The Mikado (1939 film)

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The Mikado
Criterion Mikado Cover.jpg
Cover art for the Criterion release
Directed by Victor Schertzinger
Produced by Geoffrey Toye
Written by W.S. Gilbert
Based on The Mikado
by W.S. Gilbert
Arthur Sullivan
Starring Kenny Baker
Martyn Green
Sydney Granville
John Barclay
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Cinematography William V. Skall
Edited by Philip Charlot
Gene Milford
Distributed by General Film Distributors LTD
United States:
Universal Pictures
Release date
  • 12 January 1939 (1939-01-12) (London premiere)
  • 1 May 1939 (1939-05-01) (US)
Running time
90 minutes[1]
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The Mikado is a 1939 British musical comedy film based on Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera of the same name. Shot in Technicolor, the film stars Martyn Green as Ko-Ko, Sydney Granville as Pooh-Bah, the American singer Kenny Baker as Nanki-Poo, and Jean Colin as Yum-Yum. Many of the other leads and choristers were or had been members of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company.[2]



The music was conducted by Geoffrey Toye, a former D'Oyly Carte music director, who was also the producer and was credited with the adaptation, which involved a number of cuts, additions and re-ordered scenes. Victor Schertzinger directed, and William V. Skall received an Academy Award nomination for Best Cinematography.[3][4] Art direction and costume designs were by Marcel Vertès.[5] The orchestra (and the musicians depicted in the film) consisted of 40 members of the London Symphony Orchestra.[2]


The Mikado premiered in London on 12 January 1939 before opening in the United States on 1 May. A decade later, on 23 July 1949, the film was re-released in New York City.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "THE MIKADO (U)". General Film Distributors. British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Lejeune, C. A. "Films of the Week: Gentlemen of Japan", The Observer, 3 July 1938, p. 14. Barclay had played the title role in America with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, Stroud had played Pish-Tush in Australia with D'Oyly Carte, and Paynter had performed Pitti-Sing and the other Jessie Bond roles for five years with D'Oyly Carte touring companies under the name Elisabeth Nickel-Lean. Nearly all of the chorus were current or former performers with D'Oyly Carte.
  3. ^ Cinegram of the 1939 Mikado film containing photos, cast biographies and other information
  4. ^ Shepherd, Marc. "The Technicolor Mikado Film (1939)", A Gilbert and Sullivan Discography (2001), accessed 12 August 2012
  5. ^ Galbraith IV, Stuart. "The Mikado (Blu-ray)". DVDTalk, 27 March 2011

External links[edit]