Aaah, welcome to the 1930s. Elaborate clothes, stylish hair, the development of the motor car, Art Deco, and all that JAZZ! Victor Victoria (1982) transports you back in time to 1930s Paris complete with a wonderful musical score and lively dance sequences.
Starring the irreplaceable Julie Andrews in the lead role, this musical is what can lovingly be referred to as a gender bender and it is so much fun! Directed by the late Blake Edwards (Breakfast at Tiffany’s – 1961), and based on a 1933 script by Reinhold Schünzel, struggling soprano Victoria Grant (Andrews) teams up with gay cabaret singer Carole ‘Toddy’ Todd (Robert Preston) and together they create singing sensation ‘Victor Victoria’ – a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman. But for appearances’ sake only, Andrews is a Polish man called Count Victor Grazinski.
What follows is the rise of a prolific star loved by men and women alike. But for one man in particular, American gangster King Marchand (James Garner), there’s something too good to be true about Count Victor and he makes it his mission to prove that ‘he’ is, in fact, a ‘she’.
A fantastic supporting cast ensures this comedy continues to raise laughs in the form of highly strung Norma (Lesley Ann Warren), moody waiter (Graham Stark), and softie bodyguard ‘Squash’ Bernstein (Alex Karras).
This is one uplifting film which you can watch again and again. The only real shame is in knowing that half the cast have since passed away. I can’t fault this film and I didn’t want the dancing and singing to end. This really is one of Andrews’ best performances. Yes, she is mostly known for The Sound of Music (1965) and Mary Poppins (1964), but I’d argue that Victor Victoria deserves a place in the Julie Andrews ‘top 3’.