Wednesday Night at the Movies: Victor/Victoria (1982)

I have to admit I never cared much for musicals. Movies like Grease, Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story and the like may be visually stunnng, andeven well-acted, but breaking out in expository song to evoke the moment always put me off. Even if the songs were rather good, it still felt a little bizarre, since no one in the real world does that. (At least, no one I know.)

Victor/Victoria is a good example, however, of how a musical can attract even a diehard like me. To start out, the songs are actually part of the stage productions within the movie plot, and at no time do any of the characters just start belting out their feelings in verse. Not to mention, Julie Andrews, no stanger to those kind of musicals of which I do have a dislike, is a very fine actress. And I like Robert Preston, too.

The basic premise here is two down-and-out performers in France (Andrews and Preston) get together to pull off the ultimate con, convincing the theater public that Andrews is a man who is a female impersonator. To complicate the matter a bit, there is James Garner as a Chicago industrialist (or gangster, if you will), who is convinced, despite what the two are pretending, that the "male" Andrews is really a female.

This is actually a very funny movie without being over-the-top, or hitting you in the face with schtick, as it easily could have been. Credit for that must go to Blake Edwards' direction, as he seems to do well most of the time in that role.

The movie won an Academy Award for original music score. So my Academy Award winning movie streak still runs.

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