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Film / Victor/Victoria

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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 musical comedy film, 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, which is actually a Foreign Remake of the 1933 German film Viktor und Viktoria, received a Screen-to-Stage Adaptation in 1995 which also starred Andrews and was directed by Edwards; a performance of this version was shot on videotape for a Japanese television broadcast and subsequently issued on DVD.


This film and its stage adaptation provide examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: After the waiter delivers his "it is a moron who listens to a horse's ass" retort, Toddy and Victoria look at each other and start laughing.
  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: When three of the male dancers watch "Victor" perform, one says that he's a phony as Toddy eavesdrops, slightly concerned.
    Dancer 1: If he's a Polish count, then I'm Greta Garbo.
    Dancer 2: Well, Greta, whatever he is... I think he's divine.
    [Toddy walks away looking pleased.]
  • 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.
  • "Awkward Silence" Entrance: When King, dressed in a tuxedo, walks into a working-class bar for the express purpose of picking a fight.
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  • 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.
  • Battle Theme Music: The band in Chez Lui starts belting out "Le Marseilles" when the fight breaks out.
  • 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.
  • Big "YES!": Norma, who has been stewing over King's obvious infatuation with "Victoria," screams "yes!" when Victoria takes off the wig. And keeps screaming "Yay!" over and over while the camera focuses on King's utter dismay.
  • Bi the Way: Toddy's ex Richard, maybe. It's possible his female companion is just The Beard.
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: Toddy has Victoria's costumes tailored by a man who would very much not like
  • 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.
  • Bullying a Dragon: King gets into a tiff with a well-dressed man at the gym and suggests that he deliver his "apology" in the boxing ring. The man agrees, and walks away to get ready.
    King: "He'll be deLIGHTed to oblige," who does he think he is?
    Squash: Guy Levois, the French middleweight boxing champion. [King turns around with an Oh, Crap! look.] But don't worry. He's gay.
  • 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)
    • Then you have Toddy's young gigolo, who manages to keep getting punched in the same broken nose by Victoria. Then again, he deserves it.
  • Camp Gay: Toddy, though only in the stage version—he's not particularly camp in the film version.
  • Captain Ersatz: Leclou is Clouseau. They even have similar names.
  • Carrying a Cake: When the waiter sees Toddy as the Shady Dame in the final performance, he's so distracted that he falls over the railing with a giant birthday cake.
  • 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.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Victoria's ability to hit a glass-shattering note. When the owner of Chez Lui watches her "Shady Dame" number later, it confirms his suspicions that "Victor" is the woman who auditioned for his club.
    Waiter: (Eureka Moment) Cockroach!
  • Comeback Tomorrow: After Toddy says that the wine looks like horse urine—and on the waiter's protest, that it wasn't a real horse but two waiters in costume—the waiter calmly says "I shall think of a sharp retort while I fetch your roast chicken." However, Toddy's reply gives him an opportunity to make one right away:
    Toddy: It's a wise man who knows when he is beaten.
    Waiter: And it is a moron who gives advice to a horse's ass.
    (Toddy gives him a Touché glance.)
  • 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.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: The last scene of King in the barfight is him leading the tough guys in a drunken rendition of "Sweet Adelaide," and wearing one of their hats.
  • 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 and starts cheering loudly.
  • 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.
  • Eureka Moment: When Victoria sends Richard packing while wearing his clothes (It Makes Sense in Context), Toddy has his brilliant idea for how she can work as a singer again.
  • 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.
  • Fly in the Soup: At the beginning of the film, Victoria plots to use a cockroach she found in her room to scam a restaurant—she's flat broke and hasn't eaten in days (her other idea having been to sleep with her landlord for some spaghetti and meatballs). Toddy drops in and decides to help, but the manager and waiter have both seen this trick before and argue until the roach escapes and crawls up a different woman's leg. In the ensuing mass panic, the restaurant is wrecked, and Victoria and Toddy make their escape.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Toddy has a picture of Marlene Dietrich in a tux on his nightstand.
  • 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.
  • Genre Throwback: To Golden Age-era studio musicals.
  • Get Out!: The owner of Chez Luis, holding a bloody bag of ice to his head after the movie's first Bar Brawl, screams at Toddy to get out.
  • Getting the Boot: Watching a guy get thrown out the door is what makes King stop at a particular bar when he wants to feel manlier.
  • 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, You!" Haymaker: When Toddy's Jerk Ass ex, Richard, opens the wardrobe to take his clothes back, Victoria greets him with a fist to his already-bruised face—having donned his clothing in lieu of her ruined dress.
  • 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.
  • Insane Troll Logic: The mafia's homophobia. Toddy quips "kill him, but mustn't kiss him."
  • 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.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: 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.
  • 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.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Despite the fact that their relationship isn't romantic at all, Victoria (as Victor) and Toddy banter and bicker throughout the "You and Me" number they do at Chez Lui.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: King, distracted by thoughts of "Victor", suffers this when he tries sleeping with Norma.
    Norma: Before you know it, you are impudent.
  • 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.
  • Loveable Sex Maniac: "Loveable" is debateable, but Norma's reaction to "Victor" stripping for her (to prove she's a woman, when Norma still thinks she's a man) is "WAIT!!! (Beat) Lock the door!"
  • Match Cut: An audio one; when Toddy loudly blows his nose the scene cuts to the blare of a car horn.
  • Mistaken for Gay: King, when Squash finds him in bed with "Victor". It prompts Squash to come out of the closet himself.
  • Monochrome Casting: There is one black person in the whole film. He's one of the men in the bar that King starts a fight in.
  • 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.
  • Not So Different: Victoria points out that King insisting he's not a gangster, just someone who does business with them, isn't that different than the act that she runs.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Victoria and Toddy soon become inseparable friends, but she's never attracted to him and he, of course, is gay.
  • Recursive Crossdressing: A woman dressing as a man who does performance art dressing as a woman.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: King is convinced Victor is actually a woman. Not because of any flaw in her masquerade, but because he refuses to believe he could be romantically attracted to a man.
  • Screen-to-Stage Adaptation: The 1982 film was adapted for Broadway in 1995.
  • Servile Snarker:
    • The waiter at the restaurant Victoria tries to con a meal out of, who makes his opinion on her huge meal and dining companion (after Toddy joins her) quite plain.
    • Selma, Andre Cassel's secretary, engages in some snappy back-and-forth with the people who want to see her boss.
    • Squash's job is to keep King from getting hurt, not to do anything for his ego.
    King: [on phone to fake a call from another suite] Yes, this is...
    Squash: King Marchand.
  • Sexy Coat Flashing: Norma does this to Squash from the back of the train after he sends her off. He doesn't even look, but a porter Distracted by the Sexy falls over.
    Norma: Oh, are you okay?
  • Soap Punishment: King washes Norma's mouth out with soap after she warns he might become "impudent"note  from thoughts of Victor, driving her into such a rage that she attacks with a halberd which, decorative or not, still breaks through a door.
  • 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".
  • Stylistic Suck: The reprise of "The Shady Dame From Seville." Robert Preston only rehearsed it once so he could learn the lyrics. Everything going wrong was real.
  • 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.
  • Tantrum Throwing: Norma is prone to hurling objects at people when she's mad.
  • The '30s
  • This Is Gonna Suck: King winds up held between two men in the tough-guy bar he starts a fight in and gives an exasperated "oh, shit" before he gets punched.
  • Unable to Cry: When Victoria's sobs into Toddy's chest over her awful few weeks, now capped by her clothing being ruined, he says he wishes he could still cry like that.
  • 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.
    • Norma is on the receiving end when Victoria reveals her true sex to her.
      Norma: (to King) YOU TWO-TIMING SON OF A BITCH! HE'S A WOMAN!!!
  • Verbal Backspace: Victoria bursts out "here?!" in her normal voice when Cassell suggests opening in a very ritzy nightclub, and then corrects to a deeper "here," making Toddy spit back into his glass in laughter.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Norma loves whipping out teary Puppy-Dog Eyes to get what she wants.

Alternative Title(s): Victor Victoria


Example of: