Victor/Victoria (1982)

PG | 133 mins | Comedy, Romance | 19 March 1982

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HISTORY

       Although not listed onscreen, characters sing lyrics to the Daniel E. Kelley and Dr. Brester M. Higley song, “Home On The Range.”
       According to a 21 Jul 1983 WSJ article, production executive Allan Buckhantz acquired rights to the 1933 German film, Viktor und Viktoria, in 1971. As stated by the 10 Apr 1982 Screen International, the German production had also been used as the basis for the 1935 British film, First a Girl, starring Jessie Matthews.
       In 1977, talent agent Martin Baum introduced Buckhantz to filmmaker Blake Edwards, who negotiated a deal for the remake rights, and amassed initial development costs of $140,000. Lorimar Productions agreed to finance the film, and Edwards began writing the script in 1979. The rights were then transferred to Edwards in exchange for Buckhantz being compensated $175,000 and five percent of eventual profits. He also received an additional $175,000 to be credited as an executive producer. In Mar 1980, however, Baum informed Buckhantz that the picture would not get made unless he gave up his executive producer title. His company, Buckhantz-NMC Company, Incorporated, is credited onscreen as “associate producer,” and preproduction began in Oct 1980.
       On 30 Dec 1980, DV reported that the project had moved to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). The 23 Jul 1980 DV stated that Peter Sellers was offered the male lead, but the actor suffered a heart attack and died the following day, on 24 Jul 1980, before production got underway. The 30 Dec 1980 HR noted that preproduction continued in London, England, with musical rehearsals scheduled to begin in early Feb 1981. The 5 Mar 1981 ... More Less

       Although not listed onscreen, characters sing lyrics to the Daniel E. Kelley and Dr. Brester M. Higley song, “Home On The Range.”
       According to a 21 Jul 1983 WSJ article, production executive Allan Buckhantz acquired rights to the 1933 German film, Viktor und Viktoria, in 1971. As stated by the 10 Apr 1982 Screen International, the German production had also been used as the basis for the 1935 British film, First a Girl, starring Jessie Matthews.
       In 1977, talent agent Martin Baum introduced Buckhantz to filmmaker Blake Edwards, who negotiated a deal for the remake rights, and amassed initial development costs of $140,000. Lorimar Productions agreed to finance the film, and Edwards began writing the script in 1979. The rights were then transferred to Edwards in exchange for Buckhantz being compensated $175,000 and five percent of eventual profits. He also received an additional $175,000 to be credited as an executive producer. In Mar 1980, however, Baum informed Buckhantz that the picture would not get made unless he gave up his executive producer title. His company, Buckhantz-NMC Company, Incorporated, is credited onscreen as “associate producer,” and preproduction began in Oct 1980.
       On 30 Dec 1980, DV reported that the project had moved to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). The 23 Jul 1980 DV stated that Peter Sellers was offered the male lead, but the actor suffered a heart attack and died the following day, on 24 Jul 1980, before production got underway. The 30 Dec 1980 HR noted that preproduction continued in London, England, with musical rehearsals scheduled to begin in early Feb 1981. The 5 Mar 1981 DV reported that composer Henry Mancini and lyricist Leslie Bricusse had completed pre-recording on five musical numbers with Andrews and Robert Preston. A 4 Jul 1982 LAHExam story claimed Edwards offered Preston the role of “Carroll ‘Toddy’ Todd” a few months after working with him and Andrews on S.O.B. (1981, see entry), and the actor reportedly welcomed the departure from his recent “heavy” work in film and on Broadway.
       A 26 Aug 1981 MGM memorandum stated that principal photography began 2 Mar 1981 and completed 22 Jun 1981. The 1 Jul 1981 Var indicated that shooting concluded two days ahead of schedule. A 21 Apr 1981 HR article stated that exterior filming was originally planned in Paris, France, followed by interiors in Munich, Germany. However, budgetary constraints caused filmmakers to relocate to Pinewood Studios in London. According to production notes, the entirety of shooting took place within fifteen sound stages, where multiple interior and exterior sets were built, including a 110-foot wide Parisian street, which accommodated fifteen period vehicles and three-story buildings, and required the assistance of half of Pinewood’s staff to build. The 15 Apr 1981 DV reported that Lesley Ann Warren and Alex Karras were expected to begin work that week.
       Victor/Victoria marked the sixth consecutive feature film collaboration of Edwards and producer Tony Adams. Production notes stated that the crew consisted of at least twenty members from Edwards’ various Pink Panther series, and twenty from S.O.B. In the 19 Aug 1984 LAT, the director’s son, assistant editor Geoffrey Edwards, denied allegations of nepotism and claimed that he was brought to work on the film as a staff member of editor Ralph E. Winters.
       Shortly after the 26 Sep 1981 Var reported that dialogue looping, dubbing, and scoring was underway at a Pinewood’s post-production facility, a 1 Oct 1981 HR brief indicated that the picture had entered the final stages of editing.
       On 10 Nov 1981, DV stated that the film was scheduled to be screened at a three-day retrospective of Edwards’ career during the Judith Crist Tarrytown Film Weekend in Tarrytown, NY, beginning 27 Nov 1981. A 10 Feb 1982 Var brief reported that the world premiere would take place 16 Mar 1982 as the opening night screening at Filmex in Los Angeles, CA. According to the 9 Mar 1982 HR, Victor/Victoria’s limited world premiere engagement began 19 Mar 1982, in New York City, Los Angeles, and Toronto, Canada. The 24 Mar 1982 LAT reported respectable opening weekend box-office earnings of $2.2 million in those cities, and a 12 Apr 1982 MGM press release reported that the two-week domestic box-office gross totaled $5,571,802 from 611 theaters. The 24 Mar 1982 DV named the picture as the 26 Mar 1982 opening gala premiere for the USA Film Festival in Dallas, TX. On 10 Nov 1982, MGM announced that Victor/Victoria would return for re-release in sixty New York City theaters beginning 24 Nov 1982.
       The film earned an Academy Award for Best Music, and an additional six nominations: Actor in a Supporting Role—Robert Preston, Actress in a Leading Role—Julie Andrews, Actress in a Supporting Role—Lesley Ann Warren, Art Direction, Costume Design, and Writing. Victor/Victoria is #76 on AFI’s list of the 100 Funniest American Movies of All Time.
       Despite its critical acclaim, however, the 21 Jul 1983 WSJ reported that the film was still $22 million short of recouping production costs, upsetting Allan Buckhantz, who agreed to his earlier five percent profit participation deal believing in the project’s potential for success. Buckhantz claimed that over $2 million of the budget was due to the “improperly inflated” expense of “questionable items” unrelated to production, and on 18 May 1984, LAT reported that Edwards denied MGM/United Artists’ 16 Apr 1983 allegations of “fraudulent overspending” on Victor/Victoria, Trail of the Pink Panther (1982, see entry), and Curse of the Pink Panther (1983, see entry), in response to the studio’s $340 million lawsuit against him. The outcome of the suit could not be determined as of the writing of this Note.
       Not long after the film’s return engagement and awards contention, the 22 Dec 1982 HR announced that Broadway producer Bob Wells and composer Cy Coleman were closing negotiations with Edwards and UA for the rights to develop Victor/Victoria as a stage musical. It was not until 1995, however, when the 16 Feb HR confirmed the show’s upcoming 18 Oct 1995 premiere, with Andrews set to reprise her role. The show ultimately opened 25 Oct 1995 at the Marquis Theatre and closed 27 Jul 1997.
      End credits include the following acknowledgment: “The producers wish to thank Mr. Cyril Howard and his staff at Pinewood Studios for their cooperation in making this motion picture,” and note that the film was made “At Pinewood Studios, Iver, Bucks, England.”
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
LOCATION
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
23 Jul 1980.
---
Daily Variety
30 Dec 1980.
---
Daily Variety
5 Mar 1981.
---
Daily Variety
27 Mar 1981.
---
Daily Variety
15 Apr 1981.
---
Daily Variety
10 Nov 1981.
---
Daily Variety
24 Feb 1982.
---
Daily Variety
24 Mar 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Dec 1980
p. 1, 16.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Apr 1981
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Oct 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Mar 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Mar 1982
p. 32.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Dec 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Feb 1995.
---
LAHExam
4 Jul 1982.
---
Los Angeles Times
17 Jul 1981.
---
Los Angeles Times
14 Mar 1982
p. 29.
Los Angeles Times
24 Mar 1982.
---
Los Angeles Times
18 May 1984.
Section VI, p. 1, 8.
Los Angeles Times
19 Aug 1984.
---
New York Times
19 Mar 1982
p. 8.
Screen International
13--20 Jun 1981.
---
Screen International
10 Apr 1982.
---
Variety
1 Jul 1981.
---
Variety
26 Sep 1981.
---
Variety
10 Feb 1982.
---
Variety
17 Mar 1982
p. 24.
WSJ
21 Jul 1983.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Presents
Blake Edwards'
Made by Peerford Limited
In Association With Artista Management A. G.
From Blake Edwards Entertainment
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Focus puller
Clapper/Loader
Cam grip
Still photog
Gaffer
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
Sketch artist
FILM EDITORS
Ed [English]
Asst ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Scenic artist
Const mgr
Prod buyer
Prop master
Stand-by props
Stand-by dressing
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward supv
Ward mistress
MUSIC
Orig mus
Lyrics by
Mus ed
Prod orch
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Sd eng
Sd eff des by
Sd ed
Chief dubbing mixer
Dubbing mixer
Dubbing mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Main title montage
Spec eff supv
DANCE
Choreog
Asst choreog
MAKEUP
Miss Andrews' hair by
of Michaeljohn
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Chief hairdresser
Hairdresser
Hairdresser
Wigs
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod supv
Dir of pub
Continuity
Prod accountant
Prod asst
Asst to Mr. Adams
Asst to Mr. Edwards
Pub asst
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
COLOR PERSONNEL
Processed by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the German film Viktor und Viktoria conceived by Hans Hoemburg, written and directed by Reinhold Schünzel (Ufa, 1933).
DETAILS
Release Date:
19 March 1982
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles Filmex world premiere: 16 March 1982
Los Angeles, New York, and Toronto openings: 19 March 1982
Production Date:
2 March--22 June 1981 in London, England
Copyright Claimant:
Ladbroke Entertainments, Ltd.
Copyright Date:
9 April 1982
Copyright Number:
PA145014
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo® in selected theaters
Color
Lenses
Filmed in Panavision®
Prints
Prints in Metrocolor®
Duration(in mins):
133
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
26374
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

During the winter of 1934, in Paris, France, a young socialite named Richard Di Nardo awakens and callously demands to borrow money from his elder male lover, nightclub performer Carroll “Toddy” Todd. After Richard leaves, Toddy enters Chez Lui, the nightclub where he works, and watches struggling singer Victoria Grant audition for the unimpressed Monsieur Labisse. Once again rejected for her operatic voice, Victoria trudges through the snowy streets, swooning with hunger. Upon returning to her dingy hotel, she evades the proprietor’s demand for her rent and faints on the floor, but fearfully revives at the sight of a cockroach in the room. During a performance at Chez Lui that evening, Toddy starts a fight with a group of snobbish patrons, and is fired. As he leaves, he spots Victoria devouring a multi-course meal in a lower-class restaurant. He compliments her singing voice, and she invites him to join her for dinner, revealing that she has captured the cockroach from her hotel and plans to skip the bill by hiding it in her food. Suspicious, the manager insists Victoria pay for Toddy’s “bug-less” meal, but the other diners panic, allowing her and Toddy to escape. After Toddy catches a cold in the rain, Victoria accompanies him to his apartment and tells him about her past as an opera soprano in Bath, England, with her former husband, Sam. As she prepares to leave, she finds that her dress and coat have shrunk, and Toddy insists she stay the night. The next morning, Victoria dresses in Richard’s suit. Inspired by her androgynous appearance, Toddy cuts her hair and brings her to Paris’s most respected agent, Andre Cassell, presenting her as his ... +


During the winter of 1934, in Paris, France, a young socialite named Richard Di Nardo awakens and callously demands to borrow money from his elder male lover, nightclub performer Carroll “Toddy” Todd. After Richard leaves, Toddy enters Chez Lui, the nightclub where he works, and watches struggling singer Victoria Grant audition for the unimpressed Monsieur Labisse. Once again rejected for her operatic voice, Victoria trudges through the snowy streets, swooning with hunger. Upon returning to her dingy hotel, she evades the proprietor’s demand for her rent and faints on the floor, but fearfully revives at the sight of a cockroach in the room. During a performance at Chez Lui that evening, Toddy starts a fight with a group of snobbish patrons, and is fired. As he leaves, he spots Victoria devouring a multi-course meal in a lower-class restaurant. He compliments her singing voice, and she invites him to join her for dinner, revealing that she has captured the cockroach from her hotel and plans to skip the bill by hiding it in her food. Suspicious, the manager insists Victoria pay for Toddy’s “bug-less” meal, but the other diners panic, allowing her and Toddy to escape. After Toddy catches a cold in the rain, Victoria accompanies him to his apartment and tells him about her past as an opera soprano in Bath, England, with her former husband, Sam. As she prepares to leave, she finds that her dress and coat have shrunk, and Toddy insists she stay the night. The next morning, Victoria dresses in Richard’s suit. Inspired by her androgynous appearance, Toddy cuts her hair and brings her to Paris’s most respected agent, Andre Cassell, presenting her as his lover, Polish female impersonator, “Count Victor Grazinski.” Sneaking past the agent’s uptight receptionist, Toddy has “Victor” sing for Cassell, who immediately signs him to open a show at one of the city’s most exclusive clubs. For the opening night performance, “Victor” is introduced as a female stage performer named “Victoria,” and successfully fools the audience into believing “he” is a woman. When he removes his wig, the reveal confuses King Marchan, a successful nightclub owner from Chicago, Illinois, who found himself attracted to “Victoria.” Despite gushing praise from his date, Norma Cassady, King remains skeptical about the singer’s true sex. As “Victor” criticizes his preoccupation with gender stereotypes, Victoria finds him attractive, but insufferably arrogant. Outside, Norma is surprised to learn that Toddy is homosexual, and laughs at the possibility of having a sexual encounter with a woman. Toddy surprises Victoria by checking into an extravagant hotel, coincidentally located across the street from King and Norma’s room. Momentarily aroused by the sight of “Victor” through the window, King is unable to make love with Norma. Fed up with her incessant talking, King stuffs a bar of soap in her mouth and orders his bodyguard, “Squash” Bernstein, to send her back to Chicago. Following another performance, King sneaks into the bathroom closet of “Victor’s” hotel room and watches as Victoria undresses for a bath. Satisfied that she is actually a woman, he crawls out of the hotel room unnoticed. Meanwhile, in Chicago, Norma resumes her act as a lascivious nightclub singer and tells King’s corrupt gangster business partner, Sal Andratti, the reason for her break-up with King. In Paris, King invites “Victor,” Andre, and Toddy to dinner to discuss a deal for “Victor” to perform at his American nightclub. As Toddy and Andre excuse themselves from the table, King questions “Victor” about his supposed relationship with Toddy and invites the group to accompany him to Chez Lui later that evening. Once there, “Victor” is instantly recognized and ushered onstage to sing with Toddy. However, the club’s patrons cause another commotion, and King escapes with “Victor” moments before the police arrive. Proclaiming he does not care if he is a man, King kisses “Victor,” prompting the imposter to admit, “I’m not a man,” as she returns the embrace. Later, Squash barges in on King and Victoria making love, and, mistakenly believing his boss is gay, happily confesses his own homosexuality. Although King urges Victoria to end her charade, she admits that pretending to be a man has “emancipated” her with opportunities she could never have as a woman. Because she refuses to give up performing as “Victor,” King remains concerned that people will think he is a homosexual. Victoria is disappointed, and they decide not to pursue their relationship. Shortly after, however, Squash begins an affair with Toddy, and King gets a black eye from fighting one of the instigators of the club disaster, prompting him to ask Victoria if they can try living together. Meanwhile, Chez Lui’s Monsieur Labisse, wallowing in his now-empty venue, hires private investigator Charles Bovin to uncover “Victor’s” true identity. Still disguised, Victoria continues her relationship with King, each of them struggling to appreciate activities the other enjoys. One night, at her request, they go dancing at a gay club, but King’s overwhelming discomfort forces them to leave. Sending Victoria home, King visits a grungy bar and attempts to assert his masculinity by starting a fistfight with the working-class patrons. Eventually, however, they make amends and he leads them in a drunken chorus of “Home On The Range.” As the lovesick Victoria’s increasing unhappiness about being separated from King begins to affect her work as “Victor,” she decides to reveal her true identity after the show the following night. Moments later, Squash announces that King’s relationship with the thought-to-be man has gotten him in trouble with the homophobic Sal, who has arrived with Norma to sever their business connection. Barging into their meeting, “Victor” pushes Norma into a bedroom and undresses, exposing her femininity and salvaging King’s reputation with the gangster. Before “Victor’s” final show, Labisse arrives with a police inspector to threaten Andre, Toddy, and Victoria with fraud. However, they leave “Victor’s” dressing room thoroughly assured that the partially nude performer they saw was, in fact, a man. A few moments later, Victoria, donning a feminine dress and hairstyle, joins King at his table in the audience. The final performance begins, revealing that Toddy has assumed “Victor’s” “Victoria” stage persona, clumsily parading around the theater to the crowd’s uproarious laughter and applause. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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