25 Gay Films Everyone Should See: The Sequel

Another round of films that helped to define the culture -- and cultural impact - of LGBT cinema'

VICTOR/VICTORIA (1982)

Victor Victoria
Victor Victoria

At the start of the ’80s, Blake Edwards honed in on the conceit of the classic cross-dressing comedy, Some Like It Hot — two men pretending to be women — and took it up a notch for Victor/Victoria. A notch? Being Blake Edwards, he actually went all the way to 11 in the story of a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman in order to be a star on the decadent stages of pre-war Paris. In retrospect, the comedy feels retrograde, but for its time it broke ground in putting forth a sympathetic gay main character (Robert Preston, in an Academy Award nominated role), and slyly undermining the chiseled masculinity of James Garner, who falls for Julie Andrews’ cross-cross-dresser. The art deco design of the performances still sparkle (and likely inspired some of Baz Luhrmann’s more lurid concoctions). The slapstick and farce is occasionally too broad, but they are often inspired, notably in the finale drag performance by Preston that brings down the house, both onscreen and in your living room. Of the late Edwards’s many excursions into the comedy of gender and orientation, Victor/Victoria sits gleefully at the top.

Doug Rule is a theater critic and contributing editor for Metro Weekly.

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