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FULL SYNOPSIS

Noted for intimate character studies created in collaboration with his actors, director Mike Leigh makes a dramatic change of pace with this biography of comic opera composers W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan. Gilbert (Jim Broadbent) is an easily angered but otherwise emotionally remote lyricist who works in collaboration with composer Sullivan (Alan Corduner), a genial and fun-loving sort who feels unsatisfied writing light operettas and longs to work with more serious material. While Sullivan is having a creative crisis, Gilbert is facing a failing marriage to Lucy (Lesley Manville), who loves her husband even if he can't return her affections, and must deal with his ailing father (Charles Simon). When they suffer their first failure, both men are depressed, and Sullivan announces that he's giving up operetta for good. However, a visit to an exhibit of Japanese art sparks an idea in Gilbert, and soon he and Sullivan are hard at work on what will become one of their greatest successes, The Mikado. Much of the film is devoted to the staging of this classic, with Shirley Henderson, Dorothy Atkinson, Martin Savage, Timothy Spall, and Kevin McKidd as members of the operetta's cast. Jim Broadbent won Best Actor at the 1999 Venice Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

  • Release date:October 7, 1983

Awards

Awarded by
Nominee
Category
Year
Status
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Lindy Hemming Best Costume Design 1999 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Trefor Proud Best Makeup 1999 Winner
Venice International Film Festival Jim Broadbent Volpi Cup for Best Actor 1999 Winner
National Society of Film Critics Jim Broadbent Best Actor - Runner-up 1999 Winner
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Jim Broadbent Best Actor 1999 Nominee
National Society of Film Critics Mike Leigh Best Director 1999 Winner
New York Film Critics Circle Mike Leigh Best Director 1999 Winner
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Mike Leigh Best Original Screenplay 1999 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Mike Leigh Best Original Screenplay 1999 Nominee
Independent Spirit Awards Mike Leigh Best Foreign Film 1999 Nominee
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Timothy Spall Best Supporting Actor 1999 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences John Bush Best Art Direction 1999 Nominee
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Christine Blundell Best Makeup and Hair 1999 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Christine Blundell Best Makeup 1999 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Eve Stewart Best Art Direction 1999 Nominee

Cast

Jim Broadbent
as W.S.Gilbert
Alan Corduner
as Arthur Sullivan
Lesley Manville
as Lucy Gilbert
Eleanor David
as Fanny Ronalds
Ron Cook
as Richard D'Oyly Carte
Timothy Spall
as Richard Temple
Kevin McKidd
as Lely
Martin Savage
as Grossmith
Shirley Henderson
as Leonora Braham
Wendy Nottingham
as Helen Lenoir
Jonathan Aris
as Wilhelm
Dorothy Atkinson
Ashley Jensen
as Miss Tringham

Crew

Mike Leigh
Director
Simon Channing-Williams
Producer
Mike Leigh
Screenwriter
Dick Pope
Cinematographer
Gary Yershon
Musical Direction/Supervision
Robin Sales
Editor
Eve Stewart
Production Designer
John Bush
Art Director
Georgina Lowe
Associate Producer
Lindy Hemming
Costume Designer
Nick Heckstall-Smith
First Assistant Director
Francesca Jaynes
Choreography
Nina Gold
Casting
Tim Fraser
Sound Recordist
Christine Blundell
Hair Styles
Christine Blundell
Makeup
Trefor Proud
Makeup
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