The Mikado [Blu-ray]
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The legendary GILBERT AND SULLIVAN 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.
SPECIAL EDITION 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
Changes must be expected when a classic book or stage show becomes a movie. In this 1939 Mikado, efforts were made to respect the original. Stars of the D'Oyly Carte Company were hired for key roles and performed them in their traditional style, with the D'Oyly Carte Chorus, London Symphony Orchestra, and a director (Victor Schertzinger) who was also a conductor and knew the music.
An introductory scene was added to clarify the plot, and other small adjustments were made. Several songs were left out or abbreviated, and one song, "The sun, whose rays," was sung twice, by Nanki-Poo and by Yum-Yum, for whom it was written. A popular tenor of the time, Kenny Baker, sang Nanki-Poo with good, light tone, but in his own non-traditional style. These departures from tradition may infuriate hard-core Gilbert and Sullivan fans, but others will hardly notice. The visuals are gorgeous, the sound not up to present standards but clear and accurate. This is not a definitive Mikado, but an interesting one and timeless in style. --Joe McLellan --This text refers to the DVD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The mouthing of pre-recorded lyrics is exceptionally well-done, and until I read Green's account of lip-synching experiences I wondered if the songs were actually recorded live...he is particularly sharp, especially in the "Criminal Cried" sequence. Some of his business seems over-done, especially in the "encores," and inside-jokes like the stubbed-toe bit seem weird and out-of-place (I think the film would have benefited from editing out both encores). But he is the classic Ko-Ko, and his changing motivations and emotions expertly show why this complex character is one of the great characters of the theatre.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
This is not a review as such, but a response to the earlier question regarding Martyn Green as a ham. Read morePublished on Jan. 9 2002 by Herbert M. Silverberg
For those of you spoiled by TOPSY-TURVY, this will come as disappointed relief or some such thing. There are several missing songs (As someday it may happen, So sir we much regret,... Read morePublished on Aug. 15 2001 by Quarx
Overall I enjoyed this. Without knowing quite what to expect, I liked most of the performances very much - they're pretty traditional Doyly Carte stuff - with the exception of... Read morePublished on Aug. 1 2001
After careful consideration I finally ordered this DVD- all the reviews I read either loathed it or adored it, & there wasn't much room for the middle ground. Read morePublished on July 31 2001 by Rick Pinyan
Well, the artistic and authentic value of this film may be argued indeed, but, what makes it worth watching, is the technical data of this transfer: the picture and color quality... Read morePublished on Feb. 20 2001 by Mart Sander
This wouldn't be my first choice for a DVD or VHS Mikado, but it IS interesting in its own way. A big technicolor production from 1938, one has the opportunity to see D'Oyly Carte... Read morePublished on May 8 2000
This wouldn't be my first choice for a DVD or VHS Mikado, but IS interesting in its own way. A big technicolor production from 1938, one has the opportunity to see D'Oyly Carte... Read morePublished on May 8 2000
Satisfying if approached as a film, rather than an opera. The cuts have already been mentioned. For me, the biggest disappointment was in the sound quality of the DVD. Read morePublished on May 6 2000 by rkass
This is a "Mikado" in name only. A Gilbert and Sullivan fan for thirty years, I was disappointed to find such songs as "I've Got a Little List," "To Sit in... Read morePublished on Feb. 24 2000 by Brian J. Murphy