Victor/Victoria

Victor/Victoria
Editoral Review

Blake Edwards’s delightful Victor/Victoria may be one of the last of the great, old-style movie musical comedies–it is so good, it was turned into a hit Broadway stage musical years later. And both versions starred Edwards’s wife (the former Mary Poppins) in the title role–as Victor and Victoria. She’s a down-and-out singer who hooks up with a flamboyantly gay theatrical veteran (), and together they become the toast of 1934 Paris by dreaming up a provocative nightclub act in which Victoria assumes the identity of a man in drag. So, in other words, Andrews plays a woman playing a man playing a woman … and that’s only the beginning of the sexual identity confusions that provide the fuel for this splendidly classy slapstick musical farce. (Yes, it’s all those things.) , as a Chicago club owner, finds himself strangely besotted with this stylish, androgynous creature–even though he thinks Victor/Victoria is a man. Legendary Hollywood composer Henry Mancini (a longtime collaborator with Edwards) won his last Oscar for the score; Andrews, Preston, and , as Garner’s cheeky girlfriend, were also nominated. Musical highlights include Victor/Victoria’s sizzling “Le Jazz Hot” (in which Andrews shows off her incredible vocal range); another showstopper for Victor/Victoria, “The Shady Dame from Seville”; Preston’s witty ode to “Gay Paree”; Warren’s hilarious burlesque number, “King’s Can-Can”; and a charmingly casual yet elegant side-by-side number, “You and Me,” done in a small club by Preston and Andrews in tuxedos. –Jim Emerson

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