Victor/Victoria (1982)

victor victoria poster 1982 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 7/10

Before its time culture questions, good cast

Average looking, actual story is so-so

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Victor/Victoria

Studio:  MGM

Genre(s):  Musical/Comedy

Release Date(s):  March 16, 1982

MPAA Rating:  PG

victor victoria julie andrews performance

Victor takes the stage!

Victoria Grant (Julie Andrews) is a talented singer down and out of luck in Paris.  When she meets a gay entertainer named Toddy (Robert Preston) who recognizes Victoria’s talent, they hatch a scheme.  Victoria will become Count Victor Grazinski, a male female impersonator from Poland.  Victor’s act becomes the toast of the town but Victor also catches the eye of Chicago mob-ally King Marchand (James Garner).  As King tries to sort out his feeling with help from his bodyguard Bernstein (Alex Karras), Victoria now has a problem:  she’s a man impersonating a woman in love with a man who thinks she’s a man.

Directed by Blake Edwards, Victor/Victoria is a musical comedy.  Blake Edwards based his screenplay on the 1933 German film Viktor und Viktoria.  The film received positive reviews and won the Academy Awards for Best Original Score with nominations for Best Actress (Julie Andrews), Best Supporting Actor (Robert Preston), Best Supporting Actress (Lesley Ann Warren), Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Costumes, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Victor/Victoria is an odd movie that has a lot of similarities to the movie Tootsie (also from 1982).  Both really questioned what it means to be in love, what is “attraction”, and what is acceptable.  Tootsie was in a modern setting, but Victor/Victoria was set in the past…but in a more accepting country.  Both Victor/Victoria and Tootsie were probably ahead of their time in this front.

victor victoria julie andrews james garner

So…if I date you in public, that might be a problem.

It is the writing and the looking at the issues that make Victor/Victoria feel fresh.  There is a lot going on in the story and much of the laughs are “madcap & mayhem” type jokes that could be more along the lines of a Three Stooges movie…this is all kind of forgettable.  It is the social discourse in the movie that was way ahead of 1982 and had to be a bit edgy at the time with discussions of transvestites, transsexuals, and homosexuals being the thrust of the plot…and can a man be attracted to a man without being gay was a strange idea to explore back then.

I admire the actors for taking on these roles that some might be a bit afraid of despite the fact it is just acting.  James Garner has always played the tough guy with a heart and is a good match for the movie since he has the two sides to his persona.  Julie Andrews is always just likeable in movies.  Alex Karras plays the ultimate twist on the “tough guy” image and Lesley Ann Warren is the obnoxious moll that tries to ruin it all (in one of the best scenes where Andrews reveals herself to her).  The scene stealer however is Robert Preston who took over for Peter Sellers after Sellers died before production.

victor victoria ending toddy dress robert preston

Who wore it better…Toddy or Victoria?

The movie looks rather generic and that is one of the movie’s faults.  It is very set based and you can see how it would be easy to adapt it into a stage play because the sets and locations are very minimal.  It isn’t shot with much flash or style and it feels like it could have been a bigger looking movie.

Victor/Victoria is one of those movies that is light-hearted enough that it gets a bit of a pass.  The movie is fun and flighty and though it can be dull at points a good cast carries it a long way.  The movie has gained a bit of a cult following and was adapted into a stage play in 1995 with Julie Andrews returning to the role of Victoria.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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