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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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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

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

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

[to her reflection in the theatre dressing-room mirror]
Leonora Braham, Lead Soprano: Yes, I am indeed beautiful. Sometimes I sit and wonder, in my artless Japanese way, why it is that I am so much more attractive than anybody else in the whole world. Can this be vanity? No! Nature is lovely, and rejoices in her loveliness. I am a child of Nature, and take after my mother.
See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojoUK: Top 10 British Music Biopics (2019) See more »

Soundtracks

But Soft... / Why, Where Be Oi?
(1877)
from "The Sorcerer"
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Lyrics by W.S. Gilbert
Performed by Martin Savage, Kevin McKidd, Shirley Henderson and chorus
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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