convincing.
In the end, however, as superb as the direction and the design are, what drives this movie are the performers. This is a very fine ensemble cast, many of them Mike Leigh regulars, like the very fine Timothy Sprall, who winningly plays Richard Temple. Jim Broadbent has since the release of TOPSY-TURVY managed to establish himself as a superstar character actor through films like MOULIN ROUGE, NICHOLAS NICKLEBY, and IRIS (for which he won an Oscar). I always marvel at his range and his ability to sell any role. He is stellar here as the Stoic and emotionally conservative W. S. Gilbert.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Splendid May 16, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
If you don't like Gilbert and Sullivan, you should avoid TOPSY-TURVY; clocking in at about two hours and forty minutes, it would probably be a torturous experience. For everyone else, however, I give this movie my highest recommendation. TOPSY-TURVY concerns itself with a period during which Gilbert and Sullivan find themselves at a professional impasse. Their inability to agree on a suitable story for collaboration eventually leads to their most popular operetta, "The Mikado." Director Mike Leigh's object, however, is to tell the story behind the story; he lets us peek into the professional and personal lives of Sullivan, Gilbert, and the D'Oyly Carte Company. Jim Broadbent anchors the film with his tremendous performance as W.S. Gilbert; he is infuriating and arrogant, yet plagued with self doubt and even occasionally gentle. Alan Cordeneur does well as Arthur Sullivan, yet his performance is less involving and we don't get to know him that well; but perhaps that was the point. Leslie Manville is quite touching as Gilbert's long suffering wife, Kitty. The D'Oyly Carte performers are played with just the right combination of humanity and theatricality; in particular, Timothy Spall as Richard Temple (bewildered and hurt that his role as the Mikado might be whittled to almost nothing!) and Dorothy Atkinson, charming and alluring as Jessie Bond, are outstanding. There are generous musical excerpts from "The Mikado," "The Sorcerer," "Princess Ida," and Sullivan's non-Gilbert music. There is so much more worth praising in TOPSY-TURVY, but instead I'll just close by saying: DON'T MISS IT!
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witty. Entertaining. A Bit Challenging. April 17, 2002
By RWM
Format:VHS Tape
It took me two viewings to understand what was going on in the first half of the film -- a dark and confusing period in the lives of the two artists. On a second viewing the whole thing came together for me.
I found the rendering of the historical period to be splendid --as convincing as Rossellini's "Louis XIV".
The actual creation and staging of the Mikado (in the second half of the film) is likely to delight anyone familiar with the works of G&S -- or anyone who has ever struggled to put together an effective theatrical production. The poignant illnesses and psychic suffering of the Savoy actors -- as well as the suffering of G&S -- set one up for goosebumps when they soared triumphantly into song on opening night.
The language and witty word play in many scenes were like the first stages of a multi-stage rocket that ultimately hurled Gilbert's wonderfully silly and witty libretto into artistic orbit. (Forgive me. I am an intellectual chap.)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful tribute to theater behind the scenes and on the ...
Wonderful tribute to theater behind the scenes and on the stage, and the labor of love it takes to put on a show while the personal lives of all its players plays its part in the... Read more
Published 4 hours ago by AmazCustomer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
PERFECT "G&S" AND "THE MIKADO".
Published 2 days ago by Solomon Hanan
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST HAVE
Very much a movie for those into music and lite opera
Published 6 days ago by John W Spehar
1.0 out of 5 stars VERY DISAPOINTED!
Topsy Turvey- very disappointed ! the DVD is not compatible with our NZ DVD Blue Ray Player ??- the system does not work ??
I regard this as a waste of $40. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Desmond Kearns
5.0 out of 5 stars new and fast
new and fast
Published 28 days ago by alansonso
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved this movie
Published 28 days ago by Roberta Ventura
5.0 out of 5 stars Topsy-Turvy will have you Laughing and is a *5* star Film about...
Okay folks, Here is the deal. Topsy-Turvey is a Movie about The Playwrights Gilbert and Sullivan.
Not only is it hilarious, but its just down right *fun* to watch. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Robert Pylant
4.0 out of 5 stars but this is about as good a representation of the times as you are...
A first-class effort from people who obviously have a deep affection for Gilbert & Sullivan. Some minor historical inaccuracies, but this is about as good a representation of the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Malcolm Fletcher
5.0 out of 5 stars Gilbert & Sullivan biopic "par excellence"
Wonderful Jim Broadbent, wonderful cast and awesome production and, fascinating if, slightly confusing story.
Published 1 month ago by armandcat
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best films of my experience
One of the best films of my experience. Very high production values. Great script and acting. Very high grade costumes and sets.
Top 10 films I've seen. JP
Published 1 month ago by jsp
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