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 ... See full summary »
Nanki-Poo, the son of the Mikado, leaves home and disguises himself as a musician to escape a distasteful marriage - and meets a beautiful girl, Yum-Yum, with whom he falls in love. He ... See full summary »
This movie is an adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan's comic operetta of the same name, with parts of other of their operettas stirred in. Frederick has fallen in love with sweet innocent ... See full summary »
A British army officer who resigns his commission on the eve of his unit's embarkation to a mission against Egyptian rebels seeks to redeem his cowardice by secretly aiding his former ... See full summary »
C. Aubrey Smith
Edwin, a taxi driver, lives with Annie, a neurasthenic model. They plan to spend Sunday at the Nikolassee beach with Wolfgang, an officer, gentleman, antiquarian, gigolo, at the moment a ... See full summary »
On a train trip West to become a mail order bride Susan Bradley meets a cheery crew of young women traveling out to open a " Harvey House " restaurant at a remote whistle stop to provide ... See full summary »
The lives of numerous people over the course of 20 years in 19th century France, weaved together by the story of an ex-convict named Jean Valjean on the run from an obsessive police inspector, who pursues him for only a minor offense.
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 <email@example.com>
Suffers from cuts, but makes up in the quality of the performers--Modified rapture!
In the 1930s the decision was made to do a movie of a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta as a star vehicle for Kenny Baker. They decided to do "The Yeomen of the Guard" with Baker as Fairfax and engage members of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company for other roles in the film--including Martyn Green as Jack Point. However, they went back in this decision and decided to make a movie of "The Mikado" instead. In his autobiography, Green states that he feels "Yeomen" would have made a better movie.
This is an interesting Mikado, with both its upsides and its downsides. The biggest downside being the large amount of song cuts. The Mikado is one of Gilbert and Sullivan's best works, and it's a shame that so much of G&S's score is left out. Missing from the production are Pooh-Bah's "Young Man Despair;" Ko-Ko's excellent "Little List" song; "So Please You Sir, We Much Regret" (the quartet between Pooh-Bah and the girls); much of the Act I Finale; the quintet between Pooh-Bah, Pitti-Sing, Ko-Ko, the Mikado, and Katisha--"See How the Fates Their Gifts Allot;" Katisha's solo "Alone and Yet Alive;" and Katisha and Ko-Ko's duet "There is Beauty in the Bellow of the Blast." I assume these were all cut due to time, but it is a shame to lose them. Much of the dialogue is cut as well, cutting out some of Gilbert's funniest lines.
All this is made up for, however, by the actors. Despite the fact that it's Kenny Baker and Jean Colin's faces you see on the front of the box, the star here is Martyn Green as Ko-Ko. Green was the principle comic baritone with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company (a name which has always been synonymous with the best performances of Gilbert & Sullivan you can find) for many years and both this and the many recordings he made show that he was one of the best actors to ever play the Grossmith roles. He gives a stellar performance as Ko-Ko, the lord high executioner, and it really is a shame the list song was cut. Another D'Oyle Carte regular, Sydney Granville, plays Pooh-Bah and he is excellent as well. His Pooh-Bah is just as great as Green's Ko-Ko. There are quite a few other D'Oyly Carters here as well--Elizabeth Paynter and Kathleen Naylor (Pitti-Sing and Peep-Bo), the entire chorus, and Gregory Stroud (Pish-Tush) had done a bit of work with the D'Oyly Carte during the 1926 season. The rest of the cast does an excellent job as well. Victor Schertzinger manages to transfer the show to film quite well without it feeling too awkward on the screen (although I agree with Martyn Green in feeling that Yeomen would have made a better movie).
All in all, despite the song cuts, it is an excellent production of the Mikado, one that is well worth seeing. Of the Mikados I have seen on video and/or DVD (including this one, Stradford's production, Opera World's, and English National Opera's), I would say this is the best one out there. This is G&S performed the way it should be performed, the only disadvantage being that there's not enough of it.
22 of 22 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?