Topsy-Turvy (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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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.
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.Read more ›
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.)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great film. Not the usual fare from the boring left-wing director. Witty. Close to truth. Funny corset scene. Best Mikado songs. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Jackal
Excellent movie! You don't have to be a opera fan to enjoy this movie. I love biographical movies and this is great insight of the inspiration and perspiration into the "fab... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Great movie for Gilbert & Sullivan fans or anyone who likes musicals.Published 3 months ago by Mozappa
This is a very enjoyable film from start to finish. I honestly don't think you need a lot of prior knowledge of Gilbert and Sullivan or their work to enjoy it either but G & S fans... Read morePublished 4 months ago by L. Henry Dowell-Playwright
Very very trashy. I have a hard time believing that this is historically accurate. I could only watch half an hour. I will be destroying it.Published 4 months ago by Chris C.
This is such a great movie. The music and acting. The sets and costumes. Give it a chance if you enjoy musicals.Published 4 months ago by ObiwansDad
The story behind the G&S partnership. Fascinating and full of fun.Published 5 months ago by Christopher J Ellis
A recreation of the creation of the Mikado, generally faithful to the times and characters of the participants. Read morePublished 5 months ago by James G Horn Jr
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