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Notorious for his trademark farcical style, Blake Edwards directs his wife (Julie Andrews) who stars as a starving British entertainer Victoria Grant in a shrewd musical comedy. During a near starvation fainting spell outside a 1930's Paris restaurant, in pounding rain, Victoria is revived and befriended by a scheming, gilted, gay entertainer with a cold, Toddy (Robert Preston).
During a vision he has for her to earn money, he changes her image from a woman to a man; then presents her to the gay Paris cabaret world as a female impersonator: Victor/Victoria. Victoria becomes a soprano woman pretending to be a castrati gay man who is pretending to be a straight woman! She's doing double-reverse drag! S/he is the toast of the town.
Lesley Anne Warren plays a perfectly farcical blonde-bimbo slut, Norma, who knows and accepts more about gender and sexuality than most would guess. She is barely tolerated and shunned by her big time gangster "boyfriend" King Marchan (James Garner) of Chicago's mob scene. And she has a humorous wild tendency to through violent fits.
During their visit to gay Paris and the underworld nightclub scene where transvestites, transsexuals, gays, lesbians, and liberal straights all mingle peaceful and merrily together, Marchan takes special notice of Victor/Victoria, not being able to believe that s/he is a man; mostly likely because he finds he/r attractive.
Since Marchan seems nearly obsessed with trying to understand his attraction to a transvestite, he begins to investigate Toddy and Victoria's suite. Squash (Alex Karras), Marchan's bodyguard, also investigates the highbrow Paris suite of Victoria and Toddy, who remain friends and roommates living together with Toddy as Victoria's mentor and best friend.
As both Marchan and Squash try playing bumbling detectives to discover who or what really is donning those gay cabaret ultra-femme costumes, their farcical acts make Blake's trademark score another hit.
Throughout this show Blake brings into question the meanings of gender and sexualities, what attraction is based upon, what class and status are all about, and what comprises friendship. Well ahead of its time on the big screen and long before it was ever on DVD, he got away with it by making it a farce instead of an overtly serious social critique.
For farcical effect, Blake's signature work with actors like Peter Sellers is usually willing to let the breaks in his direction be evident. However, this time, in Victor/Victoria, Edwards' style shifts to silky smooth, thereby nearly being repentant for his earlier films that have mercilessly mocked gender and sexual variance.
Preston's playfully queer performance as Victoria's mentor is dead on point and takes the cake among the all-star cast of men. But without question, Julie Andrews surpasses every other musical she's done, while Blake brings out her talent as a dancer and singer who can cross genders with farce. Victor/Victoria is a timeless classic, most especially since Andrews will not be singing those ultra high soprano notes again since her surgical vocal chord accident permanently lowered and rasped her gorgeous voice.
DOWN AND Out singer is rejected again~ in 1930's Paris~ so Toddy (great Robert Preston) shines as he decides to MAKE A WOMAN INTO A MAN~
BLAKE EWARDS (PINK PANTHER) also husband of Julie Andrews~ wrote and directed this fun take off on Paris in 1930 where Andrews is rejected for ANOTHER STAGE ROLE~ so TODDY~~ a Gay Man becomes her new partner with a wonderful idea~ MAKE "HER INTO A MAN" PLAYING A WOMAN~ SO VICTORIA IS BORN~ SINGING in a lower key~ Andrews quickly takes on the persona of VICTOR who pretends to be a GAY MALE PERFORMER ~ and is the new HIT of PARIS~ soon~ KING MARCHAN (James Garner) is watching the show and finds Victoria very "attractive".
HIS chlorine bimbo COMPANION played by the EXCELLENT LESLIE ANN WARREN NAILS IT RIGHT DOWN TO THE WHINEY VOICE as the very "jealous" Marchan's girlfriend~
(Warren was nominated for an OSCAR FOR THIS ROLE AND SHE DESERVED TO HAVE WON IT~) SHE IS BEYOND FUNNY~ AND THE REAL SCENE STEALER HERE~
soon Marchan discovers Victoria is really a woman so purses HIM/HER~
OUTSTANDING perfomances by Garner, Robert Preston (Toddy) and one of her best perfomances EVER.....Leslie Ann Warren~
I GIVE IT A SOLID 10 OUT OF 10 FOR HUMOR ONLY BLAKE EDWARDS CAN WRITE~ AND OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING CAST~
It's too bad that "Victor/Victoria" isn't still in production as a DVD in Region 1. It's quite a good film combining fun musical numbers with the perceptions of others about a gay and straight life-style, as well as being a good romantic comedy with an outstanding cast. Garner and Andrews star, but co-star Robert Preston just about steals the movie. Well done.
This is one of the all-time-greats, and is, unfortunately, very easily overlooked. Victor, Victoria stars Julie Andrews as a young parisian singer down on her luck who decides to pose as a drag queen. "A woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman?" asks the tagline. "Preposterous", and it makes for one of the funniest, most sensational comedies I have ever seen. Robert Preston plays the charming homosexual lounge singer at the end of his rope, and plays off Andrews beautifully. As if this weren't enough, A big-time Chicago mobster, played by James Garner, enters the mix and falls in love with Andrews. The only problem for the very straight and slightly homophobic crime lord is that Andrews at the time has claimed to be a man! Hilarious outbursts, ridiculous subplots, and real, touching romance, Victor, Victoria is timeless.
THIS IS ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVORITE MUSICALS. JULIE ANDREWS AND JAMES GARNER ARE WONDERFUL TOGETHER. IT WILL PROVIDE LAUGHS AND ENJOYMENT OF THE MUSIC. ROBERT PRESTON PORTRAYS A WONDERFUL CHARACTER. ONE OF THE BEST MOMENTS FOR ME IS THE COCKROACH SCENE EARLY IN THE MOVIE. ANDREWS DOES A GREAT IMPERSONATION OF A MALE SINGER AND GAY MALE IN THE MOVIE. ANYONE SHOULD ENJOY THIS DVD AT ANYTIME.