The Mikado (1939)

Genres - Musical, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Operetta  |   Release Date - Jan 12, 1939 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - UK  |  
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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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Keywords

courtship, emperor, impersonation, Japan, love, masquerade, minstrel, mistaken-identity, music, son