Author Topic: "Topsy-Turvy" - The Mikado - Victorian & Japanese Costume - YouTube clips  (Read 8069 times)

Orlando

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I originally posted this in Goth music not usually considered to be goth (!)
but I think it deserves a wider audience as it's an excellent film full of Victoriana, period dress and so on.

I have the DVD of "Topsy-Turvy" a 1999 film that tells the background story
of the creation of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado in 1884-1885.

The first clip is a rehearsal where Mr Gilbert has invited some Japanese people from a Japanese exhibition being held in London to attend to help with characterisation.  He refers to one of the ladies as "Miss Sixpence Please" because this is the only English she knows - she used the phrase to request payment from Gilbert when he and his wife took tea at the exhibition.  England was in love with all things Japanese at the time, but Gilbert went to the exhibition under protest at the insistance of his wife.  Had he not gone out of his sense of obligation it is likely that The Mikado would never have been written and he and Sullivan's musical partnership would not have continued.

My favourite character in the film is Leonora Braham, the one Gilbert calls "tortoise" in the clip
(grey dress, black hair, played by Shirley Henderson, she occasionally looks a bit like Linda Ronstadt). 

Enjoy all the costumes: Victorian, Japanese, and the manners.

Gilbert behaves like Basil Fawlty in the clip, but he is reported as having been a pretty good man.

The clip doesn't have the full final performance of this well known piece,
so the second clip shows the performance in its entirety - brief though it is.
Three Little Maids rehearsal
Three Little Maids full performance

Orlando.

Hester

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I'm looking forward to eventually seeing this film.

G&S is the only type of "opera" that I like.  Well, that and the Threepenny one!  ;)
"Ta, darling!  I'll bring it back when I'm finished with it!
(If I'm not too drunk to remember where I got it.)

DeseretRose

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I really need to see that film.  The Mikado was one of my favorites growing up...my family had an old record of a performance which had Groucho Marx as the Lord High Executioner, and Tallulah Bankhead as Katishaw.

Orlando

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I really need to see that film.  The Mikado was one of my favorites growing up...my family had an old record of a performance which had Groucho Marx as the Lord High Executioner, and Tallulah Bankhead as Katishaw.

Really!
Oh yeah... I can imagine that - here he is singing Lydia the Tattooed Lady.  I've always loved the Marx Brothers.

I don't know how it is over your side of the Atlantic but when Topsy-Turvy was shown on TV here, my ever vigilant TV guide described it, "Contains scenes of alcohol and drug abuse, nudity, and sex. Suitable for age 12 and above." ::)

Orlando.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2008, 04:14:56 am by Orlando »

DeseretRose

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Really!
Oh yeah... I can imagine that - here he is singing Lydia the Tattooed Lady.  I've always loved the Marx Brothers.

I don't know how it is over your side of the Atlantic but when Topsy-Turvy was shown on TV here, my ever vigilant TV guide described it, "Contains scenes of alcohol and drug abuse, nudity, and sex. Suitable for age 12 and above." ::)

Orlando.

Hehehe...I used to sing that when I had prep work I had to do before lunch shifts.  It amused the cooks with better English, and confused the other little waitresses ;)

Suitable for age 12?!  Topsy-Turvy's rated what, R?  That would mean that here you'd have to be 18 to see it in the theatre, and it would either be edited or put on a cable movie channel on TV.

Orlando

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Suitable for age 12?!  Topsy-Turvy's rated what, R?  That would mean that here you'd have to be 18 to see it in the theatre, and it would either be edited or put on a cable movie channel on TV.

I've had a very quick look at the Motion picture rating system and I'm not sure if you can really compare countries, as I think each country decides for itself what certificate to issue (something considered acceptable one place might be regarded as more difficult somewhere else).

The '12' certificate on Topsy-Turvy is stamped on the DVD box and there really isn't anything terribly offensive in it, but when it was broadcast on TV and described using that politically correct language, they made it sound like it was full of filth and debauchery! And then it said "suitable for 12 years and older" which seemed like an ironic statement on the times we live in.

Re: Groucho - Once or twice I've made an entrance and started singing "Hello, I must be going" - that's on YouTube somewhere as well.

Most of the film Topsy-Turvy is the background story and preparations to the stage production, and a look into the lives of the people involved.  It could well be how things actually were.  The film's run-time is about 2½ hours and it's a real good movie to watch on a cold winter's night (you maybe don't get those so much in Shaky Town) with a real fire going and a nice glass of something.

Orlando.

Katlyntje

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I would absolutely love to see this film! I'm a member of the local Gilbert and Sullivan society, though I haven't been on stage or backstage for the last two years due to having a baby. My husband was actually recently elected as President of the sociey and we, toddler included, hope to all be onstage for next year's production of The Pirates of Penzance. The Mikado isn't one of my favorites but at least I do know the story since I was running crew durring our last production :)

After mentioning it to my husband he's agreed to see about buying it  ;D
Hail, Poetry, thou heav’n-born maid!
Thou gildest e’en the pirate’s trade.
Hail, flowing fount of sentiment!
All hail! All hail! Divine emollient!    from Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance

Orlando

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After mentioning it to my husband he's agreed to see about buying it  ;D

Welcome to BrassGoggles!

I can absolutely guarantee you won't be disappointed with the film.

When I was a teenager (many years ago), I was playing an album by Linda Lewis and my Dad remarked that what I was listening to, was not quite as bad the stuff he usually heard me playing.  He said that one of the songs was obviously based on Yum-Yum's song "The sun whose rays are all ablaze" (lyrics).

Here is that song from Topsy-Turvy - it's obviously a Shirley Henderson fan vid - in part, it shows her character Leonora Braham (not) struggling with her drinking problem.

And here is the  song my Dad commented on: Linda Lewis - The Moon and I.  (Linda Lewis has a five-octave vocal range!)

Orlando.

Luella Dobson

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sounds like a good film! thanks for the suggestion.
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