The Mikado (1967 film)

The Mikado is a 1967 British musical film adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan's 1885 comic opera of the same name. The film was directed by Stuart Burge and was a slightly edited adaptation of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company's production of The Mikado and used all D'Oyly Carte singers.

The Mikado
Promotional poster featuring
Valerie Masterson as Yum-Yum
Directed byStuart Burge
Based onThe Mikado
by W.S. Gilbert
Arthur Sullivan
Produced byJohn Brabourne
Anthony Havelock-Allan
Richard B. Goodwin
StarringValerie Masterson
John Reed
Kenneth Sandford
Donald Adams
Philip Potter
CinematographyGerry Fisher
Edited byAlma Godfrey
Music byArthur Sullivan
BHE Films
Distributed byWarner Bros.
(United States)
Release date
  • 15 March 1967 (1967-03-15) (United States)
Running time
122 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom


Source: British Film Institute.[1]


The 1966 production of The Mikado by the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company was adapted by the director Stuart Burge, who had previously adapted films based on such theatre productions as Uncle Vanya (1963) and Laurence Olivier's National Theatre version of Othello (1965). The direction of the film closely reflects the D'Oyly Carte staging of the time by Anthony Besch, although there are some cuts.[2]

The Mikado was filmed at the Golders Green Hippodrome on enlarged stage sets in the same way that Burge had filmed Othello. It starred John Reed, Kenneth Sandford, Valerie Masterson, Philip Potter, Donald Adams, Christene Palmer and Peggy Ann Jones in their usual roles with D'Oyly Carte, and used the D'Oyly Carte chorus. The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra was conducted by D'Oyly Carte's longstanding conductor, Isidore Godfrey. Set design and decoration were by Disley Jones and Peter Howitt.[1] With one exception the costumes were by Charles Ricketts, first seen in D'Oyly Carte stage productions in 1926 and retained by subsequent D'Oyly Carte designers.[3] The first of Nanki-Poo's two costumes was by Jones.[4]


The Mikado was released in the United States on 15 March 1967.[5] The British premiere was at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, on 17 July 1967.[6] The film has been released on DVD in Britain and the US.[7]


In The Illustrated London News Alan Dent commented that the film confirmed his growing view that opera – particularly comic opera – could not be satisfactorily filmed: "I miss the theatre, the laughter … the interruptions of applause, even the encores".[8] The New York Times criticised the filming technique and the orchestra and noted, "Knowing how fine this cast can be in its proper medium, one regrets the impression this Mikado will make on those not fortunate enough to have watched the company in the flesh. The cameras have captured everything about the company's acting except its magic."[9] A reviewer of the video commented in 2009, "the performance is extremely flat. One senses that the cast, lacking a live audience to interact with, are merely going through the motions."[2] In 2017 the BBC's reviewer in a comparative survey of all available recordings of The Mikado chose the DVD of the 1966 film in preference to all other recordings except for Sir Charles Mackerras's 1992 CD version, calling the D'Oyly Carte set "a tribute to a fine theatrical tradition caught at its most appealing".[10]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "The Mikado (1966)", British Film Institute, accessed 28 May 2018
  2. ^ a b Shepherd, Marc. "The 1966 D'Oyly Carte Mikado Film", the Gilbert and Sullivan Discography, 15 April 2009, accessed 16 July 2014
  3. ^ Bradley, pp. 38–39; and "Peter Goffin", The Studio, Volume 62, 1961, pp. 16–19
  4. ^ Bettany, p. 16
  5. ^ "The Mikado (1967)", Internet Movie Database, accessed 28 May 2018
  6. ^ "Queen Elizabeth Hall", The Times, 8 July 1967, p. 6
  7. ^ "The Mikado", WorldCat, accessed 28 May 2018
  8. ^ Dent, Alan. "Films and Filming", The Illustrated London News 5 August 1967, p. 34
  9. ^ Sullivan, Dan. "Screen: An Awkward Movie Mikado; Copy of Staged Classic Doesn't Work Out", The New York Times, 15 March 1967, p. 53, accessed 28 May 2018 (subscription required)
  10. ^ Lenton, Sarah. "Building a Library: The Mikado by Sir Arthur Sullivan", BBC, 27 May 2017, at 40m 20s into podcast (downloadable in UK only)


  • Bettany, Clemence (1975). The D'Oyly Carte Centenary Book. London: D'Oyly Carte Opera Company. OCLC 910206945.
  • Bradley, Ian (2005). Oh Joy! Oh Rapture! The Enduring Phenomenon of Gilbert and Sullivan. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-516700-9.

External linksEdit