Topsy-Turvy (1999)

R   |    |  Biography, Comedy, Drama


Topsy-Turvy (1999) Poster

Set in the 1880s, the story of how, during a creative dry spell, the partnership of the legendary musical/theatrical writers Gilbert and Sullivan almost dissolves, before they turn it all around and write the Mikado.


7.3/10
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  • Shirley Henderson in Topsy-Turvy (1999)
  • Allan Corduner in Topsy-Turvy (1999)
  • Allan Corduner in Topsy-Turvy (1999)
  • Timothy Spall and Mike Leigh in Topsy-Turvy (1999)
  • Jim Broadbent and Allan Corduner in Topsy-Turvy (1999)
  • Timothy Spall in Topsy-Turvy (1999)

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20 February 2000 | Fab4Fan
10
| A Sumptuous Cinematic Treat
TOPSY-TURVY, director Leigh's spectacularly entertaining look at the lives and times of the nineteenth-century British duo that gave the world such musical treasures as The Pirates of Penzance and HMS Pinafore. Leigh's film finds G & S in 1884 at a creative impasse following the disappointing reception of their new flop operetta, Princess Ida. Sullivan (Allan Corduner), tired of writing music for the increasingly trite and repetitive librettos of Gilbert (Jim Broadbent), wants to give up their lucrative partnership and write "serious" grand opera. But when an exhibition of Japanese art and culture travelling through London inspires Gilbert to begin writing The Mikado, both men see the opportunity to create something unique and extraordinary. Praise for this stunning film must extend from top to bottom, beginning to end. The music, of course, is wonderful and ever present. The costumes, sets and cinematography are exemplary in their attention to atmosphere and detail. Leigh's script and direction not only bring the period to life, but make it crackle with drama, wit, and social comment. And the performances are fabulous, notably the magnificent Broadbent as mercurial Gilbert; Corduner, warm and charming as the more sweet-natured Sullivan; and Leigh regular Timothy Spall (SECRETS & LIES) as a veteran actor fearful that his big number may be cut. This is quite simply one of the most vastly entertaining, joyous and fascinating films ever made about the creative process. I actually saw it twice within a three-day period and wasn't bored for one second of either viewing!

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