Friday, September 28, 2012

Victor/ Victoria

As a academic in the field of queer studies, and queer cinema in particular, I must be suspicious of the Blake Edwards-Julie Andrews madcap ‘Victor/Victoria’, where a woman dresses up a man and presents herself to the world as a female impersonator, a transvestite, or cross-dresser and whatever, a woman posing as a man dressing up as a woman. The idea is so preposterous, Julie Andrews’ Victoria screems in the beginning of the film, that no one would believe it. But, they do, and the film proceeds, from one song to another, from one gag to another, until an American Mafia falls in love with Victoria as Victor and vice-versa.

It’s not a classic queer text. Here, queerness is used purely for the laughs; though there are two queer characters in the film, both incidentally are the confidante of the lead pair, they are at best minor characters, and their love lives are not really an issue here. Yet, the film itself, is boisterous fun; anyone who’ve grown up seeing ‘Sound of Music’ cannot find fault in Ms Andrews, ever. I had actually more problems with another Blake Edwards film, ‘The Party’ (1968) where the inimitable Peter Sellers plays a clueless Indian.

Victor Victoria is a 1982 musical comedy film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer that involves homosexuality, transvestism and sexual identity as central themes. It stars Julie Andrews, James Garner, Robert Preston, Lesley Ann Warren, Alex Karras, and John Rhys-Davies. The film was produced by Tony Adams, directed by Blake Edwards, and scored by Henry Mancini, with lyrics by Leslie Bricusse. It was adapted in 1995 as a Broadway musical. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won the Academy Award for Original Music Score. It is a remake of Viktor und Viktoria, a German film of 1933.
More here.

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