The Mikado (1939)

Not Rated  |   |  Musical, Comedy  |  1 May 1939 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 480 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?


Sir William S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan's comic opera "The Mikado or, The Town of Titipu" was their ninth of fourteen collaborations. It opened on March 14, 1885 in London at the Savoy Theatre and ran for 672 performances. See more »


Version of Titi-Pu (1967) See more »


Here's a How-de-do
(1885) (uncredited)
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Lyrics by William S. Gilbert
Performed by Jean Colin, Kenny Baker and Martyn Green
See more »

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User Reviews

Great singing, wonderful production.
22 October 2000 | by (Augusta, Georgia) – See all my reviews

At the conclusion of the wonderful prologue (A Wand'ring Minstrel I), my wife and I broke into applause right there in the den. Can't remember our doing that before. One reason it's so good is that the director found a way to keep it in its stage home without being stagey. The key to this is editing -- lots of fast cuts among faces and angles. Given these, the camera can rejoice in the operetta's stage-centeredness: the chorus can file onstage in glorious pageant and wondrous costume; the singers can face the audience and extend their arms in that wonderful G&S take on the hamminess that underlies the proper Englishman. That's another great thing about this production. It's clearly about how *Englishmen* would look and act if someone transported them to a magical imaginary Japan whose dimensions are constrained only by only the few wisps of knowledge in the *English* mind. The singing is tops, the physical comedy is wonderful, and there's more good feeling in it than in the next 20 Hollywood feel-good movies you'll see.

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