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Topsy-Turvy (1999)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 8,858 users   Metascore: 90/100
Reviews: 195 user | 102 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 ...
Banton
Wendy Nottingham ...
Helen Lenoir
Stefan Bednarczyk ...
Frank Cellier
Geoffrey Hutchings ...
Armourer
...
Richard Temple (The Mikado)
Francis Lee ...
Butt
...
Cook
Adam Searle ...
Shrimp
...
...
...
Lucy Gilbert
Kate Doherty ...
Mrs. Judd
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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:

|

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

There are three Shakespearean quotes. The first is a line from Macbeth Act III, Scene 3 "O horror, horror, horror!...", spoken by Gilbert at breakfast in relation to the prospects for an extended run for 'Princess Ida'. The second is from Othello, Act I, Scene 1 : "What a full fortune does the thick-lips owe,/ If he can carry 't thus!" , spoken at the restaurant when discussing General Gordon's death at Khartoum. The third is also from Macbeth, Act II, Scene 2 : "A little water clears us of this deed," spoken by Helen Lenoir when comforting Rutland Barrington, who was ill from eating oysters. See more »

Goofs

This well known quote from the film is a factual mistake: "If you wish to write a Grand Opera about a prostitute, dying of consumption in a garret, I suggest you contact Mr Ibsen in Oslo. I am sure he will be able to furnish you with something suitably dull". The city of Oslo got the name in 1925 - a long time after Ibsen's death in 1906. During Ibsen's lifetime, the capital of Norway was called Kristiania. See more »

Quotes

Gilbert: Madam, I had rather spend an afternoon in a Turkish bath with my mother than visit the dratted dentist.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Mike Leigh in Conversation (2008) 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

 
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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