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Blake Edwards
Julie Andrews, James Garner, Robert Preston, Lesley Ann Warren, Alex Karras
Writing Credits:
Blake Edwards

A struggling female soprano finds work playing a male female impersonator, but it complicates her personal life.

Box Office:
Domestic Gross

Rated PG

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 133 min.
Price: $21.99
Release Date: 6/14/2016

• Audio commentary from Writer/Director Blake Edwards and Actor Julie Andrews
• Trailer
• DVD Easter Egg


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Victor/Victoria [Blu-Ray] (1982)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 28, 2016)

Julie Andrews worked with her writer/director husband Blake Edwards multiple times, but only one of those efforts found a major audience: 1979’s ”10”. The film that made Dudley Moore a star in America – and turned Bo Derek into a sex symbol – became a pretty big hit.

Otherwise, their films tended to fizzle. 1981’s SOB got a lot of attention because the notoriously prim and proper Andrews exposed her breasts, but it failed to find much of an audience. 1982’s Victor/Victoria offered a “daring for its time” story of a cross-dresser and did a little better than SOB, but it still didn’t make money.

Set in Paris circa 1934, Victoria Grant (Andrews) finds it tough to make a living as a singer. Fellow vocalist Carroll "Toddy" Todd (Robert Preston) also struggles to get work, so he comes up with a novel plan.

Victoria will adopt the name “Count Victor Grazinski” and pretend to be a man – a man who then performs as a female impersonator. Matters complicate when Chicago businessman King Marchand (James Garner) falls for the stage version of Victoria, who he firmly believes is actually a woman.

And hjinks ensue, right? I guess Victor comes with a moderately clever premise, though it seems awfully “high concept”. I get the impression Edwards devised the gender-bending idea behind the film and figured that would be enough to carry the day.

It isn’t- especially at the film’s bloated running time of 133 minutes. A light comedy like Victor seems like something that should clock in around 100 minutes, tops – even two hours feels long for a frothy romp such as this, so the decision to expand the film past that sounds like a mistake.

And it is, as Victor bogs down, and bogs down hard. The plot feels like something from a sitcom, so attempts to stretch it to feature length would flop no matter what, but the 133-minute length of the film creates even bigger problems.

It doesn’t help that Edwards takes forever to launch the film’s basic conceit. We go through slow, endless scenes that act as nothing but tedious exposition. The film could’ve gone through these in a much tighter, more effective manner and shaved a good half an hour off that bloated running time.

Though I suspect even a 90-minute Victor still wouldn’t be any good. Really, we just don’t get nearly enough plot to sustain the film, and the characters fail to expand in a positive manner. They don’t seem especially interesting or delightful, so their interactions bore.

None of the actors create chemistry. Andrews offers some of her usual charm, but she never seems even vaguely convincing as a male, and she demonstrates zero chemistry with Garner. We never invest in the burgeoning Victoria/King romance because there’s no spark between them.

Andrews and Preston also show no connection, though I find it hard to get past his haircut. Virtually everyone else in the movie boasts period appropriate locks, but for reasons unknown, Preston comes with a serious case of Big 80s Hair. Perhaps he told Edwards he’d only make the movie if he didn’t have to change his look – or maybe Edwards didn’t care. Whatever the case, Preston creates a strange anachronism.

Though Edwards himself felt more than a little anachronistic by 1982. The filmmaker hit his peak in the 1960s and he seemed largely unable to adjust his style for changing times. This leaves Victor as a film that feels out of place – even in 1982, it came across as dated.

The biggest problem remains the movie’s slow, dull nature, though. Victor/Victoria simply lacks personality and it goes nowhere.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus C+

Victor/Victoria appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Films circa 1982 can tend to look iffy, but this one came across pretty well.

Sharpness seemed largely solid. A few shots came across as a little soft and fuzzy, especially during interiors. For the most part, though, the movie appeared distinct and accurate. No problems with jaggies or shimmering occurred, and edge haloes were absent. Source flaws also failed to be a factor.

Colors seemed fairly distinct and vivid. The film opted for a palette heavy on reds and ambers, and these seemed mostly positive, though a few shots looked a bit heavy. Blacks were pretty dark, and shadows were fine, with mostly strong delineation. Overall, the transfer replicated the source well.

Note that the original Blu-ray suffered from an error, as it accidentally repeats one eight-second shot. By the time you order, you may get the corrected version, but if you receive the original, you can request a replacement at http://www.warnerbros.com/customer-service.

Given the film’s age, I felt pleased with its DTS-HD MA 5.1, though the mix mainly hewed to the front speakers. In that spectrum, I heard reasonably good stereo separation and imaging for the music, and effects also spread across the forward channels to a positive degree.

Surround usage appeared to be modest. In general, the rear speakers offered general reinforcement of the score and some mild ambient effects. A few scenes opened up better – like crowd noise at a club or a rain storm – but the track concentrated on the front most of the time.

Audio quality was dated but good. Dialogue occasionally displayed some edginess, but speech usually seemed reasonably natural and distinct, and I heard no concerns related to intelligibility. Effects also demonstrated periodic bouts of distortion; gunfire provided the most notable examples of these concerns. Otherwise, those elements sounded acceptably clean and accurate.

Music also seemed pretty positive. The score and songs showed reasonable pep and held up well over the last 34 years. Nothing about the soundtrack excelled, but I felt that the audio seemed more than satisfactory based on its age.

The disc’s most intriguing supplement comes from an audio commentary with writer/director Blake Edwards and actor Julie Andrews. Both sit together for their running, screen-specific look at the source material’s adaptation and characters/story, cast and performances, sets and production design, cinematography, editing, music and related domains.

For the track’s first hour or so, it works pretty well. Despite occasional lulls, Edwards and Andrews remain fairly involved and they add a nice mix of stories and facts about the film.

After that, however, the commentary goes downhill. Silence becomes more prevalent, and Edwards largely vanishes. This leaves Andrews to carry the weight, and she can’t shoulder the load. Some decent notes still emerge during the movie’s second half, but not many, so this ends up as an erratic commentary that gets less engaging as it goes.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we get a DVD Easter Egg. This provides a 36-second clip in which Edwards tells us a little about Andrews – very little, so don’t expect much.

By the way, I don’t view this as an “extra”, but note that the disc includes “Song Selection” instead of standard “Chapter Search”. While the Blu-ray includes many chapter markings beyond 12 songs, you can’t directly access any of those from the main menu.

Vaguely outrageous in 1982, Victor/Victoria now lacks the same gender-bending sizzle and needs to stand on its own merits. It flops, as the movie seems too long, too slow, too witless and too dull. The Blu-ray offers fairly good picture and audio as well as an erratic commentary. Victor drags and bores.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4 Stars Number of Votes: 6
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