7.3/10
11,507
209 user 102 critic

Topsy-Turvy (1999)

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1:15 | Trailer
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.

Director:

Mike Leigh

Writer:

Mike Leigh
Won 2 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 28 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Allan Corduner ... Arthur Sullivan
Dexter Fletcher ... Louis
Sukie Smith Sukie Smith ... Clothilde
Roger Heathcott Roger Heathcott ... Stage Doorkeeper
Wendy Nottingham Wendy Nottingham ... Helen Lenoir
Stefan Bednarczyk Stefan Bednarczyk ... Frank Cellier
Geoffrey Hutchings Geoffrey Hutchings ... Armourer
Timothy Spall ... Richard Temple
Francis Lee ... Butt
William Neenan ... Cook
Adam Searle Adam Searle ... Shrimp
Martin Savage Martin Savage ... George Grossmith
Jim Broadbent ... William Schwenck Gilbert
Lesley Manville ... Lucy Gilbert (Kitty)
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:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Not only did all the actors do their own singing, but everyone in the cast, including the pit orchestra and the actors who play instruments in the film, actually played the music they are seen to play. See more »

Goofs

The Japanese exhibition that Gilbert and Lucy attend did not open until after Gilbert had started work on "The Mikado". Nor did Gilbert purchase a Japanese sword from said exhibition. See more »

Quotes

Jessie Bond: [about her kimono] It's shapeless.
Madame Leon: Yes, Miss Bond, it is shapeless. Japanese ladies are most shapeless.
See more »


Soundtracks

The Mikado Finale, Act Two
(1885)
from "The Mikado"
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Lyrics by W.S. Gilbert
Performed by the entire cast
See more »

User Reviews

 
fascinating, funny, and true as gold
14 September 2000 | by markt-9See all my reviews

I loved this film, yet I have a hard time understanding many of the comments other viewers have made. I never liked G&S all that much, thought they were rather light weight stuff. Never liked the late Victorian era much either. Kind of a dull time, I thought. Musicals are definitely not my thing.

Yet this movie struck me as one of the greatest I have ever seen, right up there with Greed and Citizen Kane and all that lot. I suppose it's because I like period pieces, and I think it's damned difficult for anyone to draw an accurate -- or even an evocative -- picture of any time that is not their own. This movie does that, and it never even appears to strain so much as a single hair to do so.

In the end, this movie is deeply *humane.* Like many another Mike Leigh epic, the characters here are drawn in the round, flaws and talents all on view, just like real human beings. And he likes them all, even the stinkers. Likes them well enough to paint them as they are, not as cardboard figures.

If you like your characters pre-digested and redrawn larger than life and your plots full of twists and turns, you might find this movie tame. If you like people, you'll find it fascinating, funny, and true as gold.

And why do I rate it so highly? Because it hangs together so perfectly, all of a piece. It's luscious to look at, delightful to hear, and sweet as candy without ever once becoming saccharine or cheap.

Some reviewers complained you had to "already know" something to enjoy this movie: the music, the time, the language, the whatever. I say, all you have to know is human beings. If you find them interesting, you'll love this movie.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | French | German | Italian | Japanese

Release Date:

11 February 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mike Leigh Untitled See more »

Filming Locations:

Hertfordshire, England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$31,387, 19 December 1999

Gross USA:

$6,208,548

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,208,548
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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