‘Victor Victoria’ on Blu-ray Enchants Viewers

By Francine Brokaw

While we might always think of Julie Andrews singing on the hilltop in the 1965 film “The Sound of Music,” or flying while holding an umbrella as Mary Poppins in 1964, Ms. Andrews is much more than these two iconic characters.

James Garner might bring to mind images of him as Jim Rockford in “The Rockford Files” (1974-1980), as Bret Maverick in the TV series “Maverick” (1957-1962), opposite Doris Day in “The Thrill of it All” (1963) and “Move Over Darling” (1963), or as Hendley in the epic 1962 movie “The Great Escape.” His career was varied and long.

And when you think of Robert Preston, odds are you first think of his singing salesman character Harold Hill in the 1962 musical “The Music Man.” Although he embodied this iconic character and his performance is etched in our memories, he had a long career playing a variety of characters.

These three veterans combined their talents in the 1982 film “Victor Victoria” which is now available on Blu-ray from the Warner Archive collection. Andrews plays Victoria, a down-on-her-luck singer in 1934 Paris who meets a man called Toddy (Preston) who is also struggling in his personal and professional lives. Together they concoct a brilliant plan to have Victoria masquerade as a transvestite – a man who, in this case, performs as a woman. A woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman is a whacky storyline, but it is absolutely adorable. When a loveable gangster (Garner) falls for Victoria then thinks she is Victor, well, you can imagine the hubbub about that. What would his associates think if the word got out that he found a transvestite attractive?

Social mores are brought to the forefront in this story in an adorable way, along with many musical numbers that add another element to the film. The music won an Academy Award that year.

The bonus feature on this Blu-ray edition is a commentary by Andrews and Edwards, who, if you don’t know, were married. They divulge aspects of the film and the production that are quite interesting. For instance, Andrews was always second-guessing herself as to whether she could pull off her character’s storyline and be believable as a female impersonator. And Edwards discusses writing the screenplay specifically for his wife, having taken the basics from a 1933 German film “Viktor/Viktoria.”

“Victor Victoria” is a fun film with a charming storyline and three amazing actors. Quite frankly, they are each delightful in their roles and together they make an amazing cast. It’s definitely a movie that can be enjoyed over and over again.

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