Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 113: Sun Apr 23

Victor and Victoria (Schünzel, 1933) + Victor/Victoria (Edwards, 1982):
Cinema Museum, 2.30pm

Cinema Museum introduction: A musical double bill featuring the rarely seen original German version, followed by the Julie Andrews classic. Two gender-bending classics that inspired many imitators, but that have rarely been equalled. Victor And Victoria (1933), not screened in the UK for decades and not officially available in this country in any format, is the original movie that inspired not only the Julie Andrews remake, but also the British comedy First a Girl (1935).

Chicago Reader review of Victor And Victoria (1933):
If you’re a consumer of queer and transgender cinema, you may already be familiar with Blake Edwards’s Julie Andrews-fronted musical Victor/Victoria (or the 1995 stage musical also fronted by Andrews). But the original 1933 version from German filmmaker Reinhold Schünzel—which tragically did not get much circulation in the United States at the time—is just as delightful as its sequin-clad remakes. Susanne (Renate Müller) is an aspiring entertainer, but can’t seem to get any work despite her burgeoning talent. Her opportunities explode, however, when she pretends to be a man doing drag as a woman, but juggling her personal life, her career, and her various identities becomes overwhelming, especially when she finds herself falling for her producer, who has only seen her as a man. Victor and Victoria is charming as a musical comedy, but it is also a remarkably poignant commentary on the performance—and illusion—of gender far before the likes of Judith Butler and other feminist scholars would do the same.
Cody Corrall

Here (and above) is the trailer.


Chicago Reader review of Victor/Victoria (1982):
Blake Edwards's 1982 sex comedy has the most beautiful range of tones of any American film of its period: it is a work of dry wit, high slapstick, black despair, romantic warmth, and penetrating intelligence. A tale of transvestism in the Paris of the 1930s is used as a study of socially fixed identities turned gloriously fluid, which Edwards sees as the only way of surviving in a churning, chaotic world. It is a direct thematic and stylistic sequel to 10, with the shallow, telescoped images of the earlier film giving way to deep-focus compositions and a corresponding shift in interest from beautiful surfaces to soulful interiors. Very personal and very entertaining, with Julie Andrews, James Garner, and a brilliant Robert Preston.
Dave Kehr

Here is the trailer.

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