Written and Directed by Blake Edwards
Starring Julie Andrews, James Garner, Robert Preston, Alex Karras
1982 was a big year for cross-dressing in the movies. Victor/Victoria came out the same year as Tootsie. Both dealt intelligently and tactfully with gender roles in modern society. Both had superb casts and Oscar-nominated performances. Tootsie was about the female experience. Victor/Victoria is about sexuality.
Victoria Grant (Julie Andrews) cannot get a job singing anywhere in Paris, circa 1934. Then she meets Toddy, played beyond charmingly by Robert Preston. Toddy notes that there is a booming market for drag queens, and so they set off on a plot to pass her off as a man pretending to be a woman. Feel free to re-read that last bit if you need to go over it again. It's clever. And the execution is delightful.
What this movie has is a fun script, wonderful performances, and a genuine warmth you don't get that often. It reminded me of one of the old movie musicals from the 1950's, which is undoubtedly part of what it's meant to evoke. The colours are vibrant, the jokes are one-liners, and the plot is outlandish without being absurd. While Victor/Victoria has a lot to say about human sexuality (it has more to say than you think it does, even while you're watching it), it is first and foremost an entertaining film, in the very best sense.