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

Special Edition, Special ed.


4.5 out of 5 stars 118 customer reviews

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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

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

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.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Criterion Collection (Direct)
  • DVD Release Date: March 29, 2011
  • Run Time: 160 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 118 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,563 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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  • Learn more about "Topsy-Turvy (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

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