Blake Edwards's delightful Victor/Victoria may be one of the last of the great, old-style movie musical comedies--it is so good, it was turned into a hit Broadway stage musical years later. And both versions starred Edwards's wife Julie Andrews in the title role--as Victor and Victoria. She's a down-and-out singer who hooks up with a flamboyantly gay theatrical veteran (Robert Preston), and together they become the toast of 1934 Paris by dreaming up a provocative nightclub act in which Victoria assumes the identity of a man in drag. So, in other words, Andrews plays a woman playing a man playing a woman ... and that's only the beginning of the sexual identity confusions that provide the fuel for this splendidly classy slapstick musical farce. (Yes, it's all those things.) James Garner, as a Chicago club owner, finds himself strangely besotted with this stylish, androgynous creature--even though he thinks Victor/Victoria is a man. Legendary Hollywood composer Henry Mancini (a longtime collaborator with Edwards) won his last Oscar for the score; Andrews, Preston, and Lesley Ann Warren, as Garner's cheeky girlfriend, were also nominated. Musical highlights include Victor/Victoria's sizzling "Le Jazz Hot" (in which Andrews shows off her incredible vocal range); another showstopper for Victor/Victoria, "The Shady Dame from Seville"; Preston's witty ode to "Gay Paree"; Warren's hilarious burlesque number, "King's Can-Can"; and a charmingly casual yet elegant side-by-side number, "You and Me," done in a small club by Preston and Andrews in tuxedos.
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