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Topsy-Turvy (1999)

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After Gilbert and Sullivan's latest play is critically panned, the frustrated team threatens to disband until it is inspired to write the masterpiece "The Mikado".

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Won 2 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 27 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Louis
Sukie Smith ...
Clothilde
Roger Heathcott ...
Stage Doorkeeper
Wendy Nottingham ...
Stefan Bednarczyk ...
Frank Cellier
Geoffrey Hutchings ...
...
Francis Lee ...
Butt
...
Cook
Adam Searle ...
Shrimp
Martin Savage ...
...
...
Kate Doherty ...
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Storyline

After their production "Princess Ida" meets with less-than-stunning reviews, the relationship between Gilbert and Sullivan is strained to breaking. Their friends and associates attempt to get the two to work together again, which opens the way to "The Mikado," one of the duo's greatest successes. Written by Steve Fenwick <scf@w0x0f.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The egos. The battles. The words. The music. The women. The scandals. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for a scene of risque nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

11 February 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mike Leigh Untitled  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

£10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$32,718 (USA) (17 December 1999)

Gross:

$6,201,757 (USA) (19 May 2000)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the beginning of the scene showing the recital in which Sullivan's song "The Lost Chord" was sung, the pianist is shown playing the last few bars of the Nocturne No. 4 in E-flat major, Op. 36, by Gabriel Faure. The piece was first published in 1884, not long before the events depicted in the film. See more »

Goofs

During the performance, Katisha's kimono is wrapped incorrectly. All Kimono wrap from the right side of the body to the left (i.e. the right side folds over the left), but her kimono wraps from left to right. Every other character has her/his kimono wrapped correctly. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Price: Hello, Mr. Gilbert.
[addressing Gilbert as he is leaving the theater at the head of the members of the opera chorus]
Gilbert: Good Afternoon, Price.
Mr. Price: Mr. Gilbert, might you spare us a moment of your time, please?
Gilbert: Of course, that's why we're here. We have to rehearse.
Mr. Price: Please, Mr. Gilbert...
Gilbert: [irritated] Yes, Price, what is it?
Mr. Price: [hesitating] We-uh...
Gilbert: Hmm?
Mr. Price: The ladies and gentlemen of the chorus...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in The EE British Academy Film Awards (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

But Soft... / Why, Where Be Oi?
(1877)
from "The Sorcerer"
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Lyrics by W.S. Gilbert
Performed by Martin Savage, Kevin McKidd, Shirley Henderson and chorus
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
I've no more shots in my locker
22 October 2002 | by (Virgina) – See all my reviews

Simply put, a brilliant film.

Topsy Turvy captures Gilbert and Sullivan in the midst of a turbulent period in their partnership. Desperate to be taken more seriously as a composer, Arthur Sullivan attempts to renege on the Gilbert and Sullivan contract with the Savoy Theatre. While his partner William S Gilbert struggles to come up with something new to write about. Each man, in a sense, is longing for individual acclaim but they are trapped in an entity neither one can shake. The fame of their collective energies has taken on a life of its own and the theater crowds want more.

The film is mostly the story of a theater production of the Mikado, one of Gilbert and Sullivan's most famous operas. Director Mike Leigh, notorious for writing on the go, has structured a play within a play to a great delight. Jim Broadbent and Allan Corduner are brilliant as Gilbert and Sullivan, and Tim Spall has a wonderful turn as one of the actors, Mr. Temple.

Their is more here than just two playwrights. The entire cast is seen as more than just pieces of a production. From choristers to administrative personnel, Topsy Turvy is alive with characters. One of the best is Gilbert's long-suffering wife Kitty. Bereft of children and saddled with a husband who doesn't show outward affection, Kitty (Lucy) could be a two dimensional afterthought. However, her pain at being childless is wonderfully played by Lesley Manville. It is clear they love each other but neither is capable of articulating that love, very odd for a man who writes for a living.

Filled with humor and grace, Topsy Turvy is one of the best films about acting and a beautiful embrace of all things theatrical.


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