Oscar Movies: Mikado, The (1939)–Musical from Victor Schertzinger

This Technicolor adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic operetta The Mikado itries to be faithful to a performance of Britain’s D’Oyly Carte opera company.

Tenor Kenny Baker stars as Nanki-Poo, the minstrel who wanders into a curious set of situations in the Japanese village of Titi-Pu.

D’Oyly Carte Martyn Green plays the leading role of Ko-Ko, the timorous Lord High Executioner who must perform one execution per day or he’ll lose his own head.

Ko-Ko finds a likely candidate for decapitation in the form of Nanki-Poo, who feels mighty suicidal when it seems as though his sweetheart Yum-Yum (Jean Cola) is out of his reach. Unbeknownst to Ko-Ko, Nanki-Poo is the son of The Mikado, played with a combination of pomp, circumstance and Noel Cowardlike waspishness by Sydney Granville.

Most of the satirical Gilbert & Sullivan songs are included, “The Lord High Executioner,” “Three Little Maids from School are We” “Tit Willow,” “Here’s a How-de-Do,” and “The Object Most Sublime.”

With the London Symphony Orchestra.

Oscar Nominations: 1

Cinematography (Color): William V. Skall and Bernard Knowles


Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

The winners were Ernest Haller and Ray Rennahan for Gone With the Wind.




Running time: 90 minutes.


Directed by Victor Schertzinger


In Theaters: Jan 1, 1939 Wide

On DVD: Dec 29, 1998