Set in the 1880s, the story of how, during a creative dry spell, the partnership of the legendary musical/theatrical writers Gilbert and Sullivan almost dissolves, before they turn it all around and write the Mikado.
Slice-of-life look at a sweet working-class couple in London, Shirley and Cyril, his mother, who's aging quickly and becoming forgetful, mum's ghastly upper-middle-class neighbors, and ... See full summary »
In a poor working class London home Penny's love for her partner, taxi-driver Phil, has run dry, but when an unexpected tragedy occurs, they and their local community are brought together, and they rediscover their love.
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 <email@example.com>
Though the film shows Gilbert coming up with the idea for The Mikado after visiting the Japanese exhibition, in reality he had already finished writing the first act of the libretto by the time the exhibition came to London. See more »
When Gilbert enters the night's take for Princess Ida in his ledger, the date can be seen to be listed as Monday, 10 June, 1884. That date actually occurred on a Tuesday in that year. See more »
May I remind you, Helen, that I am not a machine.
I would not suggest for one moment that you were.
You all seem to be treating me as a barrel-organ. You have but to turn my handle, and Hey Presto! Out pops a tune.
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TOPSY-TURVY, director Leigh's spectacularly entertaining look at the lives and times of the nineteenth-century British duo that gave the world such musical treasures as The Pirates of Penzance and HMS Pinafore. Leigh's film finds G & S in 1884 at a creative impasse following the disappointing reception of their new flop operetta, Princess Ida. Sullivan (Allan Corduner), tired of writing music for the increasingly trite and repetitive librettos of Gilbert (Jim Broadbent), wants to give up their lucrative partnership and write "serious" grand opera. But when an exhibition of Japanese art and culture travelling through London inspires Gilbert to begin writing The Mikado, both men see the opportunity to create something unique and extraordinary. Praise for this stunning film must extend from top to bottom, beginning to end. The music, of course, is wonderful and ever present. The costumes, sets and cinematography are exemplary in their attention to atmosphere and detail. Leigh's script and direction not only bring the period to life, but make it crackle with drama, wit, and social comment. And the performances are fabulous, notably the magnificent Broadbent as mercurial Gilbert; Corduner, warm and charming as the more sweet-natured Sullivan; and Leigh regular Timothy Spall (SECRETS & LIES) as a veteran actor fearful that his big number may be cut. This is quite simply one of the most vastly entertaining, joyous and fascinating films ever made about the creative process. I actually saw it twice within a three-day period and wasn't bored for one second of either viewing!
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