In 1934 Paris, trained coloratura soprano Victoria Grant (Dame Julie Andrews), a native Brit, can't get a job as a singer and is having trouble making ends meet. She doesn't even have enough money for the basics of food and shelter. Gay cabaret singer Carole "Toddy" Todd (Robert Preston) may befall the same fate as Victoria, as he was just fired from his singing gig at a second-rate club named "Chez Lui". To solve their problems, Toddy comes up with what he considers to be an inspired idea: with Toddy as her manager, Victoria, pretending to be a man, get a job singing as a female impersonator. If they pull this scheme off, Toddy vows Victoria, as her male alter ego, will be the toast of Paris and as such be extremely wealthy. That alter ego they decide is Polish Count Victor Grazinski, Toddy's ex-lover who was disowned by his family when they found out he was gay. The Count auditions for the city's leading agent, Andre Cassell (John Rhys-Davies), who, impressed, gets him a gig ...Written by
To prepare for her role in this movie, Dame Julie Andrews watched Victor and Victoria (1933) and took boxing lessons for her punch-out scene. Reportedly, Andrews struggled with her role in this movie. 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." See more »
In the one scene when King turns on the radio, the sound comes right on. In the old tube radios of the day it would have to warm up before the sound appears. See more »
Chorus Boy [#1]:
[watching "Victor' rehearse]
Chorus Boy [#2]:
He's a phony.
Admirer at rehearsal:
What do you mean?
Chorus Boy [#2]:
If he's a Polish count, I'm Greta Garbo.
Admirer at rehearsal:
Well, Greta, whatever he is, I think he's divine.
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Herb Tanney (Charles Bovin), who frequently collaborated on Blake Edwards films, is credited as "Sherloque Tanney", suiting his role as a detective in the film. See more »
Despite all of its gender-bending commentary on sexuality, both hetero- and homo-, "Victor/Victoria" looked and sounded in 1982 (year of "ET" and "The Road Warrior") as if it were made in 1962 -- and that was a good thing. Blake Edwards' trademark ability to combine lush romanticism with immitable slapstick comedy was here matched by a wonderful score by his longtime collaborator Henry Mancini, "Voila!" -- we're back in the early sixties again. (It didn't hurt that stars Julie Andrews and James Garner were hottest in the sixties, and had acted together in 1964's "The Americanization of Emily.")
Robert Preston, "The Music Man" of late fifties Broadway and 1962 screen fame, further added an element of early sixties nostalgia -- with the twist that he here used his booming vocal tones in the service of a delightfully out and comfortable gay man. Preston was one of two hot contenders for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar that year. The winner was Lou Gossett, Jr. for his Drill Instructor in "An Officer And A Gentleman."
Rounding out the great cast are Lesley Ann Warren (sexy and very funny) in an Oscar-nominated role as Garner's mob moll floozie, and Alex Karras, continually funny as Garner's softhearted ox of a bodyguard. (Karras gets a classic Blake Edwards slapstick routine trapped in the freezing snow outside a Paris hotel, getting big laughs out of the simple line: "You've got heat? That's good.")
And be sure to keep a lookout for "Sherloque Tanney" as the French private detective on Victor/Victoria's trail. Tanney was Blake Edwards dentist, and appeared in almost every Blake Edwards film from "Darling Lili" (1970) on. Other than his corpse in "SOB," (1981), the French detective is possibly Dr. Tanney's greatest role on the screen. Tanney, too, gets to anchor several great trademark Blake Edwards slapstick routines.
Oh, and there's music, too. Enough music for a Broadway musical (which is what "Victor/Victoria" became), and with a sad and wistful Mancini title tune (reprised in the film by Andrews) that reminds one a bit of "Moon River" and "Days of Wine and Roses." Just like in the early sixties.
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