IMDb > The Mikado (1939)
The Mikado
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The Mikado (1939) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

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6.8/10   397 votes »
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Up 14% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writer:
William S. Gilbert (libretto based upon the opera by)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Mikado on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
1 May 1939 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
The son of the Mikado of Japan, a wandering minstrel, falls for a girl who is engaged to her guardian. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Nominated for Oscar. See more »
User Reviews:
Suffers from cuts, but makes up in the quality of the performers--Modified rapture! See more (18 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)
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Directed by
Victor Schertzinger 
 
Writing credits
William S. Gilbert (libretto based upon the opera by) (as W.S. Gilbert)

Produced by
Josef Somlo .... associate producer
Geoffrey Toye .... producer
 
Cinematography by
Bernard Knowles (cameraman)
William V. Skall (photography: Technicolor) (as William Skall)
 
Film Editing by
Philip Charlot 
Gene Milford 
 
Art Direction by
Ralph W. Brinton  (as Ralph Brinton)
 
Set Decoration by
Marcel Vertès (decor) (as Vertès)
 
Costume Design by
Marcel Vertès (uncredited)
 
Makeup Department
Ern Westmore .... makeup artist
 
Production Management
Phil C. Samuel .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Andrew Allan .... assistant director
Thorold Dickinson .... unit director
J.P. Hicks .... assistant director
 
Sound Department
Leslie Murray .... sound recordist
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Jack Hildyard .... camera operator
Cyril J. Knowles .... camera operator (as Cyril Knowles)
Cliff Shirpser .... assistant camera: Technicolor (uncredited)
 
Music Department
The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company .... performers (as The Chorus of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company)
London Symphony Orchestra .... music performers (as The London Symphony Orchestra)
Arthur Sullivan .... music: based upon the opera by
Geoffrey Toye .... conductor
Geoffrey Toye .... music: adapted by
 
Other crew
Natalie Kalmus .... technicolor director
Geoffrey Toye .... producer: stage
 

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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
90 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Certification:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Sir William S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan's comic opera "The Mikado or, The Town of Titipu" was their ninth of fourteen collaborations opening on March 14, 1885 in London at the Savoy Theatre and ran for 672 performances.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Chariots of Fire (1981)See more »
Soundtrack:
Our Great MikadoSee more »

FAQ

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22 out of 22 people found the following review useful.
Suffers from cuts, but makes up in the quality of the performers--Modified rapture!, 31 August 2002

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.

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