The Mikado (1939)

Not Rated  |   |  Musical, Comedy  |  1 May 1939 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 477 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 13 critic

The son of the Mikado of Japan, a wandering minstrel, falls for a girl who is engaged to her guardian.


(libretto based upon the opera by) (as W.S. Gilbert)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview:
Martyn Green ...
Sydney Granville ...
John Barclay ...
Gregory Stroud ...
Jean Colin ...
Constance Willis ...
Elizabeth Paynter ...
Kathleen Naylor ...


In a mythical Japan, Ko-Ko, a cheap tailor, has been appointed Lord High Executioner and must find someone to execute before the arrival of the ruling Mikado. He lights upon Nanki-Poo, a strolling minstrel who loves the beautiful Yum-Yum. But Yum-Yum is also loved by Ko-Ko, and Nanki-Poo, seeing no hope for his love, considers suicide. Ko-Ko offers to solve both their problems by executing Nanki-Poo, and an agreement is reached whereby Ko-Ko will allow Nanki-Poo to marry Yum-Yum for one month, at the end of which Nanki-Poo will be executed, in time for the arrival of the Mikado. But what Ko-Ko doesn't know is that Nanki-Poo is the son of the Mikado and has run away to avoid a betrothal to an old harridan named Katisha. The arrival of the Mikado brings all the threads of the tale together. Written by Jim Beaver <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Musical | Comedy


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1 May 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A mikádó  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This is the first three-color Technicolor feature to be released by Universal Pictures in the U.S.A. See more »


Version of The Mikado (1973) See more »


Our Great Mikado
(1885) (uncredited)
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Lyrics by William S. Gilbert
Performed by Gregory Stroud and Male Chorus
See more »

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User Reviews

Modified Rapture!
29 May 1999 | by (Melbourne, Australia) – See all my reviews

For many years it was fashionable to sneer at this early marriage of Gilbert & Sullivan, the D'Oyly Carte and the movies. But the distance of time has given us a more benign approach. There is very little - surprisingly so - damage done to the operetta; an aria or two juxtaposed and some odd casting. But most of what remains is charming, fresh and very lively.

Martyn Green steals the film as KoKo, though Sydney Granville gives a time honoured performance as Pooh Bah. My only real gripe is that Darrell Fancourt, that doyen of the D'Oyly Carte, was not called upon to sing the title role. What a document that would have been! As it is, it is the seasoned artists who make the most of the material. And if I don't believe that this is the best of the G & S works, it is certainly a delightful way of spending an hour and a half.

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