Today I thought we'd take a look at gender bending.
A few nights ago, I watched one of my all-time favorite boudoir farce and gender bender films, Victor Victoria.
If you haven't already seen this 1982 classic, here’s a quick synopsis:
On the verge of starvation in 1930s Paris, struggling female soprano Victoria (Julie Andrews) is rescued by gay cabaret performer Toddy (Robert Preston). What she needs to succeed, opines Toddy, is a gimmick. What if she becomes a male impersonator? Better still: what if she becomes a male impersonator, pretending to be a female impersonator? As Victor/Victoria, s/he becomes the toast of Paris, and an object of fascination for big-time Chicago gangster King Marchan (James Garner), who can't quite understand the attraction he experiences whenever watching her in action-especially since he, like everyone else, assumes that she is a he.
Determined to get the truth of Victor's gender, King sneaks into Victoria's suite and confirms his suspicion when he spies her getting into the bath. He keeps his knowledge secret and pretends that he doesn't know; all the while courting her. Eventually the two of them get together for a romantic interlude, after Victoria finally confesses to King that she is in fact not a man, but a woman.
To which King replies, "I don't care if you are a man." And then he kisses her.
I won't tell you anything more about the plot because I don't want to give it all away. Yet, I will tell you that this film is a perfect recipe of humor, charm, warmth and romance. It also carries a very special message. A message that attraction and love goes beyond the gender.
Everyone in the cast is superb, however, my favorite character and performance is Norma Cassidy (King's screechy-voiced moll) played by Lesley Ann Warren. Norma doesn't have as much screen time as the other characters, yet in my opinion, she steals the whole movie. What I enjoy about Warren's portrayal is that she makes what could be a very irritating character, so utterly lovable, that you just want to squeeze her. No matter how many times I watch her performance, I laugh my ass off every. single. time.
Here are some shots from the film...
Toddy and Victoria meet for the first time
Toddy plots Victoria's impersonation by first grooming her to become a believable man
Victor/Victoria's opening night performance
King and Victor getting to know each other
Toddy and Victor performing together at a Paris gay night club, Chez Lui
Toddy impersonating Victoria impersonating Victor
Norma just before she delivers one of my favorite lines in the script: "Yoohoo, Pookie...I'm horny."
King and Norma in bed after King had a problem "getting it UP"
Norma performing in a Chicago "mob" night club. This dance number is hilarious! And it really shows off the actor-singer-dancer talent of Warren.
So if you're ever in the mood to watch a thoroughly enjoyable film about a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman, you gotta see this one. It sparkles!
I leave you with a trailer...
Have a faaaabulous weekend everyone!