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USA 1982
Directed by
Blake Edwards
133 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2 stars


Blake Edwards’ films are typically egregiously commercial puffballs and Victor/Victoria is no exception. Personally I find them so tritely one dimensional as to be amazed that he has managed to have such a long and productive career, but he has, with the Pink Panther films in particular keeping his bank account well filled, so clearly his sensibility has widespread appeal.

Here he sets his talented wife, Julie Andrews, to work as Victoria, who, in Depression-era Paris is unable to find work a “proper” coloratura singer and so, under the wing of middle-aged homosexual (Robert Preston in Liberace mode) becomes a female impersonator, known as Victor, morphing into the toast of the town (or at least a certain part of it) and attracting the attention of a gangster (James Garner) who is convinced that she is not a man. Frankly Garner is not the only one.

Victor/Victoria might have been an interesting film if Andrew’s character had been a man as it would have required considerable performance skills to pull off or even if, say, Liza Minnelli had played the lead and given Victor some much needed balls. Andrews, however, does nothing other than strike a few “manly” poses and is incapable of appearing other than pure-as-the-driven-snow Julie Andrews thus sacrificing the scandalous potential of the idea.

Although not entirely without merit, beginning with god deal of tongue-in-cheek style and enhanced by Henry Mancini's and Leslie Bricusse's Oscar-winning songs and score, eventually it peters out, the stereotyped characters, lame gags, paper -thin narrative and Edwards' sanitized directorial style unable to carry it much more than half the running time before interest expires. . 

FYI: Edwards’ script was based on a 1933 German film. Viktor Und Viktoria, remade in 1936 as First A Girl with Jessie Matthews in the lead. The film was later re-presented as a Broadway musicalwith Andrews once again in the lead.




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