16 January 2005 | bbhlthph
Gilbert and Sullivan still have a strong and legitimate appeal
History records that Gilbert and Sullivan were personally often at odds when producing their great comic operettas - no doubt that, if they are still monitoring this, they are surprised to find both their humour and their music - despite its limitations in both time and location - still has a great appeal to audiences throughout much of the world. The music of course is timeless, but music too evolves and many people today have no appreciation of the types of lyrics which G & S exploited so shamelessly. Perhaps the remarkable thing is the wide and continuing appeal of so many of their works. This film is a movie version of a 100th anniversary Broadway stage production of this operetta in New York. A review of previous comments show, not unexpectedly, that it has been adored by numerous G. & S. fans; but that its appeal to those who are not in this category is much more limited. They also make it clear that this is a very fine production; and it would be a serious omission if I did not re-emphasise it is almost a classical example of the way in which a major stage production should be presented on film, both to retain the best of the original production and to as fully as possible exploit the more fluid form of presentation that is possible on the screen.
To your reviewer who reports fears about wearing out her taped version, I would recommend doing what I have done and converting this to a VCD disk that she can play, almost for ever, on her DVD player. It is, I believe, a great film; and my wife and I have also viewed it repeatedly whenever we have been a little "blue", we never fail to feel cheered up afterwards. However we recognise that most members of the contemporary generation would not respond in this way, and that our appreciation will not even be understood by them. We remain thankful that minority tastes can still be satisfied without infringing on the perogatives of the majority, and that in the process of doing so the film will be seen by many who initially have little sympathy with the production, but who find that - as with so many of us in the older generation - they have come to appreciate both its music and its humour.