In a mythical Japan, Ko-Ko, a cheap tailor, has been appointed Lord High Executioner and must find someone to execute before the arrival of the ruling Mikado. He lights upon Nanki-Poo, a strolling minstrel who loves the beautiful Yum-Yum. But Yum-Yum is also loved by Ko-Ko, and Nanki-Poo, seeing no hope for his love, considers suicide. Ko-Ko offers to solve both their problems by executing Nanki-Poo, and an agreement is reached whereby Ko-Ko will allow Nanki-Poo to marry Yum-Yum for one month, at the end of which Nanki-Poo will be executed, in time for the arrival of the Mikado. But what Ko-Ko doesn't know is that Nanki-Poo is the son of the Mikado and has run away to avoid a betrothal to an old harridan named Katisha. The arrival of the Mikado brings all the threads of the tale together.Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
Sir W.S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan's comic opera "The Mikado or, The Town of Titipu" was their ninth of fourteen collaborations. It opened on March 14, 1885 in London at the Savoy Theatre and ran for 672 performances. See more »
I am right and you are right and all is right as right can be
I've seen this 1939 Technicolor version of the Mikado now maybe 10 times over 3 decades and it hasn't palled on me yet, it's a wonderful production of a wonderful operetta. I'm not a huge Gilbert & Sullivan expert, but I consider this to be their best work overall - I'd give the music and lyrics 9.9 out of 10 alone - and I do recognise this was edited to be squeezed into 90 minutes. This means a few great scenes and songs are not here, but as it's still great all the way through anyway I don't mind too much.
Although he did a good job, was good looking and had a fine singing voice Kenny Baker is the only thing about this production that jars a little, his kind of material was best displayed in films like At The Circus. But I'm not a Kenny Baker expert either! Was it simply to help sell it in America, or did he want the role?
At this distance we should be grateful for what we've got - I wish this entire team (cast and crew) had also made some of the other greats such as Pinafore and Penzance for us to admire and then quibble over the chosen edit! To anyone who wants to give G&S a try, try this, revel in Gilbert's gloriously witty and extensive use of the English language, be roused by some of Sullivan's most beautiful and catchy tunes. If you still don't appreciate it then I don't think any of their other work will do it for you either.
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