"The Mikado" is arguably Gilbert and Sullivan's greatest work. Shortly after its production, the two men reportedly fought over the price of a new carpet for their Savoy Theatre, and the rest of their output never approached the standards of their earlier operettas. "The Mikado" is one of
the most entertaining musicals ever, but this film version doesn't make it. The setting is long-ago Japan, and the most powerful person in all the land is the Mikado (Adams), who rules with iron chopsticks. His son, Potter, flees to avoid marrying Palmer, the ugly older woman to whom he has been
betrothed. Traveling the country as a minstrel, he arrives in Titipu where he falls in love with Masterson, who is to marry Lord High Executioner Reed. Because Adams has decreed that at least one execution must take place every month, Potter volunteers to be the next victim, provided he be allowed
to marry Masterson and thereby enjoy one month of bliss. Ah, but there's a catch: the law states a man's wife must be buried next to him if he is executed. However, Sanford (the Grand Poo-Bah) forges a death certificate, which suffices until Adams learns his son has been killed. Everything is put
right at the end, though, and true love triumphs over tradition. The only stars in THE MIKADO are the plot and the songs, which include "The Mikado," "Three Little Maids from School," "I've Got a Little List," "O Willow, Titwillow," "For He's Gone and Married Yum-Yum!" "A Wand'ring Minstrel, I,"
"The Mighty Troops of Titipu," "Behold the Lord High Executioner," "I Would Kiss You Fondly Thus," "A Short Chop-Chop on a Big Black Block," "Here's a How-do-doo," "The Emperor of Japan and His Daughter-in-Law Elect," "Let the Punishment Fit the Crime (His Object All Sublime)," "The Flowers That
Bloom in the Spring," and several unnamed arias.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: "The Mikado" is arguably Gilbert and Sullivan's greatest work. Shortly after its production, the two men reportedly fought over the price of a new carpet for their Savoy Theatre, and the rest of their output never approached the standards of their earlier… (more)