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Tricia's retro film review: The Mikado

The Mikado, by Gilbert and Sullivan


The Mikado is the 1939 adaptation of the Gilbert and Sullivan opera. Nanki-poo has ran away from his home because the Mikado has arranged a marriage with Katisha. He falls in love with Yum Yum, who is engaged to Ko-Ko. When the city decides to execute a person in order not to be downgraded to a village, they choose Nanki-poo. He agrees to do this if he can be wed to Yum Yum. They agree and the plan goes smoothly, until the Mikado comes to town. How will it all end?

It’s a pretty good operetta. It’s also frustrating because it almost gets its research right. Although the clothing is mostly accurate, the names are not actual Japanese names. The writing looks more like random scribbling than Kanji. It’s too bad, because the story is pretty funny and could actually work in a Japanese setting. The opera singers are really good and can sing fast while still being comprehensible. The songs do outweigh the speaking scenes. Despite the shoddy research, Honolulu film fans should watch this movie.

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