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Gilbert and Sullivan (1953)

The Story of Gilbert and Sullivan (original title)
The common career of W.S. Gilbert,a barrister turned comic writer, and Arthur Sullivan, a classic composer turned converted against his will to light music, who wrote fourteen operettas between 1871 and 1896, to great public acclaim.

Director:

Sidney Gilliat

Writers:

Leslie Bailey, Leslie Baily (book) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Morley ... William S. Gilbert
Maurice Evans ... Arthur Sullivan
Eileen Herlie ... Helen D'Oyly Carte
Martyn Green Martyn Green ... George Grossmith
Peter Finch ... Richard D'Oyly Carte
Dinah Sheridan ... Grace Marston
Isabel Dean ... Mrs. Gilbert
Wilfrid Hyde-White ... Mr. Marston
Muriel Aked Muriel Aked ... Queen Victoria
Michael Ripper ... Louis
Bernadette O'Farrell Bernadette O'Farrell ... Jessie Bond
Ann Hanslip Ann Hanslip ... Bride
Eric Berry Eric Berry ... Rutland Barrington
Yvonne Marsh Yvonne Marsh ... Second bride
Lloyd Lamble ... Joseph Bennett
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Storyline

The common career of W.S. Gilbert,a barrister turned comic writer, and Arthur Sullivan, a classic composer turned converted against his will to light music, who wrote fourteen operettas between 1871 and 1896, to great public acclaim.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Hear the glorious voices of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company with the London Symphony Orchestra See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 February 1953 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Gilbert and Sullivan See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Coincidentally, a poster outside D'Oyle Carte's office shows a caricature of Oscar Wilde; an actor plays Oscar Wilde briefly in another scene, and two of the male leads, Robert Morley and Peter Finch, would go on to play Oscar Wilde themselves in later movies. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Frasier: They're Playing Our Song (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Backstage to the Mikado
27 May 2011 | by Chase_WitherspoonSee all my reviews

Biography documenting the fraught and creatively tense relationship between master opera collaborators William S.Gilbert (played with aplomb by the portly Morley) and Arthur Sullivan (Evans). The film documents their collaboration from their first operetta in 1871, through to Sullivan's premature death at just 58, and Gilbert's subsequent knighthood early in the 20th century. Sullivan's growing reluctance to compose the light opera demanded of him serves as a constant bane upon which the collaboration with Gilbert (the lyricist) is often strained. When the pair eventually agree to part ways, those around them manage to cajole the pair together to resurrect their fragile partnership time and time again.

While the subject matter obviates the need for plenty of musical numbers, also present are colourful sets and vibrant exteriors of the Thames and English countryside, wry dialogue that depicts their egos humorously, and an attractive supporting cast that includes Peter Finch as the talent agent who masterminds the pairing, while stalwarts Dinah Sheridan and Wilfrid Hyde-White also feature prominently.

Rotund and expressive, the presence of Morley ensures that the tone is mostly comedic, and while it's a lavish production, the momentum is often lacking pace and I found the biopic sometimes tedious. Nevertheless, if you're a fan, there's ample excerpts of "Pirates of Penzance" or "The Mikado" (among others) to enjoy and perhaps discover more about the eccentric relationship 'endured' by the famed duo.


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