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Victor/Victoria (1982) – DVD Review

By ScottC - posted 11.19.02 @ 9:48 pm
Victor/Victoria DVD box art

Film:
DVD:

Written by: Blake Edwards
Directed by: Blake Edwards
Starring: Julie Andrews, James Garner, Robert Preston, Lesley Ann Warren, Alex Karras

Features:

  • Running audio commentary by Julie Andrews and Blake Edwards
  • Cast biographies
  • Theatrical trailer

Released by: Turner Home Entertainment
Region: 1
Rating: PG
Anamorphic: Oui.

My Advice: Rent it.

Victor/Victoria tells the story of singer Victoria Grant (Andrews) who pretends to be Count Victor Grezhinski who pretends to be a woman on stage. Confused yet? Her friend Carroll 'Toddy' Todd (Preston), who is gay in both attitude and orientation, instigates this bit of sexual misdirection to give Victoria her big break...and then let her talent do the rest. Everything is going smoothly until she meets King Marchand (Garner), a Chicago nightclub owner who seems to be a mobster by association. Both are attracted to each other, but she is worried about revealing her secret and jeopardizing her success and her new-found freedom--while he's worried about how his relationship with 'the Count' will affect how people see him and how he sees himself. Confused yet? Don't worry, there's plenty of singing, dancing, and general silliness to make the confusion more enjoyable.

I think the time limit is on calling a movie a classic is about twenty years, so I think I'm on solid ground calling this flick a classic, especially since it succeeded at a time when musical comedies were considered as dead as the dinosaurs. Crafted lovingly by Blake Edwards, who both directed and wrote the film, he mixed together the right amount of slapstick, witty dialogue, and romance. Add to that the musical numbers, many composed by that giant Henry Mancini, the art deco influences in the set and costume design, and of course the talent of the cast from Andrews, Preston, and Garner to the bit players (one who is actually Edwards' internist) and you got something special here. Andrews and Preston particularly have a great chemistry, conveying a great friendship and a great team. They are what Will and Grace wish they could be. Garner doesn't have a lot of dialogue in the movie, but the expressions on his face can say volumes. Lesley Ann Warren as the trashy floozy Norma and Alex Karras as King's sensitive bodyguard Crush make the most with their supporting roles. The movie does drag (pardon the pun) when discussion turns to gender roles, but it never lasts too long and gets too involved.

There's the usual trailer and cast bios on the disc, but they only have them for Edwards, Andrews, Garner, and Preston. Lesley Ann Warren and Alex Karras are featured performers, but there's nothing on them. I figure if you're going to do something, do it completely. But oh well.

Victor/Victoria screen capture 2

The main feature is the commentary with husband and wife team Andrews and Edwards. While some commentaries pause because they have nothing to say, these two pause because they're getting caught up in their own movie. Edwards talks about various aspects of the production, like how he had to construct all the locations in two sound stages and how that gave the actors a sense of coziness. He also points out that since the musical numbers were done as actual performances and not as people just breaking into song, he kept the picture from losing too much pacing. Andrews reminisces about the horror of working with a cockroach and what differences they are between the movie and the stage version of Victor/Victoria. You can tell from their conversation that they enjoyed making this movie and the result they made.

If the MTV style of Moulin Rouge leaves you dizzy and you want a musical that a little more sophisticated, go rent this disc instead.

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ScottC's full name is Scott Campbell: writer, actor, critic, and debauched libertine who serves as Need Coffee's Minister of Naughty Bits. When not engaged in matters of perfume, sex, and rock lobsters, he lends his body to The Mickee Faust Club and his voice to Curious Echo Radio Theater. He can be found on Twitter sexually harrassing all and sundry. He has written 435 posts. See them all here.

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