Reviewed May 13th, 2001 by Len D. Martin
Cast: Allan Corduner (Arthur Sullivan), Dexter Fletcher (Louis), Sukie Smith (Clothilde), Roger Heathcott (Stage Doorkeeper), Wendy Nottingham (Helen Lenoir), Stefan Bednarczyk (Frank Cellier), Timothy Spall (Richard Temple), Martin Savage (George Grossmith), Jim Broadbent (William Schwenk Gilbert), Lesley Manville (Lucy Gilbert ('Kitty')), Kate Doherty (Mrs. Judd).
Director: Mike Leigh.
Story: This story of Gilbert and Sullivan begins, not at the beginning of their collaboration, but near the end. It is 1885 and their newest operetta is a flop. Sullivan is becoming tired of writing the music to Gilbert's lyrics and yearns to write his own opera. Gilbert has written a new operetta. They meet at their agent's office and Sullivan, who has already read Gilbert's story, tells Gilbert and their agent that he cannot write the music for it because it is simply a rehash of their earlier works. They try to persuade Gilbert to re-write it and he refuses saying it is his best work. Sullivan will not give in and neither will Gilbert so they both depart and their agent fears that this is the end of Gilbert and Sullivan. Later, Gilbert's wife Kitty, persuades her husband to accompany her to an exhibition of Japanese culture. Reluctantly, Gilbert accompanies his wife and it is there that he gets the inspiration for their greatest operetta, “The Mikado”. The rest of the story deals with producing this play, casting the actors, rehearsing, costume design, and finally the play itself.
Audio: Presented in Dolby Digital 5.1, and Dolby Surround 2.0; English Closed Captioned, Spanish and French Subtitled
Video: Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1 - Enhanced for 16x9 televisions.
Extras: Theatrical Trailer; TV Spots: Featurette; Photo Gallery; Cast & Crew Biographies; About Gilbert & Sullivan.
Comments: A truly magnificent film. If you have ever worked on a Broadway or small theatre play you have experienced what the actors here are experiencing: the salary disputes, the cut numbers, the endless rehearsing, etc. Even if you have never worked on a play, this film will let you know what goes into producing a play.
Hidden Extra: This DVD contains some hidden features in the form of music. If you go to the main menu you will notice that the disc features music under the menus. In the case of the main menu, it is only a short looping segment, but on other selective menu screens you will be able to find entire songs from the film. Go to the 'Language Selection,' the 'Special Features,' the 'TV Spots' menu or the 'Cast and Filmmakers' menu you will be treated to some complete song highlights from the movie.
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