Elizabeth, a delivery girl, dreams of being a music-hall singer but she is refused at the first casting she takes part in. A bit depressed, she gets to know Victor, a would-be Shakespearean... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Sonnie Hale ...
...
Princess Miranoff
...
Robert
Alfred Drayton ...
Mr. McLintock
Constance Godridge ...
Beryl
Eddie Gray ...
Goose Trainer
...
Madame Seraphina
Donald Stewart ...
Singer
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Storyline

Elizabeth, a delivery girl, dreams of being a music-hall singer but she is refused at the first casting she takes part in. A bit depressed, she gets to know Victor, a would-be Shakespearean actor and another audition victim. When Victor quite unexpectedly gets a female part in a music-hall number he unfortunately finds himself voiceless. Why wouldn't Elizabeth replace it? His new friend hesitates but finally makes her debut as ... a man posing for a woman! She is noticed by McLintock, an influential talent agent who hires Mr. Victoria (Elizabeth's stage name) and launches his/her brilliant international career. One day, Robert, a handsome young man engaged to Princess Mironoff, makes friends with this young man posing as a woman posing as a man ... Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

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Details

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Release Date:

31 December 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mulher Antes de Tudo  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Full Range Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The climactic musical number in a gigantic birdcage was filmed in the open air at night at Gaumont British's 70-acre back lot at Northolt. See more »

Goofs

Victor and Elizabeth are drying off. When Victor begins to lose his voice, he is holding a wig in a box in his right hand and puts his left hand towards his own throat. In the next shot, made out to be in real time, his right hand is immediately where his left hand was; what's more - it is without the wig in a box. See more »

Quotes

Elizabeth: I'm not going. I can't do it.
Victor: Do what?
Elizabeth: I can't be a man all my life!
Victor: But you'll have time off. And you can knit and knit to your heart's content...
Elizabeth: But think what you're asking me!
Victor: [gazes upward as he quotes] "There's a tide in the affairs of men" -
[descending temporarily to earth]
Victor:
  • and women - "if taken at the flood, leads on to fortune..."



Elizabeth: Tides go out - don't they?
Victor: This'll be a spring one!
[...]
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Connections

Remade as Victor Victoria (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

Half and Half
Written by Maurice Sigler (as M. Sigler), Al Goodhart (as A. Goodhart) and Al Hoffman (as A.Hoffman)
Performed by Jessie Matthews
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User Reviews

 
I liked this one a lot more than the later American remake or the German original.
15 July 2014 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

I had no idea when I turned on this film that the story is actually "Victor/Victoria"--and American film from the 1980s. I also had no idea that in spite of this, "First a Girl" is actually a remake as well! It seems that two years earlier, Germany made "Viktor und Viktoria"--and so I decided to watch all three to determine which I thought best.

Well, if any of the Brits who made this one are still alive and kicking, they might be happy that I thought "First a Girl" was the best of them. Or, they might wonder why I am compulsive enough to watch all three! Why did I prefer it? Well, the musical aspects of the films are best in "First a Girl". While in "Viktor und Viktoria" the dialog is often sung, in the British version there are the most amazingly outrageous and funny big musical numbers. In some ways, they look like Busby Berkeley style dance numbers--but a bit smaller and the songs were hilarious. In fact, most of the songs in "First a Girl" are very funny---and among the best I've ever heard in a film (especially the song about the silkworm).

As far as the plot goes, both early films skirt the issue because even in Europe, homosexuality was something the studios generally avoided. In both versions, the one character SHOULD be gay--and they made his straight in order not to offend. However, by 1935, the US had just adopted the rigid production code--which outlawed many things--including any sort of references to being gay or even the implication--so it's not surprising it took many more decades until the Americans took a stab at it.

In the British version, Victor specializes in playing women's roles and singing as a woman. This sort of act would have gone over well in gay clubs, but here the guy is mainstream. However, he's going to a job interview and he's lost his voice! And, when he meets a woman who is very talented but cannot find a job, he trains her to cover for him--and pretend to be a man pretending to be a woman! It's all very confusing but the confusion grows exponentially when a Elizabeth and her male friend find two new friends--and the two new friends (including a princess) are dying to know if Elizabeth is really a guy. It's a cute little film--with lots of great dialog, a cute plot and great music. As for the German film, it's worth seeing but is significantly less entertaining or polished.


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