''Topsy-Turvy'' is a 1999 film written and directed by Creator/MikeLeigh that focuses on the partnership of Creator/GilbertAndSullivan when they reach a crossroads in their career.

After earning disappointing reviews for ''Theatre/PrincessIda'', Sir Arthur Sullivan (Allan Corduner) decides to unilaterally dissolve his partnership with William Gilbert (JimBroadbent) creating comic operas for the Savoy Theatre. To get his mind off his troubles, Gilbert's wife, Kitty, drags him to the Japanese Village in Knightsbridge and he is inspired to write ''Theatre/TheMikado''. What follows is a comprehensive story of how the play was developed such as how it was written, how Sullivan prepared the music and the singing and how Gilbert dealt with the choreography, costuming and dealing with actors and their occasional moments of temperament.

''Topsy-Turvy'' was nominated for four UsefulNotes/{{Academy Award}}s and won for Best Costume Design and Makeup.
!!Tropes Associated With This Work:
* AvoidTheDreadedGRating: The film's "R" rating apparently comes from just one gratuitous scene with some [[{{Fanservice}} topless burlesque dancers]]; there's hardly any other offensive content at all.
* BadBadActing: During rehearsals, the script supervisor Seymour fills in for two actors who are absent that day. His performance is ribbed by Gilbert and the remaining actors.
* {{Bowdlerize}}: The film omits the third stanza of the Mikado's solo. This may be partly for time considerations, but also probably has something to do with the fact that the verse as originally performed contains an [[NWordPrivileges N-word reference]], which was eventually expunged in 1940.
* CloudCuckooLander: Mr D'Auban, the choreographer.
* ComedyGhetto: In universe. Sullivan's motive for wanting to move away from comic operas to more serious fare, such as symphonies.
* CreativeDifferences: In-universe. This is the essential problem for Gilbert and Sullivan with the latter tired with the fantasy musical comedies Gilbert keeps writing, while Gilbert doesn't see what the problem is with his creations.
* CostumeDrama
* DeathGlare: Katisha gives a particularly terrifying one to the crowd during the Miya-sama scene.
* DepravedDentist: A dentist pulls one of Gilbert's teeth apparently without anesthetic. To make matters worse, though, the dentist then goes on to remark that ''Theatre/PrincessIda'' is "too long"-- a point Gilbert is sore about -- while Gilbert has his mouth forced closed so he's unable to respond!
* DoubleEntendre:
-->'''Barker''': I'm going out for some Italian hokey-pokey and I care not who knows it.[[note]]It's a very hot day and he means that he's going to get some ice cream.[[/note]]
* DrugsAreBad: We see George Grossmith hiding in his dressing room to use morphine before the first performance.
* EurekaMoment: Gilbert is inspired to write ''The Mikado'' when a mounted samurai sword falls off his wall.
* EyeTwitch: The Mikado, when being upstaged by his daughter-in-law elect.
* GilliganCut: Gilbert says he would not visit the Japanese exhibition, "not for all the tea in China". The next scene is of him and Kitty wandering around it.
** In a previous scene, Gilbert says "I would rather go to a Turkish bath with my grandmother than go to the blasted dentist." His wife nods. Cut to Gilbert in the dentist's chair.
* GirlFriday: Helen Lenoir to Richard D'Oyly Carte. [[note]]When D'Oyly Carte's wife died, he and Helen were married. She took over the running of the opera company, while he concentrated on the Savoy Hotel.[[/note]]
* HehHehYouSaidX: Sullivan chuckles when Gilbert reads the play's subtitle, "The Town of Titipu." (Of course, knowing Gilbert, that's probably quite intentional GettingCrapPastTheRadar.)
* LastNameBasis: By the time of the film, Gilbert and Sullivan have worked together for thirteen years but still refer to each other by their surnames (this was [[TruthInTelevision normal]] in Victorian Britain).
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters
* OnlySaneMan: D'Oyly Carte, in managing his business, has to contend with both reluctant Sullivan and stubborn Gilbert, as well as all the actors employed in their operettas.
* OohMeAccentsSlipping: In-universe. Actor Durward Lely is a Scotsman who affects a posh Southern English accent on stage and in most of his public dealings. Except when angered.
* PottyEmergency: Two actors get food poisoning from bad oysters and feel the effects during separate meetings with the owner of the Savoy Theatre.
* ThePrimaDonna: While many of the senior members of the acting troupe have prima donna tendencies, the worst offender is the troupe's choreographer, Mr D'Auban.
* SexlessMarriage: William and Kitty Gilbert is portrayed as sexless and rather strained, particularly as she wants children and he's not prepared to have any. It's questionable how much of this was true in real life, where the Gilberts were reportedly a doting couple. By contrast, Sullivan and his lover, Fanny Ronalds, are highly sexual as well as affectionate, and arrange an abortion when she accidentally falls pregnant.
* ScifiGhetto: Sullivan was also tired of the fantasy plot devices Gilbert used in his stories and wanted something more "probable."
* ShowWithinAShow : Type 1, the production of the Mikado
* ShownTheirWork:
** Some of the characters reminisce about their past roles or sing parts of solos from other shows. Yes, in real life, those characters did indeed originate those roles.
** Quoth Website/{{IMDb}}, "Most modern recordings and performances of the Mikado's solo, 'A More Humane Mikado' feature a bloodthirsty laugh between the verses. This touch was added by Darrel Fancourt, a D'Oyly Carte performer from 1920-1953, and has been copied ever since - which is why the laugh is not performed by Richard Temple (Creator/TimothySpall)."
* ShoutOut: Gilbert complains that Sullivan wants to write a serious opera about "a prostitute dying of consumption in a garret," an obvious nod to Verdi's ''Theatre/LaTraviata''.
** Gilbert also drops quotes from Shakespeare into his conversation, as he was known to do.
* SophisticatedAsHell:
--> '''Temple''': One should be rewarded on one's merits, not on one's ability to ingratiate oneself with the management, particularly when the management have difficulty in locating the relative whereabouts of the arse and the elbow.
* TheShowMustGoOn: Despite painful kidney disease, Sullivan rouses himself out of bed to conduct the orchestra on ''Princess Ida'''s opening night.
* ThoseTwoGuys: Lely and Temple.
* ToneShift: The first half of the film dramatises the stagnation of Gilbert & Sullivan's creative partnership, with Sullivan becoming increasingly impatient with Gilbert's ideas, or rather (as Sullivan feels) Gilbert's lack of fresh ideas, and the two lead characters become more and more bad-tempered (although this establishes their characters: Sullivan deals with their joint CreatorBreakdown by going to Paris and living it up, whereas Gilbert deals with it by saying at home and becoming ever more grumpy.) As soon as Gilbert attends the Japanese exhibition, becomes inspired to write ''The Mikado'' and reads the resulting to libretto to an appreciative Sullivan, the whole tone of the film shifts into comedy and stays there throughout the ensuing rehearsal sequences. [[spoiler: It shifts back into drama at the end, as we see that the enormous success of the show hasn't necessarily fixed the characters' lives and that some of them are just as messed-up as they were to begin with.]]
* VictorianLondon