Musical Monday: Victor/Victoria
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.