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Film: Victor/Victoria

King Marchand: I don't care if you are a man.
[kisses Victoria]
Victoria: I - -I'm not a man.
King Marchand: I still don't care.

This 1982 comedy remake of the 1933 German film Viktor and Viktoria, directed by Blake Edwards, and starring his wife Julie Andrews as well as Robert Preston and James Garner, is the tale of a down-on-her-luck actress/singer who disguises herself as a man to take a job as a drag queen in 1930s Paris. Hilarity Ensues. The film received a Screen-to-Stage Adaptation in 1995 which also starred Andrews and was directed by Edwards; this version was filmed for television.


This film and its stage adaptation provide examples of:

  • Attractive Bent-Gender: While performing dressed as a woman, "Victor" is considered very attractive.
  • Author Appeal: An inspector and slapstick right out of The Pink Panther. See Butt Monkey below.
  • Bar Brawl: "Victor" accidentally starts a brawl by accidentally pulling off a woman's wig after intentionally tripping one of her companions. In the ensuing chaos, she even accidentally punches King. In the film version, Toddy gets fired early in the film after indirectly causing a bar fight in Chez Lui, and King later starts a bar brawl intentionally in order to feel more masculine.
  • The Beard: Maybe Richard's female companion. He's possibly just Bi the Way.
  • Beta Couple: Prominently in the stage version, Toddy and Squash are this to Victoria and King.
  • Bi the Way: Toddy's ex Richard, maybe. It's possible his female companion is just The Beard.
  • Blatant Lies: Toddy deliberately gives Victor an obviously fake backstory as a disinherited Polish aristocrat named "Count Victor Grazinski" under the assumption that once people see through this lie, they won't look for another.
    "Victor": They'll know he's a phony!
    Toddy: Exactly.
    "Victor": What?
    Toddy: They'll know he's a phony.
  • Brainless Beauty: Norma Cassidy is King Marchand's ditzy arm-candy.
  • Brick Joke: During King' first night at the hotel Norma states she's worried that Squash, the bodyguard, will break in while they're making love. "Oh he'd only do that if he heard something unusual; like if I got excited!" Squash does just that when an orgasmic moan escapes from King's room as he's making love to Victoria.
  • Butt Monkey: The private investigator hired by the club owner Monsieur Labisse to unmask Victoria. Every scene where he appears (all four of them) has him on the receiving end of a slapstick gag, starting with this gem:
    Labisse: Be careful.
    Private eye: Monsieur, I am always careful.
    Labisse: That chair is broken.
    Private eye: It is? (chair collapses)
  • California Doubling: The movie is set in Paris (with a brief jaunt to Chicago), but was shot on a sound stage in England.
  • Camp Gay: Toddy, though only in the stage version—he's not particularly camp in the film version.
  • Character Exaggeration: In the film version, Norma Cassidy has a few moments that show she's not the sharpest tool in the shed. In the stage adaptation, this becomes her defining character trait. The result is Played for Laughs, to the point that in the filmed version of the stage musical, Norma gets the biggest laughs.
  • Coming-Out Story: Squash eventually "hoists [their] true colors" in response to mistakenly thinking another character has done the same. Though things are a little awkward at first, all of their friends are supportive—the only people who end up hostile already had a reason to feel that way.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Toddy has quite a few zingers in both the movie and stage production.
  • Didn't See That Coming: When King, Squash, and Norma see Victoria's first performance, King is smitten by the beautiful female singer and Norma isn't pleased with this, then at the end, Victoria removes the wig and appears to be "Victor." King is shocked and Norma just laughs.
  • Distant Duet: In the stage version, Victoria and King sing "Almost a Love Song" in adjacent rooms.
  • The Ditz: Norma Cassidy tends to fail while attempting to seem intelligent, particularly in the stage musical.
  • Drag Queen: "Victor", as well as several of the minor characters. Toddy dresses in drag to play the role of "Victor" when the police come to investigate the claims of fraud about the performance.
  • Drink Order: While doubting his masculinity due to his attraction to Victor, King goes to a seedy bar and orders milk to try and start a Bar Brawl. One of the tough guys sarcastically asks him if he's ordering cow's milk or mother's milk. King replies, "How about your sister's?" He gets the brawl he was looking for.
  • Dumb Blonde: Norma Cassidy has bleached blond hair, while Victoria Grant is a redhead. One is The Ditz, and it isn't the main character.
  • Fan Disservice: Norma's squeaky voice and generally tactless behavior. Leslie Ann Warren can definitely play an attractive Femme Fatale, but here she's camping it up to make the character unsympathetic.
  • Faux Yay: Victoria pretends to be Toddy's lover as Victor in order to provide a plausible reason for living together.
  • Gayngster: One of Sal's bodyguards in the stage version
  • Gay Paree: In both senses. It even has a musical number so titled.
    Toddy: (singing) When people speak of Gay Paree / They think that when they say Paree is gay / They mean that Gay Paree is "Gay!" / It is not in the way Paree was gay in yesterday Paree / It means today that Gay Paree is gay.
    (The pianist plays the Fairy Waltz. Toddy slaps him with his handkerchief.)
    Toddy: Not that gay.
  • Genre Savvy: This exchange between Victoria and Toddy after her and King's first meeting:
    Victoria: King Marchand is an arrogant, opinionated, chauvinistic pain in the ass.
    Toddy: I think I could fall in love with him.
    Victoria: I think I could, too.
  • Glass-Shattering Sound: The high note at the end of Victoria's stage show. Also Chekhov's Skill.
  • Hello, Sailor!: Toddy's aware of the stereotype in the stage version:
    King: You must have been in the army.
    Toddy: I prefer the navy, myself.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Mary Poppins ! And Sallah!
  • If It's You, It's Okay
    King: I don't care if you are a man. (kisses Victoria)
    Victoria: I'm ... not a man.
    King: I still don't care! (kissing ensues)
  • Inadvertent Entrance Cue: In the stage version.
    Norma: Well, well, well, if it ain't big shot King Marchand, who these days maybe ought to change it to "Queen".
    Toddy: (opening the doors) Did somebody call?
  • Incompatible Orientation: Norma Cassidy quickly develops an attraction to Toddy, who is gay.
  • Irrelevant Act Opener: The second act of the stage adaptation opens with a song about Marie Antoinette. As it's a performance by "Victor", it's not entirely out of place, but it has nothing to do with the plot. It was eventually cut.
  • Jerk Jock: King notes that Squash was one in their youth as he was the toughest, scariest kid on the block. Squash notes that he embraced this trope to hide the fact he was gay.
  • Large Ham: Norma.
  • Last Het Romance: For Toddy, somebody named Nana Lanu.
    Victoria: Nana Lanu? Who's she?
    Toddy: The last woman I slept with.
    Victoria: When was that?
    Toddy: The night before the morning I decided to become a homosexual.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: King, distracted by thoughts of "Victor", suffers this when he tries sleeping with Norma.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Toddy is initially involved with Richard, who starts seeing bit-character Simone. King and Norma are together, but once they get to Paris, Norma goes after Toddy and King falls for "Victor", with Victoria reciprocating King's feelings. Toddy, for his part, seems taken with Squash. The stage version goes even further by making Toddy explicitly attracted to King and implying that he and Andre had been...close. The Love Dodecahedron does get resolved, but not to everyone's liking.
  • Mugging the Monster: In the film, while at the gym trying to reinforce his masculinity, King gets bumped into by another guy. King refuses to accept the apology and challenges him to a boxing match. The man turns out to be the middleweight boxing champion.
    Squash: But don't worry. He's gay.note 
  • The Musical: In the movie, the songs are only for the characters' stage performances, but it was adapted for Broadway in 1995 as an all-out musical.
  • The Musical Musical: The story is a musical about a stage performer who advances her career through Recursive Crossdressing.
  • Musical World Hypotheses: The film is entirely diegetic, with Victoria, Toddy, and Norma giving performances. The stage adaptation introduces songs that are either All In Their Head or an Adaptation of the events. Toddy's opening number even starts in his head and moves on to an actual performance at Chez Lui.
  • My Eyes Are Up Here: An inversion. The dress that Victoria wears at the end is Absolute Cleavage. Justified, in that she's trying to be as female as possible so she isn't mistaken for Victor. So it's somewhat like a My Breasts Are Down Here.
  • Nobody over 50 Is Gay: Wonderfully averted.
  • Recursive Crossdressing: A woman dressing as a man who does performance art dressing as a woman.
  • Screen-to-Stage Adaptation: The 1982 film was adapted for Broadway in 1995.
  • Sexy Coat Flashing: Norma does this to Squash from the back of the train after he sends her off.
  • Sorry, I'm Gay: Toddy rebuff's Norma's advances by (accurately) claiming to be gay.
  • Straight Gay: Richard (though he may fall under Bi the Way) and very much Squash
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: An uncomfortable pause while discussing Victor's performance reveals to Norma that King is attracted to "Victor".
  • Suppressed Mammaries: Victoria does this to pass as a man, and lampshades it hilariously.
    Victoria: (sobbing)
    Toddy: So far we've had two major obstacles to overcome.
    Victoria: My bosom.
    Toddy: First to convince everyone that you're a man.
    Victoria: It's been damn uncomfortable.
    Toddy: What has?
    Victoria: Strapping down my bosom.
    Toddy: Now all you have to do is go out there and you'll be a star for the next twenty years.
    Victoria: If I have to strap down my bosom for the next twenty years, they're going look like two empty wallets.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Victoria spends most of the story as "Victor"
  • Sweet on Polly Oliver: King is so attracted to "Victor" that he's convinced that "Victor" is really a woman.
  • The Thirties
  • Unsatisfiable Customer: Early in the film a broke Victoria attempts to cadge a free meal at a restaurant by planting a cockroach in her salad.
  • Unsettling Gender-Reveal: Double dropped. Andrews' character is a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman, after all.


The VerdictFilms of the 1980sVisiting Hours

alternative title(s): Victor Victoria
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