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The Cool Mikado (1963)

Hank, the son of American judge Herbert Mikado, refuses to marry Katie Shaw, whom his father wishes him to marry, and so joins the army. He is stationed in Japan where he falls in love with a Tokyo art student, Yum-Yum.



(screenplay), (adaptation) | 4 more credits »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Stubby Kaye ...
Judge Herbert Mikado / Charlie Hotfleisch
Mike Winters ...
Bernie Winters ...
Tommy Cooper ...
Ronald Fortescue
Jacqueline Jones ...
Jill Mai Meredith ...
Lionel Blair ...
Pete Murray ...
Man in Boudoir
Glen Mason ...
Al Mulder
Dermot Walsh ...


Hank, the son of American judge Herbert Mikado, refuses to marry Katie Shaw, whom his father wishes him to marry, and so joins the army. He is stationed in Japan where he falls in love with a Tokyo art student, Yum-Yum.

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Plot Keywords:

gilbert and sullivan | spoof | See All (2) »







Release Date:

January 1963 (UK)  »

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Did You Know?


Adapted from "The Mikado" by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, at the first opportunity after copyright expired, 50 years after Gilbert's death. See more »


Version of The Mikado (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

Calling this "cool" couldn't be more inappropriate
31 December 2016 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Along with 'The Gentlemen of Titipu', 'The Cool Mikado' has to be the worst treatment of Gilbert and Sullivan there is. It fails as a comedy, it fails as a musical/operetta/opera film and it will make fans shudder in embarrassment at how Gilbert's writing and Sullivan's music is treated.

Like 'The Gentlemen of Titipu', summarising the flaws is enough to fill a novel and finding redeeming qualities is difficult. It doesn't even have the honour of looking good, most of it in every sense, from the cramped sets, the cheap-looking and out of place archive footage and sloppy photography that never knows who or what to focus on, looks very amateurish. Michael Winner has shown competence as a director elsewhere, but you wouldn't think so judging from the lack of direction in the story and the ineptitude of the staging of the musical numbers.

Winner clearly had no idea how to direct 'The Cool Mikado' and although there is much more of Winner's work yet to see any other film of his would have to be really bad to be worse than something as rock bottom as 'The Cool Mikado'.

Gilbert and Sullivan's talents are frankly wasted. Gilbert's witty, clever, layered and often hilarious writing and lyrics are replaced by humour that's lame at best and incomprehensible at worst with a sense of people trying to improvise but without the ability to do it well, Tommy Cooper's material is particularly risible, and situations that often veer on the bizarre.

Sullivan's sublime music (some of his best) is cheapened by inept, calling it unimaginative is being far too kind, and at times far too busy (so that it distracts from what is meant to be going on) direction that makes bad school plays more bearable. "Titwillow" is the only one that comes over as okay but no more than that, the List song is a comic masterpiece reduced to being a throwaway joke. That it's also poorly, sometimes painfully, performed also is a disadvantage, and at the end of the day despite being such good music there was a sense due to how the story was executed that it was irrelevant.

The story isn't much of one, and has no fun or charm, instead going through the motions with an ending that felt thrown in. Following it properly isn't easy either. The dubbing is poor also, with it being all too obvious of the cast lip-synching and doing it poorly, especially Frankie Howerd.

None of the cast work. Tommy Cooper has the worst of the material and mugs embarrassingly, while Frankie Howerd clearly didn't want to be there and didn't have any idea as to what to do with his role. Only Stubby Kaye tries and halfway succeeds, but not enough to properly redeem the film.

In conclusion, the word "cool" couldn't be more inappropriate. Embarrassing is more like it. 1/10 Bethany Cox

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