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The Mikado (1939) More at IMDbPro »

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William S. Gilbert (libretto based upon the opera by)
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Release Date:
1 May 1939 (USA) See more »
The son of the Mikado of Japan, a wandering minstrel, falls for a girl who is engaged to her guardian. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Nominated for Oscar. Another 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
superb, if snipped, Gilbert and Sullivan See more (18 total) »


  (in credits order)

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

DistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

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

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 »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Chariots of Fire (1981)See more »
Willow, Tit-willowSee more »


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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful.
superb, if snipped, Gilbert and Sullivan, 28 April 2010
Author: didi-5 from United Kingdom

This version of 'The Mikado' was released in 1939 and was an early Technicolor production. This, and the fact that most of the cast are D'Oyly Carte veterans and experts in the material, means it is extremely watchable today. Even the addition of American Kenny Baker as Nanki-Poo (who acquits himself very well in such exalted company) can't spoil the feeling of watching a superior piece of operetta.

Of course there are a number of songs missing from this score, which is a shame. Chief amongst these is Ko-Ko's 'Little List', which I think was cut because of contemporary references which could seem offensive today. If that's true, it is a pity to lose such a show-stopper. I'd also liked to have seen more of Pooh-Bah, who has two songs deleted.

If you like Gilbert and Sullivan, or operettas generally, or big stage production musicals, sung well and acted with style, 'The Mikado' is for you.

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