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Topsy-Turvy (1999)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 9,215 users   Metascore: 90/100
Reviews: 197 user | 101 critic | 31 from Metacritic.com

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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Title: Topsy-Turvy (1999)

Topsy-Turvy (1999) on IMDb 7.4/10

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Won 2 Oscars. Another 13 wins & 23 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
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...
...
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

Country:

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Language:

| | | |

Release Date:

14 January 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mike Leigh Untitled  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

£10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£139,700 (UK) (18 February 2000)

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

W.S. Gilbert's quip about a prostitute dying of consumption in a garret refers to Verdi's opera "La Traviata." See more »

Goofs

Gilbert sarcastically suggests that Sullivan, wanting to write a more serious opera, might try to collaborate with "Mr. Ibsen in Oslo." At the period in which the movie is set, the city was named Christiania. See more »

Quotes

Richard Temple: Laughter, tears, curtain.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Imagine: The One and Only Mike Leigh (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

This Helmet, I Suppose
(1884)
from "Princess Ida"
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Lyrics by William S. Gilbert
Performed by Timothy Spall and chorus
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Positive, glowing recommendation
26 December 2003 | by (Millis, Massachusetts USA) – See all my reviews

I am a violinist who has done a lot of theater shows and have seen lots of theater rehearsal.

For me this film has everything - the scenery is more lavish and beautiful than I've ever witnessed anywhere. For me, the interest _is_ the behind-the-scenes view of the actors. The fact that Allan Corduner (Sullivan) is actually a musician (not just miming the piano work) is a real plus. The scene of the recital of his "Lost Chord" was a marvelous musical moment. It captured the atmosphere of an old-style home recital, with earnest artists and elegant surroundings. And the rehearsal scene with the trio Grossmith (Koko), Barrington (Poo-bah), and Beauville each singing why they can't chop their own heads off is a marvelous view of what rehearsal can and should be like. Everyone has learned their words but now we're refining the artistry. The director assumes the viewer is well versed and doesn't beat him over the head. I feel honored that I am being treated as an intelligent watcher. When Gilbert says to Beauville, "I've gone to great length to give you triplets..... so let's do it again and let's ....'trip'", and they do, and it really works, I get the feeling that they live in and understand my world. Every moment of the film has for me a beauty.

The snippets of the other G&S operettas are astounding. The wake-up scene in The Sorcerer is probably only a minute long, but each word and glance is well chosen, and everyone is in perfect character. Like the cliché, "Every bride is beautiful.", every man and woman in this cast is beautiful.

Another remarkable moment in the film is Temple's "Mikado Song" when he dances, and the aftermath where Gilbert cuts the number and it then gets reinstated by the chorus men and women cornering Gilbert in the stairwell. My experience is that people in theater really do care for each other and they wish each other well. When someone does something of artistic merit, they know it, and want it to be displayed.

Almost every moment of this film rings true to me as a musician, and I treasure it. I can start this video at any random spot on the tape and find something to enjoy for 10 seconds or for another hour.

Because much of the film centers around Mikado, anyone who has ever worked on Mikado as an actor, crew, or musician will find much to enjoy. For someone who is not at all familiar with that operetta, I could understand them feeling that they can't see the continuity-- because the director has chosen not to repeat things. You will see this part and that part in preliminary stages of rehearsal but not again later, so if you saw the behind the scenes work, you won't see the 'finished product' except in the case of "Three Little Maids."

I was left wishing that this cast actually had created a full length version of Mikado, but alas I don't believe they did; all this work was for the sake of this film and it's not a documentary of an actual living repertory group.


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