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.
Set in Paris of 1934, gorgeously represented by Rodger Maus’ studio-constructed settings, tale introduces Julie Andrews as a down-on-her-luck chanteuse. Also suffering a temporary career lapse is tres gai nightclub entertainer Robert Preston, who remakes her as a man who in short order becomes celebrated as Paris’ foremost female impersonator.
Enter Windy City gangster James Garner, with imposing bodyguard Alex Karras and dizzy sexpot Lesley Ann Warren in tow. Not knowing he’s in one of ‘those’ clubs, the tough guy falls hard for Andrews, only to experience a severe blow to his macho ego when it become’s apparent she’s a he.
While the central thrust of the story rests in Andrews-Garner covergence, everyone in the cast is given the chance to shine. Most impressive of all is Preston, with a shimmering portrait of a slightly decadent ‘old queen’. Andrews is able to reaffirm her musical talents. Garner is quizzically sober as the story’s straight man, in more ways than one.
1982: Best Original Song Score.
Nominations: Best Actress (Julie Andrews), Supp. Actor (Robert Preston), Aupp. Actress (Lesley Ann Warren), Screenplay Adaptation, Costume Design, Art Direction