Victor Victoria (1982)
September 6, 2018 6:00 PM - Subscribe

On the verge of starvation in 1930s Paris, entertainer Victoria Grant is rescued by cabaret performer Carole "Toddy" Todd. What Victoria needs to succeed, decides Toddy, is a gimmick. So Victoria becomes the male impersonator Count Victor Grazinski, pretending to be a female impersonator, and soon becomes the toast of Paris.

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%

Roger Ebert: The three most difficult roles belong to Preston, Garner, and Karras, who must walk a tightrope of uncertain sexual identity without even appearing to condescend to their material. They never do. Because they all seem to be people first and genders second, they see the humor in their bewildering situation as quickly as anyone, and their cheerful ability to rise to a series of implausible occasions makes “Victor/Victoria” not only a funny movie, but, unexpectedly, a warm and friendly one.

New York Times: ''Victor/Victoria'' is so good, so exhilarating, that the only depressing thing about it is the suspicion that Mr. Edwards is going to have a terrible time trying to top it.

LOGO(2007): In the grand scheme of American cinema, the film has survived as one of the most unabashedly gay-positive movies ever made by a major studio (MGM, in this case). Exactly 25 years later, no other films match its balance of mainstream marketability and unflaggingly pro-gay positioning. When something even remotely as sympathetic as Victor/Victoria makes its way onto big screens (Brokeback Mountain, for example), it’s fraught with controversy, something that Victor managed to avoid. All the more reason to revisit the film — and the circumstances from which it so fabulously emerged — on the anniversary of its release.
posted by los pantalones del muerte (9 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I had a chance to catch this again recently after decades, and am pleasantly shocked at how well it stands up to the test of time. It's hysterically funny in the way only a Blake Edwards movie could be, and the musical numbers (Henry Mancini!) are top-notch.

James Garner is pleasantly fantastic, reuniting with Julie Andrews for their second major outing in a film together ( I think), after 1964's The Americanization of Emily. Lesley Ann Warren steals every scene she's in too, practically channeling Singin' in the Rain's Lina Lamont, to wildly funny effect.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 6:05 PM on September 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

I saw this when I was nine. (I think my mother may have been under the mistaken impression that anything with Julie Andrews in it was a children's movie.) I remember being a bit confused by it. I should see it again now that I'm not nine.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:56 PM on September 6, 2018 [3 favorites]

Today in "badasses of Hollywood"...Robert Preston! (as Toddy), who served as an intelligence officer with the 386th Bomber Group in Europe during WW2.

Anyway, the bit of business that always stuck with me is when Toddy gives a master class in covert operations. He is explaining to Victoria how she will be announced as a Polish aristocrat who is also a female impersonator. Victoria objects: "A Polish aristocrat? Nobody will believe that, they'll know he's a phony." Toddy smiles and replies. "Precisely. They'll know *he's* a phony."
posted by Mogur at 4:14 AM on September 7, 2018 [4 favorites]

Ah, found the actual dialog:

V: You expect them to believe Count...

T: -Grazinski.

V: Grazinski, a gay, Polish female impersonator.

T: Darling, all anybody has to believe is that you're a man. To convince an audience that an illusion is real...the magician creates a plausible diversion. Count Grazinski is our plausible diversion.

V: Toddy, no audience is that gullible.They'll know he's a phony.

T: Right...they'll know he's a phony.
posted by Mogur at 4:39 AM on September 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

It's one of those movies that I always somehow caught part way in when it appeared on TV, and it was a long time before I saw the whole thing from the start to end.

It's utterly glorious, a masterpiece. I weep tears of hysterical joy watching Robert Preston at the end.
posted by daveje at 6:29 AM on September 7, 2018

Babydyke rmd1023 imprinted quite heavily on Julie Andrews sexily starting to take her tux off.

I loved this movie when it came out and I'm delighted it holds up as well as it does.
posted by rmd1023 at 12:15 PM on September 7, 2018

I imprinted on this heavily too, tough written deeply on a secret egg heart. Of course it's a heavily cis movie.

That art deco apartment tho.

Leslie Ann Warren's character could have been a disaster of misogyny but she cranks it all up to ten thousand, and she's hilarious because the rest of the movie is taking itself too seriously wtihout her. At the start of her stage number^ she looks like Alex from Clockwork Orange ha.
posted by fleacircus at 9:50 PM on September 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

I love this movie. I'm a little young to have crushed on James Garner in his prime, but Garner in this and Murphy's Romance is still perfectly crushable. In fact, so are Julie Andrews and Robert Preston. There's really no villain in this movie. It's such a lovable farce.
posted by gladly at 8:55 AM on September 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

This is such a lovely movie, I appreciate you reminding me of it. I just realized my 16 year old is ready to watch and love it.
posted by latkes at 7:21 AM on October 7, 2018

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