Synopsis: After their production "Princess Ida" meets with less-than-stunning reviews, the relationship between Gilbert and Sullivan is strained to breaking. Their friends and associates attempt to get the two to work together again, which opens the way to "The Mikado," one of the duo's greatest successes.
Director(s): Mike Leigh
Production: October Films
  Won 2 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 27 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
154 min

One, two. Two, two.

I deliver perfection... | and don't brag about it! :D

# So please you, sir, we much regret

# If we have failed in etiquette

# Towards a man of rank so high

# We shall know better by and by

# But youth, of course, must have its fling

# So pardon us, so pardon us

# And don't in girlhood's happy spring

# Be hard on us, be hard on us

# If we're inclined to dance and sing

# Tralalalala

# But youth, of course, must have its fling

# So pardon us

# And don't in girlhood's happy spring

# Be hard on us

# But youth, of course, must have its fling

# So pardon us

# Tralalala la la la

# Tralalala la la

# Tralalala la la

# Tra lalalalalala

# Tralalalalalala la!

- Sir Arthur, what are you doing? | - Going to the theatre.

- No, it is not possible. | - I have no choice!

- You must get back... | - Louis!

- D'accord.

- Louis! "Schnell", please! | - Don't move.

Clothilde, encore du caf. Vite.

Sir Arthur, la tasse, s'il vous plat.

- Merci.

Nicht so schnell.

Louis, ich muss das allein tun.

I'll be fine. Now go and fetch the cab.

- Canton. | - Good evening, sir.


- Arthur, is this wise? | - No, it's foolish.

- Do you intend to go on? | - Yes, Helen. I've never missed one yet.

I'll let everybody know.

- Here, take a drink. | - Thank you.

Oh, that's better, Frank.

- Your gloves, sir. | - Very good, Louis.

This "is" a surprise, sir.

# As up we string the faithless king

# In the old familiar way

# We'll shout ha ha! Hip hip hurrah!

# Hip hip hip hip hurrah!

# As we make an end of her false papa!

# Hurrah! Hurrah!

- Permission, Mr Cook. | - Permission, Shrimp.


Five minutes, Mr Grossmith.

# If you give me your attention | I will tell you what I am

# I'm a genuine philanthropist

# All other kinds are sham

# Each little fault of temper

# And each social defect

# In my erring fellow creatures

# I endeavour to correct

# To all their little weaknesses

# I open people's eyes

# And little plans to snub | the self-sufficient I devise

# I love my fellow creatures

# I do all the good I can

# Yet everybody says | I'm such a disagreeable man

# And I can't think why

# I'm sure I'm no ascetic

# I'm as pleasant as can be

# You'll always find me ready | with a crushing repartee

# I've an irritating chuckle, | I've a celebrated sneer

# I've an entertaining snigger

# I've a fascinating leer

# To everybody's prejudice | I know a thing or two

# I can tell a woman's age | in half a minute - and I do

# But although I try to make myself

# As pleasant as I can

# Yet everybody says | I am a disagreeable man

# And I can't think why

# He can't think why

# I can't think

# Why

- Bonsoir.

- Merci.

What do you expect me to do? | Kiss the carpenters?


Let's get him up.

Come on, sir.

Arthur, take some brandy.

What happened? What happened?!

Is Doctor Lynch in the house?

Listen to this! Today's "Times".

"'Princess Ida' will | probably run for a year...

...keeping the Savoy treasury | agreeably replete all the while."

"All London will flock to hear it."

"So will our provincial, | American and continental visitors."

"Copies of its words and music | will be sold by tens of thousands."

"Everybody connected with it will have | a good time for at least twelve months."

"So mote it be."

- How splendid, Willie! | - Sugared words, Lucy.


"The opera is above the level of all | other entertainments before the public."

"Still, I cannot pronounce it | to be in any way... improvement upon its predecessors."

"To me, words and music alike reveal...

...symptoms of fatigue in their | respective composer and author."

"Arthur Sullivan cannot write | other than in pleasing manner...

...but several numbers in 'Princess Ida' | lack the freshness and spontaneity...

...of 'The Pirates of Penzance', | 'Patience, lolanthe'...

...or 'The Sorcerer', his best operatic work."

Oh! Is it?

"Or 'HMS Pinafore', the most popular."

"WS Gilbert abundantly proves | he is still the legitimate monarch...

...of the realm of Topsy-Turvydom."

Thank you very much(!)

"But his incongruities are more | elaborately worked up than of yore...

...and therefore less funny."

"Moreover, the story is a dull one!"

- Burn it, Pidgeon! | - Sir.


Your kidneys are getting cold!

The show's doing splendidly. | Full houses and a healthy advance.

- Capital. | - Three tours on the road.

Pirates, Patience and lolanthe.

- Merveilleux.

New York can't wait for "Ida".

Ah, New York. How splendid.

- Helen has us booked up to year's end. | - Tireless as ever.

All part of my day's work.

- Tea, Miss Lenoir? | - No, thank you, Louis.

Very well.

I hope your confinement | hasn't made you restless.

How have you been passing the time?

I've made some resolutions, Helen.

- A little late in the new year, perhaps. | - Better late than never.

May we know what they are, Arthur?

Why not?


To travel to the Continent | as soon as my health permits.

- Very wise. | - I think so.


To look for a country house | where I may repair each summer...

...without having to cross the Channel.

- Three. To take more exercise. | - Excellent, Arthur. About time, too.

A leaf out of your book, D'Oyly. | I must walk more.

And is there a number four?


To write no more operas for the Savoy.

- And what is number five? | - To fly to the moon in his bed socks!

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Mike Leigh

Mike Leigh (born 20 February 1943) is an English writer and director of film and theatre. He studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) before honing his directing skills at East 15 Acting School and further at the Camberwell School of Art and the Central School of Art and Design. He began as a theatre director and playwright in the mid-1960s. In the 1970s and 1980s his career moved between theatre work and making films for BBC Television, many of which were characterised by a gritty "kitchen sink realism" style. His well-known films include the comedy-dramas Life is Sweet (1990) and Career Girls (1997), the Gilbert and Sullivan biographical film Topsy-Turvy (1999), and the bleak working-class drama All or Nothing (2002). His most notable works are the black comedy-drama Naked (1993), for which he won the Best Director Award at Cannes, the Oscar-nominated, BAFTA and Palme d'Or-winning drama Secrets & Lies (1996), the Golden Lion winning working-class drama Vera Drake (2004), and the Palme d'Or nominated biopic Mr. Turner (2014). Some of his notable stage plays include Smelling A Rat, It's A Great Big Shame, Greek Tragedy, Goose-Pimples, Ecstasy, and Abigail's Party.Leigh is known for his lengthy rehearsal and improvisation techniques with actors to build characters and narrative for his films. His purpose is to capture reality and present "emotional, subjective, intuitive, instinctive, vulnerable films." His aesthetic has been compared to the sensibility of the Japanese director Yasujirō Ozu. His films and stage plays, according to critic Michael Coveney, "comprise a distinctive, homogenous body of work which stands comparison with anyone's in the British theatre and cinema over the same period." Coveney further noted Leigh's role in helping to create stars – Liz Smith in Hard Labour, Alison Steadman in Abigail's Party, Brenda Blethyn in Grown-Ups, Antony Sher in Goose-Pimples, Gary Oldman and Tim Roth in Meantime, Jane Horrocks in Life is Sweet, David Thewlis in Naked—and remarked that the list of actors who have worked with him over the years—including Paul Jesson, Phil Daniels, Lindsay Duncan, Lesley Sharp, Kathy Burke, Stephen Rea, Julie Walters – "comprises an impressive, almost representative, nucleus of outstanding British acting talent." Ian Buruma, writing in The New York Review of Books in January 1994, noted: "It is hard to get on a London bus or listen to the people at the next table in a cafeteria without thinking of Mike Leigh. Like other wholly original artists, he has staked out his own territory. Leigh's London is as distinctive as Fellini's Rome or Ozu's Tokyo." more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Topsy-Turvy" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 23 Jun 2024. <>.

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