A handful of British comedians present the worst treatment of Gilbert and Sullivan in history, with cramped sets, cheap-looking and out of place archive footage and sloppy photography.
It’s staged like a school play as the cast desperately try not to trip over each other.
The movie shoehorns in half a dozen songs from the original operetta, with lyrics completely unchanged to match the movie’s situations, so “We are gentlemen of Japan” is sung by a group of British soldiers milling around the cramped studio set and Ko-Ko is suddenly referred to as “the Executioner” so that they can sing “Behold the lord high executioner” for no apparent reason.
Tommy Cooper has the worst of the material and mugs embarrassingly, while Frankie Howerd clearly didn’t want to be there. Howerd would later comment; “Not only was it the worst film ever made, but it was the one production in show-business that I’m positively ashamed to have appeared in.”
One of the great nightmares of British cinema.
Judge Herbert Mikado/Charlie Hotfleisch
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Jill Mai Meredith
Man in Boudoir
C. Denier Warren