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I love “Topsy-Turvey” for a number of reasons, including that it puts a finger up to Gilbert and Sullivan snobs, which is probably why Mike Leigh made it.

But the real reasons are that it made me realize why the monacle exists (it is the 19th century version of the bifocal / progressive lens (ghod I hate the day my optometrist said I might need one) – it allowed him to read the score while he was conducting the bloody orchestra).

This movie is about the making of “The Mikado” by Gilbert and Sullivan, who being the Victorian gentlemen thinks they are, are anything but.

This is a ripping good adventure about creativity and steam powered vapours about making the new.

Gilbert and Sullivan struggle mightily to produce “The Mikado”. Manfully with whores and opium and good Victorian virtue.

In short, sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Plus kung fu — or what ever they call it in Japan.

You can also have fun running “Topsy-Turvey” in a double-feature with “Moulin Rouge“, both featuring Jim Broadbent in the glamorous world of show business.

and mis-placed type-sets by evil little monkeys. And of course I tried to introduce Asa Briggs’ “Victorian People”, and now I look at the index, Gilbert and Sullivan aren’t even listed.

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About Jim Carruthers

  • The Dude

    S,D,R&R is right on, Jim. “Topsy-Turvey” is such a great movie; at times I wish Mike Leigh filmed his complete version of “The Mikado” — that would be a sight to see…
    I even heard that most of the dialogue on the film is improvised (like all of Leigh’s films). Is this true?

  • Don’t know, because there’s no commentary on the disc. What would be cool would be to mix a commentary with “Life Is Sweet” with “Topsy-Turvey”.