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There is no reason why Gilbert and Sullivan can't be put on the screen successfully. It has wit as well as slapstick, there are always love scenes and plenty of dancing, and everybody knows the music. But the D'Oyly Carte Company, which has set the standards for G & S stage productions since the beginning of time, has not managed to create the proper flavor in its film version of "The Mikado."
For one thing, the soundtrack of the movie, which has been making the rounds for about 10 years, is not what it ought to be, or even what it once was. For another thing, the technicolor, which is supposed to evoke the fairy tale atmosphere of faraway Japan, only makes the picture look like a collection of colored postcards. And Kenny Baker plays Nanki-Poo, the wandering minstrell, as if he were an Irish Tenor. Apparently some one forgot to tell him that he was not singing for Jack Benny.
There are some redeeming features. The text and action of "The Mikado" can't help being funny, no matter who produces it; and Martyn Green is incomparable with his crawling, bowing, climbing, and dancing.
D'Oyly Carte has not achieved "the object all sublime" in this movie. But for devoted Savoyards, the show at the Kenmore provides "a source of innocent merriment, of innocent merriment."
The other half of the bill, "Tight Little Island," is excellent humor.
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