The Mikado (1939) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Mikado (1939)





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Though it boasts an American director and star, this Technicolor cinemadaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan's comic operetta The Mikado is a faithful record of what it must have been like to attend a performance of Britain's D'Oyly Carte opera company. Rradio tenor Kenny Baker stars as Nanki-Poo, the wand'ring minstrel who wanders into a curious set of situations in the Japanese village of Titi-Pu. D'Oyly Carte perennial Martyn Green plays the leading role of Ko-Ko, the timorous Lord High Executioner who must perform one execution per day or he'll lose his job-and his own head. Ko-Ko finds a likely candidate for decapitation in the form of Nanki-Poo, who feels mighty suicidal when it seems as though his sweetheart Yum-Yum (Jean Cola) is out of his reach. Unbeknownst to Ko-Ko, Nanki-Poo is the son of none other than The Mikado, played with a combination of pomp, circumstance and Noel Cowardlike waspishness by Sydney Granville. Most of the satirical Gilbert & Sullivan songs have been retained, including "The Lord High Executioner", "Three Little Maids from School are We", "Tit Willow", "Here's a How-de-Do", and "The Object Most Sublime". Musical accompaniment is provided by the London Symphony Orchestra.

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Kenny Baker
as Nanki-Poo
John Barclay
as The Mikado
Gregory Stroud
as Pish-Tush
Gregory Stroud
as Pish-Tush
Jean Colin
as Yum-Yum
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Critic Reviews for The Mikado

All Critics (2)

a mish-mash of visual and narrative approaches, some of which are successful, and some of which are not

Full Review… | April 6, 2011
Q Network Film Desk

Beautifully preserves the essence of the work and captures for all time the great Martyn Greene's signature performance as Ko-Ko.

Full Review… | September 6, 2006
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for The Mikado


I just married this miserable object. Ko-Ko has recently become part of the foolish city's leader's executioner's council. The leader looks at the execution list and sees it has been some time since there was a public execution. He assigns the newly appointed Ko-Ko next to be executed unless he can find a substitute. He seeks a love sick young man who recently lost his girl to take his place. The young man's love interest happens to be the princess, further complicating matters. "I shall have to execute someone at once." Victor Schertzinger, director of Kiss the Boys Goodbye, Road to Zanzibar, Forgotten Faces, Uptown New York, Thunder Mountain, Siberia, and The Lily, delivers The Mikado. The storyline for this picture was just okay and contains interesting characters and funny plots and sub plots. The acting was okay and appropriate for the content. "Burned alive? It's such a stuffy death." I came across this on Netflix and thought the cover looked cool so I gave it a shot. This was a very average parody that was just okay but entertaining and worth a viewing one lazy Sunday. This isn't as good as The Teahouse of the August Moon but it is worth watching once. "It takes years to train a man to love me." Grade: C

Kevin Robbins
Kevin Robbins

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