DVD365.net
Topsy-Turvy (1999) artwork

Topsy-Turvy (1999)

10th April 2001

The film charts the history of Gilbert & Sullivan during one of their turbulent times - between the opening of one of their less well known operettas (Princess Ida) and the opening of (probably) their most famous (The Mikado).
Jim Broadbent, Allan Corduner, Timothy Spall, Lesley Manville, Ron Cook, Wendy Nottingham, Kevin McKidd, Shirley Henderson, Dorothy Atkinson, Martin Savage, Eleanor David
Drama, Music
1, 2
Unknown
Unknown

We begin in the theatre with Sullivan leaving his sick-bed to conduct the first night of 'Princess Ida'. The Victorian theatre-goers are all in their best evening dress: a tradition that is still practised by some even today. From here, we are taken home with both Gilbert and Sullivan to meet Gilbert's (long-suffering) wife, Kitty, and Sullivan's mistress, Mrs. Ronalds.

Princess Ida is not doing as well as expected, and for his health, Sullivan now takes off for the Continent. Here we see him sampling the delights of a French brothel, while Gilbert works on the next libretto. Gilbert is frustrated when Sulivan finally returns from his trip, as Sullivan does not care for his libretto. They quarrel and, although under contract to supply a new operetta, Gilbert offers to allow Sullivan to write a more 'serious' work with some other librettist. In the meantime, Gilbert's wife, Kitty, has seen a couple of Japanese ladies from an exhibition in London, and she persuades Gilbert to attend. This exhibition provides the means to break the deadlock with Sullivan, and 'The Mikado' is born.

We are now shown an insight into the writing and production of this work, including the chorus' revolt at the Mikado's only solo number being cut at the dress rehearsal. Needless to say, the song is reinstated. The finale of the film is rather poignant, showing the unhappy 'leading lady' having to put her personal troubles behind her to go on stage.

Looking at the film from a technical point of view, the picture is very clear, with imaginative use of camera angles throughout. The sound is crisp, with good use of the rear channels, primarily for giving ambience in the theatre settings, although this is not their only function.

The actors show quite considerable musical skill. Alan Corduner (Sullivan) is shown playing the piano with some skill, and conducting the orchestra too. All the main characters from the Opera Company do all of their own singing. There are some fabulous scenes from 'The Sorcerer' and 'The Mikado' where all the members of the chorus are excellent musicians in their own right. The ambience of the 'first night' theatre audiences is captured superbly in both the costumes (for which the film won one of its Oscars) and in the use of the surround channels to bring the theatre into your living-room.

The characters are played well, with Jim Broadbent portraying a very 'disagreeable' Gilbert, and Allan Corduner a very cosmopolitan Sullivan. The scene with him in the French brothel is quite bizarre! The other principal characters are excellently portrayed, in particular Wendy Nottingham as Helen Lenoir.

With the rather "bitty" extras it seems to me that, for once, the R2 buyers have the better disc here with an interesting director's commentary. Maybe not surprising, as it is a British film, with a particularly British subject. Die-hard Gilbert & Sullivan fans will lap up the whole two-and-a-half hour spectacle. Even those new to operetta will enjoy the unfolding drama. If you are at all interested in musical theatre and its history, I say this film is a 'must'.

  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots
  • Photo Gallery
  • Cast and Crew Filmographies
  • About Gilbert and Sullivan
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Director's Commentary
Leon artwork

Leon

BD
07/10/2009
Leon lives a sad life as an assassin for the mob, his home is a dingy flat at the end of a corridor. Every day he goes out, does a job and buys two quarts of milk. Today will be different....
Family Guy Presents Blue ... artwork
Team America artwork

Team America

DVD
16/05/2005
The Last King of Scotland artwork
Fonejacker S2 artwork

Fonejacker S2

DVDTV
28/10/2008
Confidence artwork

Confidence

DVD
22/02/2004
Dragon Rider artwork

Dragon Rider

DVD
15/04/2021
Dragon Rider, released on DVD 24th May 2021 from Universal Pictures (UK), tells the story of Firedrake, who wants to show the older generation he is a real dragon, not the naïve fledgling they see him ...
Wrong Turn artwork

Wrong Turn

DVDBD
08/04/2021
Basic Instinct artwork

Basic Instinct

DVDBDUHD
21/04/2021
Speed artwork

Speed

UHD
02/04/2021
Sound Of Metal artwork

Sound Of Metal

BDDIGITAL
21/04/2021
Emperor artwork

Emperor

DVD
08/04/2021

Carnage

Features04/12/2020

A showdown between two kids about eleven, in a local playground. Swollen lips, broken teeth... Now the parents of the "victim" have invited the parents of the "bully" to their apartment to sort it out. Cordial banter gradually develops a razor-sharp edge as all four parents reveal their laughable contradictions and grotesque prejudices. ...

Deutschland '89

News23/02/2021

Following the unparalleled success of Deutschland '83 and '86, which critics hailed as the start of a golden age for German TV, comes the hugely anticipated third instalment as Deutschland '89 is released on DVD 26th April 2021 from Acorn Media International.

Midsomer Murders S21

News31/03/2021

The longest-running detective drama in the UK, Midsomer Murders: Series 21 is set to arrive on DVD 5th May 2021, courtesy of Acorn Media International.
"I have a theory that movies operate on the level of dreams, where you dream yourself."
Meryl Streep

Take Back

DVD29/03/2021396

Cats and Dogs 3

DVDDIGITAL08/02/2021333

The Good Fight S4

DVDTV03/05/2021306

Last Moment of Clarity

DIGITAL08/03/2021303

The Good Fight S4

DVDTV03/05/2021306

Line of Duty S6

DVDBDTV24/05/2021228

It's A Sin

DVDBDTV22/02/2021178

The Undoing

DVDBDTV22/03/2021158

Possessor

DVDBDNOTES08/02/202155

The Broken Hearts Gallery

DVDDIGITALNOTES18/01/202153

Honest Thief

DVDBDNOTES16/10/202033

Soul

DVDBDUHDNOTES25/12/202027

Racing Stripes

DVD21/06/20053051

Austin Powers

DVD01/12/20071464

The Simpsons S16

DVDTV05/12/2013981

Portal

DVD
24/03/2021

Raw

BD
26/03/2021

Switchblade Sisters

DVD
23/03/2021

Willy's Wonderland

DVDBD
26/02/2021
Get a free daily news update. DVD365.net works with the Amazon Alexa flash briefing skill