Gilbert & Sullivan - Sorcerer / Revill, Kernan, Opera World
Front Cover Actor
Movie Details
Director Dave Heather
Language English
Audience Rating NR (Not Rated)
Country USA
Color Color
One of Gilbert and Sullivan's first collaborations, The Sorcerer is also among their least known. In this tale of a magic potion that causes a whole village to fall in love with the wrong people, the pair's trademarks are already in evidence: an absurd plot that's resolved in an instant; deadpan operatic parodies; radiant tunes joined to sometimes cynical words. The work's popularity may have been hampered by flaws like its ending, which implausibly hurls the title character into damnation. But as a whole it's a buoyant experience, especially in this production, the only version easily available.

In a series of uneven quality (the Opera World series of G&S videos, made in the 1980s) this production is a standout. Almost without exception, the performers embody Gilbert's comic style. The title character, John Wellington Wells, is played by Clive Revill with proper Dickensian gravity, leavened by an anarchic twinkle. D'Oyly Carte veteran Donald Adams wields marvelous timing and diction as Sir Marmaduke, whose excessively good manners are no equal to Wells's potion. A weak point is Alexander Oliver, not very juvenile as the juvenile, Alexis; Oliver is a dull presence in a sparkling cast.

The production succumbs to a few television gimmicks, like having the actors speak directly into the camera. And the supernatural effects may look primitive by 21st-century standards, but that adds to the charm. From the opening number, filled with earnestly prancing villagers, you know you're in a world that follows its own giddy rules. --David Olivenbaum

Personal Details
Seen It No
Index 114
Collection Status In Collection
Links Amazon US
Product Details
Format DVD
Region Region 1
UPC 054961539499
Release Date 1/1/2004
Nr of Disks/Tapes 1
Extra Features