Topsy-TurvyDirector: Mike Leigh
Noted for intimate character studies created in collaboration with his actors, director Mike Leigh makes a dramatic change of pace with this biography of comic opera composers W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan. Gilbert (Jim Broadbent) is an easily angered but otherwise emotionally remote lyricist who works in collaboration with composer Sullivan (Alan Corduner), a genial and fun-loving sort who feels unsatisfied writing light operettas and longs to work with more serious material. While Sullivan is having a creative crisis, Gilbert is facing a failing marriage to Lucy (Lesley Manville), who loves her husband even if he can't return her affections, and must deal with his ailing father (Charles Simon). When they suffer their first failure, both men are depressed, and Sullivan announces that he's giving up operetta for good. However, a visit to an exhibit of Japanese art sparks an idea in Gilbert, and soon he and Sullivan are hard at work on what will become one of their greatest successes, The Mikado. Much of the film is devoted to the staging of this classic, with Shirley Henderson, Dorothy Atkinson, Martin Savage, Timothy Spall, and Kevin McKidd as members of the operetta's cast. Jim Broadbent won Best Actor at the 1999 Venice Film Festival.
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- [Wide Screen]
- [DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound]
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Cast & Crew
|Alan Corduner||Arthur Sullivan|
|Lesley Manville||Lucy Gilbert|
|Eleanor David||Fanny Ronalds|
|Ron Cook||Richard D'Oyly Carte|
|Timothy Spall||Richard Temple|
|Shirley Henderson||Leonora Braham|
|Wendy Nottingham||Helen Lenoir|
|Ashley Jensen||Miss Tringham|
|John Bush||Art Director|
|Carl Davis||Score Composer|
|Nick Heckstall-Smith||Asst. Director|
|Lindy Hemming||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Georgina Lowe||Associate Producer|
|Eve Stewart||Production Designer|
|Gary Yershon||Musical Direction/Supervision|
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This film, the first I bought on DVD and which I own on bluray from Criterion now, is the crown jewel of my movie collection. It is well-acted, well-written and, for fans of Danny Boyle's Trainspotting, features wonderful musical performances from Kevin McKidd and Shirley Henderson. This film didn't make me a rabid Gilbert And Sullivan, but it does a wonderful job of showing what goes into the creation of a stage production. It always brings back fond memories of my thespian troupe and summer theatre experiences in high school.
Mike Leigh is a genius, and this film proves it.
There just isn't anything about this amazing unexpected movie that isn't first-rate. Even the production values of the DVD are elegant. But Mike Leigh doing Gilbert and Sullivan? Maybe no one else could have gotten an acting ensemble to work together as beautifully as this one does. Topsy Turvy may emerge as one of the best of the decade.