Victor/Victoria is a 1982 musical comedy film. It stars Julie Andrews, James Garner, Robert Preston, Lesley Ann Warren, Alex Karras and John Rhys-Davies. The screenplay was adapted by Blake Edwards (Andrews' husband) and Hans Hoemburg from the 1933 German film Viktor und Viktoria by Reinhold Schünzel. The film was produced by Tony Adams and directed by Blake Edwards. The music for the film was composed by Henry Mancini, with lyrics by Leslie Bricusse.
The movie won the Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song Score and Its Adaptation or Best Adaptation Score. It was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Robert Preston), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Julie Andrews), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Lesley Ann Warren), Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Costume Design and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.
The film was later adapted for the stage, using Mancini's score, with additional music supplied by Frank Wildhorn after Mancini's death. Julie Andrews reprised her role as Victoria. The stage production opened on Broadway on October 25, 1995, and ran for 735 performances.
The story touches on themes of gender roles, gay tolerance and human dignity. Needless to say, gender-bending complications occur.
In 1930's Paris, Victoria Grant (Andrews), a struggling female singer, is unable to find work. She runs into Carroll Todd ("Toddy", played by Preston) at a fancy restaurant as she is scheming to plant a cockroach in her food in order to get her meal for free. Toddy has a plan to help both her and himself: Victoria will pretend to be a man, and get a job as a female impersonator in a nightclub. In order to enhance the ruse, Toddy will pretend to be her gay lover.
Soon Victoria's new persona, "Count Victor Grezinski", becomes the toast of Paris. As money and fame start to turn her (and Toddy's) lives around, an additional complication arises. King Marchand (Garner), a gangster and nightclub-owner from Chicago, finds himself at first repelled by and then strangely attracted to Victor. This encourages his burly bodyguard "Squash" Bernstein (Karras) to come out of the closet.
Victoria must come to terms with what she really wants out of life: to be true to herself by giving up her career and fame in Paris to be with the man who loves her and whom she loves, or to continue with her duplicitous profession and risk losing Marchand.
The vocal numbers in the film are presented as real-life scenes or entertainments that involve singers; this explains why neither Toddy nor Marchand sings a duet with Victoria as part of some sort of private scene. Nevertheless, the lyrics or situations of some of the songs are calculated to relate to the unfolding drama. Thus, the two staged numbers "Le Jazz Hot" and "The Shady Dame from Seville" help to present Victoria as a female impersonator. The latter number is hilariously reinterpreted by Toddy for diversionary purposes in the plot. The cozy relationship of Toddy and Victoria is promoted by the song "You and Me," which is sung before the audience at the nightclub.
In any case, perhaps the most beautiful number is Victoria's slowish waltz-song entitled "Crazy World," the lyrics of which allude to her confused status. (The music of this song is reminiscent of Mancini's famous "Moon River.")