The costume worn by Julie Andrews, in the number "The Shady Dame From Seville", is in fact the same costume worn by Robert Preston at the end of the film. The costume was made to fit Preston, and then, using a series of hooks and eyes at the back, it was drawn in tightly to fit Andrews' shapely figure. Additional black silk ruffles were also added to the bottom of the costume, to hide the differences in height. It's a pleasure to watch the costume being purposefully damaged by Preston. Now in a private collection, the rips and tears are still present. The fabric is a black and brown crepe, with fine gold threads woven into it, which when lit, appears to have an almost wet look about it.
Director Blake Edwards admitted in an interview that he "chickened out", and added the scene in which King Marchand (James Garner) discovers that Victoria (Julie Andrews) is indeed a woman. Originally he was to fall in love with Victoria before he was sure about her gender, hence his line "I don't care if you are a man" before he kisses her.
The cockroaches were in a kind of deep freeze coma. They were placed where necessary for the scene and heated with a hair dryer. The crew could only hope that they went in the right direction and no one knew quite where they went after filming of the scene was completed.
To prepare for her role in this film, actress Julie Andrews watched Viktor and Viktoria (1933) and took boxing lessons for her punch-out scene. Reportedly, Andrews struggled with her role in this film. Andrews has said of this: "There were so many things to be worked out. As someone who likes to be in control, I felt wobbly. There was something else, too: When you get older, you kind of get on to yourself. You know the tricks you play to get by, and you like them less and less if you care about your work. I was trying hard to get away from them and was sometimes falling back."
In the film, Victoria tells King they must promise to not keep secrets, to not hold grudges, they won't plan past tomorrow, and they'll take things one day at a time. This conversation is based on the actual factors Julie Andrews and Blake Edwards credit for their own long, successful marriage. They both have mentioned these factors in various interviews, and in her memoir 'Home', Julie uses the exact statements as Victoria to describe the promises she and Blake made to each other when they married in 1969.
The Broadway musical "Victor Victoria" based on the movie opened at the Marquis Theater on October 25, 1995 and ran for 734 performances. Liza Minnelli substituted for Julie Andrews while she was on vacation and Raquel Welch took over for her when she left the show.
The film was part of a breakthrough cycle of mainstream Hollywood studio movies featuring gay partnerships and drag characters. Others included Making Love (1982), Cruising (1980), Partners (1982), Tootsie (1982) and Personal Best (1982).
During the "Le Jazz Hot" rehearsal sequence, the choreographer who appears to help "Victor" run through the steps is actually choreographer Paddy Stone. He would also appear uncredited as "The Devil" in the surrealistic "Night Wind Goes To Hell" scene in Edwards' bitch-slap at Hollywood, S.O.B. (1981).
This was the second consecutive movie that actress Julie Andrews provoked controversy in relation to sexuality. In S.O.B. (1981), Andrews had controversially appeared topless thereby smashing her nice Mary Poppins (1964) image. Andrews then in this movie appeared as a woman in drag, pretending to be a man, pretending to be woman.
Though Blake Edwards' movies garnered quite a number of Oscar nominations over the years, prior to Edwards being awarded an Honorary Oscar in 2004 in recognition of his writing, directing and producing an extraordinary body of work for the screen, this film Victor Victoria (1982) was the only ever movie that Edwards himself was nominated for an Academy Award, and it was for Best Adapted Screenplay.
The budget for this movie spiraled partially due to the number of expensive sets, especially for the very high end nightclub, luxury Art Deco hotel rooms, exterior Paris street scenes, and agent offices which had to be built, since the entire picture was filmed entirely on sound stages at Pinewood Studios in England.
Lesley Ann Warren was offered the stage role of Norma Cassidy (her Oscar (R) nominated role) in the stage version of "Victor/Victoria" starring Julie Andrews, but had to turn it down due to other movie commitments.