“You two-timing son-of-a-bitch — he’s a woman!”
A destitute singer (Julie Andrews) in 1930s Paris befriends a gay man (Robert Preston) who convinces her to pose as a female impersonator. “Victor” (Andrews) quickly finds success, as well as admiration from a gangster (James Garner) who has trouble reconciling his attraction to a “man”.
- Aspiring Stars
- Blake Edwards Films
- Gender Bending
- Historical Drama
- James Garner Films
- Julie Andrews Films
- Mistaken or Hidden Identities
- Robert Preston Films
Husband-and-wife team Blake Edwards and Julie Andrews reached an artistic plateau in this culmination of their cinematic interest in mistaken identities, gender-bending, and the performing life. Andrews plays a likable, plucky heroine we can’t help rooting for; thankfully, sufficient time is provided for us to get to know her and sympathize with her plight.
Preston is delightful as her supportive new roommate, and convincing as a gay man; his final dance performance (completed in a single take) is a hoot.
The humor — including plenty of Edwards’ signature slapstick — is broad but suitable, and mostly works, with a highlight including the extended “cockroach in my salad” restaurant sequence.
A minor quibble is that we’re shown a few too many shots of Garner looking at Andrews with skepticism before learning the truth about her gender (we get it, already):
… but their subsequent complicated romance plays out authentically, as Garner must continue to confront his own homophobia while Andrews stands up for her professional needs.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Julie Andrews as Victor(ia) (nominated by Peary as one of the Best Actresses of the Year in Alternate Oscars)
- Robert Preston as Toddy
- Fine period sets and costumes
- Luminous cinematography
- Henry Mancini’s score
Yes, for Andrews’ performance and as an overall enjoyable show. Listed as a Cult Movie in the back of Peary’s book.