Of the musical genre, the film Victor/Victoria is set in Paris in 1934. Trained soprano Victoria Grant (Julie Andrews) is unable to find a job and so is struggling financially. Gay cabaret singer Carole ‘Toddy’ Todd (Robert Preston) is in similar difficulties having just been sacked from his job.
The pair team up and Toddy comes up with a scheme where he will manage Victoria, who will impersonate a man and get a job as a female impersonator. As Victoria asks in the film “”You want me to be a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman?” Toddy believes this scheme will make them very wealthy and so they put it into practice.
All is well until after a time, Chicago nightclub owner and businessman King Marchand (James Garner) falls in love with ‘Victor’, refusing to believe he is a man and making investigations. Victoria in turn falls in love with King and faces the dilemma of giving up a lucrative career. A further complication is that Victoria and Toddy face risking jail if their deception should be discovered.
Along with comedy and music the themes centre on gender perceptions, discrimination and the battle of the sexes.
“Victor/Victoria is a sparkling, ultra-sophisticated entertainment from Blake Edwards. Based on a 1933 German film comedy (Viktor und Viktoria, written and directed by Rheinhold Schunzel) which was a big hit in its day, pic sees Edwards working in the Lubitsch-Wilder vein of sly wit and delightful sexual innuendo..”
“Andrews and Preston landed Oscar nominations in the film’s unlikely haul of seven. But both the nominated Lesley Ann Warren and the overlooked Garner are infinitely more amusing in a double act that’s part Clark Gable and Jean Harlow and part an inversion of Judy Holliday and Broderick Crawford’s characters in Born Yesterday.”
— David Parkinson, Empire
Did You Know?
“The disguise surprise comedy of the year!” Victor/Victoria‘s screen play was written by the director Blake Edwards. The film was based on a 1933 German film written by Reinhold Schunzel and called Viktor Viktoria. Julie Andrews watched this film in order to prepare for the role. She then went on to reprise the role in the Broadway musical version Victor Victoria in 1995.
Peter sellers was originally intended for the role of Toddy but sadly died before filming began. Review our Gay Themed Films here