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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Critic Reviews for The Mikado

All Critics (3)

Technically the film is as near perfection as may be in an imperfect world.

Feb 6, 2018 | Full Review…

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

Apr 6, 2011 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

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

Sep 6, 2006 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

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