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Musical Monday: Victor/Victoria

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Yes, it's Victor/Victoria! And we hate you all for it!

You see, we never really planned on doing many of the latter musicals because they're too self-aware to parody. What was subtext in a classic MGM musical becomes text in anything post-Saturday Night Fever.

Well, you bitches kept asking for this one and as we perused the racks of the local videostore (because NetFlix can't seem to find our address), our eyes fell on this oft-requested musical and we thought "Well, why not?" It's certainly a gay classic and god knows, we've had plenty of fun at Julie Andrews' expense already. We should've stuck to our gay guns on this one because it's practically impossible to make fun of a movie that spends all its time making fun of itself.

So strap yourself in. bitches. We'll give it our best shot, but this looks like it's going to be a very different kind of Musical Monday.

Our story starts here as "pathetic old queer" Toddy, played by Robert Preston, wakes up to find his self-loathing gigolo rooting through his wallet.

We have...opinions on Preston's performance and the character of Toddy, but they tend to be a little contradictory, so we're going to try and work our way through them as we go along.

Later, Julie, as down-on-her-luck opera singer Victoria Grant, is auditioning for a job that's totally beneath her at Chez Lui, a Parisian gay cabaret where Toddy happens to perform. She doesn't get the job because (as she's told) it's like teaching a nun to be a governess to seven children.

A streetwalker! We meant a streetwalker. It's like teaching a nun to be a streetwalker. We're not quite sure what that means but she's apparently too good for Chez Lui. She shatters a wine glass on her way out.

Later, she wanders the cold Paris streets, hungry and bereft. She apparently had the superpower to shatter glass with her voice, so we're not sure why she didn't just hit a high note and reach in to take the eclair away from the fat guy.

That night, Toddy, who apparently shares the same hairstylist as Barbara Bush, performs for...

...Joan Rivers, some stone cold bitch, and his money-grubbing gigolo (among others). He says something pithy, a fight breaks out and he gets fired from Chez Lui.

He runs into Victoria and tells her he caught her audition and thought she was wonderful. She "buys" him dinner by ordering everything on the menu and causing a cockroach-induced riot when it comes time to pay the bill. They sneak out into the rain.

And head back to Toddy's place for some cognac and expositional dialogue while waiting for their clothes to dry. Julie's cheapass clothes are ruined and she winds up staying the night. Toddy is for the most part sexless, so she doesn't give her safety a second thought.

The next morning, she dresses like a man and beats up the gigolo while Toddy watches and masturbates.

Toddy has a brilliant idea to pass Julie off as a man because - well, just look at her. She's positively dripping with testosterone.

He gets her a high-paying gig and teaches her the ancient art of drag queenery. Apparently, it's "lots of shoulder."

Y'know, we were just tiny little baby fags when this movie came out, so it's fun to watch it as the jaded old queens we've become. It's true, there really is a lot of shoulder in drag queenery.

During rehearsals, Toddy spends his time feeling the taut little asses of the chorus boys while they pretend not to notice.

On opening night the DIVINE Lesley Ann Warren - the true STAR of this film - attends with her boyfriend, King Marchand (James Garner), a Chicago gangster and nightclub owner along with his bodyguard (Alex Karras).

If you are a gay man over the age of 35, you won't get far telling us that this was not an iconic performance for you because we simply won't believe you. Hit it, Julie:

Fabulous. Lorenzo admits that he used to perform this number behind closed doors as a teenager. Tom is not quite ready to admit that yet.


After the show, Lesley Ann is thrilled to meet the man who gave her man a hardon. Look for her in The Dina McGreevey Story on Lifetime this fall.

Jim Garner, not so much. He doesn't believe "Victor" is really a man. Where'd he get a crazy idea like that? Julie Andrews is TOTALLY butch! She's practically a lumberjack!

Later, Lesley Ann taunts Jim in their divinely appointed art deco suite. He tells her to fuck off.

So she gets to redecorating.

No gay man would lay on satin sheets with an open bottle of champagne fully dressed in expensive clothes.

Jim tries to sex Lesley Ann but she doesn't have a penis, so he can't get it up. Take a good look: Tom and Katie in 20 years.

Later, she takes to openly masturbating on public transportation. Katie, if you're reading this, this could be YOU. Get out, now!

The other iconic performance from this film. Although Tom can state definitively that he did NOT perform this behind closed doors. Ever. The jury's still out on Lorenzo.

That night, Jim hangs out in the linen closet and masturbates while Julie takes a bath. He's a bit disappointed that her penis is apparently very small.

Okay, okay. Maybe it's not iconic but damn if that girl didn't deserve an Oscar for this number alone. Fucking HYSTERICAL. Tom once rode in an elevator with Lesley Ann Warren many years later and he wanted to mention this scene to her but chickened out.

Anyway, she goes crying to Jim's business partner that he's turned gay on her in Paris.

Meanwhile, Christopher Atkins gets some work on the side.

Just a little reminder that normally, it's not that hard to tell when a "woman" has a penis, y'know?

Later, Julie beats up an old woman.

And the Stonewall riots break out.

Jim and Julie finally do it and she can't understand why he keeps insisting on doggie-style.

Finally, she tells him that she is penisless.

Meanwhile, Toddy and Alex are doing that thing that all gay men do in bed. Having tea.

Look, Robert Preston did a great job in the role and it was certainly a forward-looking take on a gay character for the time. It's just that he's so sexless and too often portrayed as pathetic and world-weary that we have a hard time with his character.

Plus, the hair. It drives us nuts. No one went around with blow-dried hair in Paris in the 1930s.

Anyway, Jim and Julie decide to go public with the love that dare not speak its name but he's a top and he always wants to lead.


Later, his business partners kidnap him because they think he's gay. The plot's kinda speeding along like a train out of control at this point.

So, Lesley Ann finds out that Julie has a vagina and apparently that solves everything.

Julie is now free to do that thing that Julie Andrews is contractually obligated to do in every one of her films: wear a hideously unflattering dress. It really says something that her character dressed better when she was a man.

And then, for no reason whatsoever, Toddy gives a drag performance so awful that there's no way in hell he's gay. Why the film ended this way, we have no idea.

52 comments:

I still remember seeing this as a teenager in west Texas in the early Eighties. One of the first gay positive movies I had ever seen and still holds a special place in my heart.

I'm 41 and yes, I bought the soundtrack and listend to Le Jazz Hot over and over and over again. I'm glad i'm not the only gay guy who performed it in their bedroom. :)


"Jim tries to sex Lesley Ann but she doesn't have a penis, so he can't get it up. Take a good look: Tom and Katie in 20 years." LMAO! But Katie will NEVER look that good! Glad today is my day off so I didn't have to LOL at work. You are correct about LAW; she totally stole this movie!


"Pookie! I'm horny!" This movie is ALL ABOUT Lesley Ann Warren. She RULES!

The thing that makes this film irresistible is that it is so good-hearted. Everyone appears to be having a ball. You are right about musicals from the last 30 years, yet in some ways the attitudes expressed are quite old-school. That probably says more about Blake Edwards than anything else. None the less, it was a milestone in gay-themed cinema, a big hit, and great fun. And you had fun with it! YAY!


I saw this when I was probably 12 years old, and I had NO IDEA what it was about. I just remember loving the songs, and Julie Andrews, and I thought James Garner was so cute. All the gay context went right over my little head. But I've always remembered this as a great movie, but probably haven't seen it in 20 or more years.


Is it wrong that every time I see Alex Karras I think, "Mongo only pawn in game of life." ?


"Toddy, who apparently shares the same hairstylist as Barbara Bush"
- even when you don't have much to work with, T&L, you find hysterical things to say.

Chalk me up as another Le Jazz Hot teen upstairs behind closed doors. It was a good "gay" movie in the early 80's. Nowadays, it's a bit too light for me.

But the Norma character (Lesley Ann Warren) is perfect. My favorite is when Julie takes her in the bedroom and she lets out a panicked, "Stop!" followed by a naughty, whispering, "Lock the door."

And I still blow mouth farts on Ed's shoulder every once in a while and say, "Kiiiiiing, I'm haw-nee," in my best Norma voice.

I enjoyed the movie as a teen so I was very excited when it was coming to Broadway in 1995. It was one of the first shows to push tickets to the $75/80 price, but I paid it. Big mistake. It was crap. Tony Roberts was no Robert Preston. And at the age of 60, Julie was too darned old to play the role she had played at 47 onscreen. In the production numbers, she just stood there while chorus boys picked her up and moved her around so she appeared to be dancing. The only decent thing in the whole production was Rachel York playing the Lesley Ann Warren role. Hysterical, and she should have won a Tony. When this BAD Broadway musical received only one Tony nomination (for Andrews) she famously turned it down, saying, "I have searched my heart, and find that I can not accept the nomination, when the rest of the company have been so egregiously overlooked."

Liza replaced Julie on Broadway during her vacation. She was supposedly a mess onstage and missed a lot of shows. Julie as a woman playing a man playing a woman was bad enough. Liza as the same is just nuts. With a dad like Vincent Minelli, husbands like Peter Allen and David Gest, and hordes of scremin' queens for fans, what does Liza know from men?

For me, this was the last movie where Garner still looked somewhat hunky. After this one, he passed rather quickly into geezer-hood.


God i love this movie!! i was a kid when it came out and because i was obsessed with 'the sound of music' and 'thoroughly modern millie' (my parents had bought me the VHS tapes - i was probably 5 years old?), she took me to see this too. I know, SUCH A QUEEN from the start. Anyway "le jazz hot" and lesley ann's "chicago" changed my life, and have influenced many a "alone-in-my-room" moments too!
PS- i never noticed how much Preston's hair doesn't match the style of 1930's Paris. but with Julie and Lesley around, who's looking at Robert??


Lady Prisspott

I agree Bill, "Lock the door" is THE line in this movie.

I can't leave the house with Lord Prisspott without whispering, "Lawk tha douer".


My boys, that last number must be for us straight folk, I guess. The fun of the Shady Dame from Seville ala Dame Preston is that he's having so much bloody fun doing it - and consequently, it's a blast to watch. You can also tell it was about 80% adlibbed ("you bitch").

And c'mon - not all gay men make good drag queens. Hell, even some of the gay theatre majors I used to know would have made an ass of themsleves doing anything musical.

Regardless, thanks for the effort - I appreciate creating Satire out of farce must not be easy, but it still gave me my much needed musical Monday smile.

I also saw the stage version - Rachel York was terrific (not quite to Ms. Warren's level, but great nonetheless.) But I have to agree that Tony Roberts was just flat. Another bright spot was Greg Jbara in the Alex Karras role - he was great, and was gracious enough to talk to me for a bit after the show. Created an instant fan.

AES


I forgot about the "Lock the door!" line. It is THE funniest moment in the movie!


thombeau said...

"Pookie! I'm horny!" This movie is ALL ABOUT Lesley Ann Warren. She RULES!

The thing that makes this film irresistible is that it is so good-hearted. Everyone appears to be having a ball. You are right about musicals from the last 30 years, yet in some ways the attitudes expressed are quite old-school. That probably says more about Blake Edwards than anything else. None the less, it was a milestone in gay-themed cinema, a big hit, and great fun. And you had fun with it! YAY!

Word!
The adorable Thom speaks for me as well. I saw this in film school w/ the incomparable USC cinema maven, Dr. Drew Casper. It changed my life.

Emma P.

And I've said it before, Robert Preston & Leslie Anne Warren were robbed @ Oscar time!


For me, a child of the 80s, Alex Karras will always be George Papadapolis, Webster's Dad.

And GAWD I love Lesley Ann Warren! For her more recent work I loved her character on Will & Grace!


Well, of course you boys had to blog this movie. You wouldn't want o be accused of 'egregiously overlooking' it! (I don't remember what year Julie Andrews stopped the Tonys with that line, but I'm guessing Bill knows!)

As for Tom & Katie, well, Scientology is like the Jersey Mob, but without the acrylic nails. And Katie is their Carmella Soprano. She's in til Tom orders the onion rings & the screen goes blank

--Gotham Tomato


Tom & Katie in 10 years, OMG Fabulous!


"Take a good look: Tom and Katie in 20 years."

Classic!!!!

OK bitches, all bets are off....since you are going post SNF, I will again put in my request for "Dirty Dancing"...


Yeah...you should have listened to your guts. This was a mildly entertaining film at the time, but it has had WAY more life than it deserves...and it just doesn't deserve the Monday Musical treatment.

Thanks for trying, but ignore those harping email bitches the next time they are harassing you about doing something you shouldn't.

Thanks for tryin', though.

d.


I never saw the movie, but I thought your review was big fun! That Leslie Ann Warren number was priceless!! I loved Robert Preston in The Music Man so much, maybe I should watch this movie just for him and Ms. Warren. Thanks so much, TLo. You guys are by far the best thing about Monday!
-Vindaloo


Even as a just-blossoming byke, I fell desperately hard for both Julie Andrews and Robert Preston.

I sang many rounds of "The Shady Dame from Seville" and sounded far too much like Toddy.

My husband saw it at an awkward time in his trans life, and was rather jealous of Julie...


I adore Lesley Ann Warren, and this film is a big part of why.

I know it's been said, but the Tom & Katie thing? Genius.


Tom & Katie in 20 years.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Snort!
Actually, it's Tom & Katie in 5 years if you ask me. And another thing - Julie and Leslie in a cage match with Zeta-Jones and Zellweger - Julie and Leslie would stomp on them without ever mussing up their makeup!


Um, Tank Girl is a musical...

no, really, it is...


Love all the comments!! This is probably one of my favorite movies when I'm in the mood to not think and just laugh. LAW really did steal the show, but I think the innuendo in the film was so in-your-face that it was sometimes missed! Being a singer, the only thing I found off about the film was having a man hit a note that could shatter crystal. I have never heard of that being done.


Take a good look: Tom and Katie in 20 years." Fantastic!

profp


Tom in Chicago

I had no idea there was so much masturbating going on.

No mention of the vagina hat in the Jazz Hot number? Shouldn't that have been giveaway that she was a broad?


Please, would you consider covering DAMN YANKEES on a future musical Monday?


Julie's outfit in "Le Jazz Hot" is worth the price of the DVD alone.

I loved the movie the first time I saw it, and STILL love it. I don't care if the ending makes no sense, my sweet, departed mother (who would be 91 this year) used to laugh herself to tears over "You bitches!"

And I loved your review, too. You poke fun at some of my favorite films and they don't lose an inch. And some of the best comments to date.

(Tom and Katie. Snork, snork snork.)


Lesley Ann Warren? LOVE her! (Clue is one of my favorite movies.) But I had no idea she was in this (never saw it, needless to say). Gotta check this out next time I'm in TLA.

[And allow me to request again the bitchy fag treatment for The Apple.]


KiP


I absolutely loved LAW in Cinderella as a child...interesting that Julie Andrews did a previous TV version! If you see LAW's version, you'll see that she obviuosly had major cosmetic dental work done at some point after that...


Fantastic movie!!!!I always have trouble with actually calling it a musical though...The stage version was good fun but alot of the added songs weren't that memorable though.

If you're taking requests: THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN-now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I deleted my own comment - can't spell before my first cuppa.

Leslie Ann Warren made that movie; she owns it. Chicago, Illinois has to be my all time favorite number of any musical, old or new. And your comment, Take a good look: Tom and Katie in 20 years. made me gush coffee outta my nose.

Julie Andrews as a man? Hahahahahahah! Still, I miss Blake Edwards' slap stick comedy. It was corny, but good natured.


"Take a good look: Tom and Katie in 20 years."

Once again, I peed a little.


Me too, me too! Lesley Ann is so utterly right in everything she does. She seems especially good in small parts, stealing the show. She was terrific as a "Columbo" villian, a homicidal mother in an Aerosmith video, a madam in "Clue", even in a creepy-ass duet with Gonzo on The Muppet Show."

Okay, there was a weird Cinderella movie, but I think she was stoned so it doesn't count.

Anyway, keep blogging the good and the bad musicals. It's entertaining either way.


Victor/Victoria? Can All That Jazz be far behind?


bitchybitchybitchy

Is it wrong that every time I see Alex Karras I think, "Mongo only pawn in game of life." ?

NO! LMAO! That line has always cracked me up ever since I first saw "Blazing Saddles"

Speaking of which, T&L, how about doing Madeleine Kahn's breathtakingly hysterical send-up of Marlene Dietrich from "Blazing Saddles"?


Oh damn. Everyone loved the "Tom and Katie in 20 years" joke, but I don't get it. I feel so ashamed:( Will someone please explain it to the slow one in the bunch?
-Vindaloo


Sadly, after Jazz Hot, my biggest memory of this film is LAW's famous dance shot, where she showed that the carpet didn't match the drapes.


oh poor vindaloo, "Tom and Katie" are TomKat, Tom Cruise and Katie Whatsername the beard!

I loved this movie, still love this movie, will love this movie. What do I know, I was a straight girl college student when it came out. I thought Robert Preston was spoofing himself and Blake Edwards has always done such silly movies, it seemed to fit. "You bitches" indeed!

How fabulously in shape LAW was for this flick - amazing, kittens!

TLo, you are right, it's no good making snark with a movie that is a spoof. Let the meta references take care of themselves, there are so many others you could do.

Any thoughts about working a Fred & Ginger?


Loved LAW!! Reminded me of Madeline Kahn in that Frankenstein movie.

I love James Garner in anything. Even in that movie where him and Jack Lemon were Presidents I was truly hot for him. I watched The Rockford Files the other night for hte first time in 25 years and was crushed to see that he was a dork back then. He DEFINITELY got better with age.

Alex Karras and Tony Preston were fantastic, I loved it that they ended up together.

Do Mame! Do Mame!! The original wasn't a musical, which is a shame, I guess you could do the Lucille Ball one but I'm SOOO partial to the Rosalind Russell one.


Anne


well, now that you're doing "modern" musicals, you just must tackle that "high school musical 2," starring mr. zac efron.


Hugs & kisses, T&L.

Thank you for doing it.

Just a teensy bit disappointed Droopy the Waiter didn't rate a mention (his line about the horse's ass is one of my favs).

I think TomKat is already there.


I just watched "Le Jazz Hot" again and Julie Andrews looks like a living breathing 'Erte' etching i that scene...so beautiful.

And the scene is completely stolen by LAW, hahaha.


Another great, somewhat overlooked, LAW performance comes as Miss Scarlet in Clue. I thought I was attracted to her when I saw it as a child, but I suppose I was just attracted to the fierceness emanating outward from her.


ThatBrunette said...

Victor/Victoria? Can All That Jazz be far behind?

Sharp Intake of Breath!

Emma P.


I LOVE this movie. LOVE IT. Lesley Ann Warren is fucking brilliant in it. Actually, I think everyone is quite good, even Alex Karras, and that's saying a lot because he's not really a great actor, ya know?

One of my favorites of all time.


Why are so many people asking for non-musicals to be reviewed? Didn't they get the memo? ;)

P.S. Lawk the Doooor! ;)


I've been searching online forever to find a non-musical equivalent to these Musical Mondays- someone digging their jungle red's into Baby Jane and Mildred Pierce-alas to no avail!!!!!T & L should do it!!!


You guys triumph! Great job with a movie that isn't providing too much in the way of snark fodder.

I loved:

The next morning, she dresses like a man and beats up the gigolo while Toddy watches and masturbates.

After the show, Lesley Ann is thrilled to meet the man who gave her man a hardon. Look for her in The Dina McGreevey Story on Lifetime this fall.

Later, she takes to openly masturbating on public transportation. Katie, if you're reading this, this could be YOU. Get out, now!

And the Stonewall riots break out.

And then, for no reason whatsoever, Toddy gives a drag performance so awful that there's no way in hell he's gay.


You know, you ought to see if your rental place or Netflix has the Broadway version. I own the DVD of it, and it's FANTASTIC. Toddy's MUCH gayer, and it still has Julie. Her last run on the White Way, alas.

Oh, and Rachel York is perfect as Norma in it. Seriously, I cannot glee enough over her.


This is the other-Eric here - he that is not Eric Three Thousand - and I love Victor/Victoria. I love Julie Andrews. I love Henry Mancini. I love it all.

The soundtrack is on my iPod, which usually is playing in shuffle mode - in the car, at my office, in the house - and I get really happy when a song from Victor/Victoria comes on.

You can be that with this inspiration, I'll be singing 'Le Jazz Hot" tomorrow on my way into work.

I should be reading these posts more because of the two Eric's I'm more Hollywood Musically inclined.


Do The Unsinkable Molly Brown! Omg, you guys would have a BALL doing it!


When you watch "Le Jazz Hot," take a peak at the Jazz band....not a single black face. I have a hard time believing that there was an all-white jazz band in Paris in the thirties, seeing as how african american jazz performers started going to France to make a living after the first world war.


"Why the film ended this way, we have no idea."

Probably because that's how the German film it's based on ends. No lie! I got to see "Viktor und Viktoria" recently at MoMA, and at the end the Toddy character (who in this version isn't gay but sometimes does drag to pay the bills) performs Viktoria's Spanish dancer number.





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