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205 user 99 critic

Topsy-Turvy (1999)

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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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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:

£10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$32,718, 19 December 1999, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$6,201,757, 21 May 2000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

All the actors do their own singing. See more »

Goofs

Gilbert sarcastically suggests that Sullivan, wanting to write a more serious opera, might try to collaborate with "Mr. Ibsen in Oslo." At the period in which the movie is set, the city was named Christiania. See more »

Quotes

Sullivan: Oh, Gilbert! You and your world of topsy-turvydom. In 1881, it was a magic coin; and before that it was a magic lozenge; and in 1877 it was an elixir.
Gilbert: In this instance it is a magic potion.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Mike Leigh in Conversation (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Three Little Maids from School Are We
(1885)
from "The Mikado"
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Lyrics by W.S. Gilbert
Performed by Dorothy Atkinson, Shirley Henderson and Cathy Sara
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Artfully Constructed and one of the year's best films.
21 August 2000 | by SpamletSee all my reviews

Much has been said here regarding the brilliant costumes, art direction and acting. The one thing I would like to point out is the misconception many have had about the script itself.

Several comments here have claimed that the film is "clunky" in that several scenes apparently added nothing to the film. They also said there was no character development. I think these people need to realize that the depth they seek is contained in the very scenes they wished excised. Which show us all of the different aspects of these characters' lives.

While appearing to be unimportant, empty or simple these many scenes reveal incalculable depth and character insight. The rehearsal scene for just one example, while seeming initially to be a little comedic scene shows us the nature and attitude of both the author and the actors involved in their creative processes.

The performance scenes are also not superfluous as some have wrongly asserted. We can see the characters we have come to know and how they deal onstage with the problems we know they have in their lives: through expressing themselves in their art!!!

In addition the scenes are not arbitrarily strung together but all contain a subtle cause and effect throughline. Sometimes these are reversed as when a cause is revealed only after we have repeatedly seen the effect (as in the revelation of Grossman's illness). Many of the scenes which people have called "tacked on" at the end (like the stunning scene between Gilbert and his wife Kitty) are in fact set up in the earlier parts of the film if you pay close attention and are in actuality a natural progression of these relationships.

Even the very last scene when the leading lady sings is there to show us her identification with the song she is singing and therefore an indirect relationship with her lyricist and composer. This film needs to be seen more than once to appreciate how well constructed it truly is


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