Name Occurs Before Title
Print Viewed By AFI
19 Mar 1982
Los Angeles Filmex world premiere: 16 Mar 1982; Los Angeles, New York, and Toronto openings: 19 Mar 1982
2 Mar--22 Jun 1981 in London, England
Duration (in mins):
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(Victoria Grant/Count Victor Grazinski)
(Carroll "Toddy" Todd)
Lesley Ann Warren
(Richard Di Nardo)
(Cassell's receptionist [Miss Selma])
(Fat man eating an eclair)
(Large lady in restaurant)
(Boyfriend to actress)
(Nightclub m. c.)
(Desk clerk third rate hotel)
During the winter of 1934, in Paris, France, a young socialite named Richard Di Nardo awakens and callously demands to borrow money from his elder male lover, nightclub performer Carroll “Toddy” Todd. After Richard leaves, Toddy enters Chez Lui, the nightclub where he works, and watches struggling singer Victoria Grant audition for the unimpressed Monsieur Labisse. Once again rejected for her operatic voice, Victoria trudges through the snowy streets, swooning with hunger. Upon returning to her dingy hotel, she evades the proprietor’s demand for her rent and faints on the floor, but fearfully revives at the sight of a cockroach in the room. During a performance at Chez Lui that evening, Toddy starts a fight with a group of snobbish patrons, and is fired. As he leaves, he spots Victoria devouring a multi-course meal in a lower-class restaurant. He compliments her singing voice, and she invites him to join her for dinner, revealing that she has captured the cockroach from her hotel and plans to skip the bill by hiding it in her food. Suspicious, the manager insists Victoria pay for Toddy’s “bug-less” meal, but the other diners panic, allowing her and Toddy to escape. After Toddy catches a cold in the rain, Victoria accompanies him to his apartment and tells him about her past as an opera soprano in Bath, England, with her former husband, Sam. As she prepares to leave, she finds that her dress and coat have shrunk, and Toddy insists she stay the night. The next morning, Victoria dresses in Richard’s suit. Inspired by her androgynous appearance, Toddy cuts her hair and brings her to Paris’s most respected agent, Andre Cassell, presenting her as his lover, Polish female impersonator, “Count Victor Grazinski.” Sneaking past the agent’s uptight receptionist, Toddy has “Victor” sing for Cassell, who immediately signs him to open a show at one the city’s most exclusive clubs. For the opening night performance, “Victor” is introduced as a female stage performer named “Victoria,” and successfully fools the audience into believing “he” is a woman. When he removes his wig, the reveal confuses King Marchan, a successful nightclub owner from Chicago, Illinois, who found himself attracted to “Victoria.” Despite gushing praise from his date, Norma Cassady, King remains skeptical about the singer’s true sex. As “Victor” criticizes his preoccupation with gender stereotypes, Victoria finds him attractive, but insufferably arrogant. Outside, Norma is surprised to learn that Toddy is homosexual, and laughs at the possibility of having a sexual encounter with a woman. Toddy surprises Victoria by checking into an extravagant hotel, coincidentally located across the street from King and Norma’s room. Momentarily aroused by the sight of “Victor” through the window, King is unable to make love with Norma. Fed up with her incessant talking, King stuffs a bar of soap in her mouth and orders his bodyguard, “Squash” Bernstein, to send her back to Chicago. Following another performance, King sneaks into the bathroom closet of “Victor’s” hotel room and watches as Victoria undresses for a bath. Satisfied that she is actually a woman, he crawls out of the hotel room unnoticed. Meanwhile, in Chicago, Norma resumes her act as a lascivious nightclub singer and tells King’s corrupt gangster business partner, Sal Andratti, the reason for her break-up with King. In Paris, King invites “Victor,” Andre, and Toddy to dinner to discuss a deal for “Victor” to perform at his American nightclub. As Toddy and Andre excuse themselves from the table, King questions “Victor” about his supposed relationship with Toddy and invites the group to accompany him to Chez Lui later that evening. Once there, “Victor” is instantly recognized and ushered onstage to sing with Toddy. However, the club’s patrons cause another commotion, and King escapes with “Victor” moments before the police arrive. Proclaiming he does not care if he is a man, King kisses “Victor,” prompting the imposter to admit, “I’m not a man,” as she returns the embrace. Later, Squash barges in on King and Victoria making love, and, mistakenly believing his boss is gay, happily confesses his own homosexuality. Although King urges Victoria to end her charade, she admits that pretending to be a man has “emancipated” her with opportunities she could never have as a woman. Because she refuses to give up performing as “Victor,” King remains concerned that people will think he is a homosexual. Victoria is disappointed, and they decide not to pursue their relationship. Shortly after, however, Squash begins an affair with Toddy, and King gets a black eye from fighting one of the instigators of the club disaster, prompting him to ask Victoria if they can try living together. Meanwhile, Chez Lui’s Monsieur Labisse, wallowing in his now-empty venue, hires private investigator Charles Bovin to uncover “Victor’s” true identity. Still disguised, Victoria continues her relationship with King, each of them struggling to appreciate activities the other enjoys. One night, at her request, they go dancing at a gay club, but King’s overwhelming discomfort forces them to leave. Sending Victoria home, King visits a grungy bar and attempts to assert his masculinity by starting a fistfight with the working-class patrons. Eventually, however, they make amends and he leads them in a drunken chorus of “Home On The Range.” As the lovesick Victoria’s increasing unhappiness about being separated from King begins to affect her work as “Victor,” she decides to reveal her true identity after the show the following night. Moments later, Squash announces that King’s relationship with the thought-to-be man has gotten him in trouble with the homophobic Sal, who has arrived with Norma to sever their business connection. Barging into their meeting, “Victor” pushes Norma into a bedroom and undresses, exposing her femininity and salvaging King’s reputation with the gangster. Before “Victor’s” final show, Labisse arrives with a police inspector to threaten Andre, Toddy, and Victoria with fraud. However, they leave “Victor’s” dressing room thoroughly assured that the partially nude performer they saw was, in fact, a man. A few moments later, Victoria, donning a feminine dress and hairstyle, joins King at his table in the audience. The final performance begins, revealing that Toddy has assumed “Victor’s” “Victoria” stage persona, clumsily parading around the theater to the crowd’s uproarious laughter and applause.
Arista Management A. G.
Blake Edwards Entertainment
Ladbroke Entertainments Limited
Made by Peerford Limited
In Association With Artista Management A. G.
From Blake Edwards Entertainment
MGM/UA Entertainment Co.
(1st asst dir)
(2d asst dir)
(2d asst dir)
Gerald T. Nutting
Buckhantz-NMC Company, Incorporated
(Dir of photog)
William Craig Smith
(Asst art dir)
(Asst art dir)
Ralph E. Winters
Mayflower Films Ltd.
(Sd eff des by)
Gordon K. McCallum
(Chief dubbing mixer)
Graham V. Hartstone
Nicolas Le Messurier
Intralink Film Graphic Design
(Main title montage)
(Spec eff supv)
John Isaacs of Michaeljohn
(Miss Andrews' hair by)
Denis Johnson, Jr.
(Dir of pub)
(Asst to Mr. Adams)
(Asst to Mr. Edwards)
Great Britain and United States
Based on the German film
Viktor und Viktoria
conceived by Hans Hoemburg, written and directed by Reinhold Schünzel (Ufa, 1933).
Ladbroke Entertainments, Ltd.
Dolby Stereo™ in selected theaters
Prints in Metrocolor®
Filmed in Panavision®
End credits include the following acknowledgment: “The producers wish to thank Mr. Cyril Howard and his staff at Pinewood Studios for their cooperation in making this motion picture,” and note that the film was made “At Pinewood Studios, Iver, Bucks, England.”
Although not listed onscreen, characters sing lyrics to the Daniel E. Kelley and Dr. Brester M. Higley song, “Home On The Range.”
According to a 21 Jul 1983
article, production executive Allan Buckhantz acquired rights to the 1933 German film,
Viktor und Viktoria,
in 1971. As stated by the 10 Apr 1982
the German production had also been used as the basis for the 1935 British film,
First a Girl,
starring Jessie Matthews.
In 1977, talent agent Martin Baum introduced Buckhantz to filmmaker Blake Edwards, who negotiated a deal for the remake rights, and amassed initial development costs of $140,000. Lorimar Productions agreed to finance the film, and Edwards began writing the script in 1979. The rights were then transferred to Edwards in exchange for Buckhantz being compensated $175,000 and five percent of eventual profits. He also received an additional $175,000 to be credited as an executive producer. In Mar 1980, however, Baum informed Buckhantz that the picture would not get made unless he gave up his executive producer title. His company, Buckhantz-NMC Company, Incorporated, is credited onscreen as “associate producer,” and preproduction began in Oct 1980.
On 30 Dec 1980,
reported that the project had moved to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). The 23 Jul 1980
stated that Peter Sellers was offered the male lead, but the actor suffered a heart attack and died the following day, on 24 Jul 1980, before production got underway. The 30 Dec 1980
noted that preproduction continued in London, England, with musical rehearsals scheduled to begin in early Feb 1981. The 5 Mar 1981
reported that composer Henry Mancini and lyricist Leslie Bricusse had completed pre-recording on five musical numbers with Andrews and Robert Preston. A 4 Jul 1982
story claimed Edwards offered Preston the role of “Carroll ‘Toddy’ Todd” a few months after working with him and Andrews on
(1981, see entry), and the actor reportedly welcomed the departure from his recent “heavy” work in film and on Broadway.
A 26 Aug 1981 MGM memorandum stated that principal photography began 2 Mar 1981 and completed 22 Jun 1981. The 1 Jul 1981
indicated that shooting concluded two days ahead of schedule. A 21 Apr 1981
article stated that exterior filming was originally planned in Paris, France, followed by interiors in Munich, Germany. However, budgetary constraints caused filmmakers to relocate to Pinewood Studios in London. According to production notes, the entirety of shooting took place within fifteen sound stages, where multiple interior and exterior sets were built, including a 110-foot wide Parisian street, which accommodated fifteen period vehicles and three-story buildings, and required the assistance of half of Pinewood’s staff to build. The 15 Apr 1981
reported that Lesley Ann Warren and Alex Karras were expected to begin work that week.
marked the sixth consecutive feature film collaboration of Edwards and producer Tony Adams. Production notes stated that the crew consisted of at least twenty members from Edwards’ various
series, and twenty from
In the 19 Aug 1984
the director’s son, assistant editor Geoffrey Edwards, denied allegations of nepotism and claimed that he was brought to work on the film as a staff member of editor Ralph E. Winters.
Shortly after the 26 Sep 1981
reported that dialogue looping, dubbing, and scoring was underway at a Pinewood’s post-production facility, a 1 Oct 1981
brief indicated that the picture had entered the final stages of editing.
On 10 Nov 1981,
stated that the film was scheduled to be screened at a three-day retrospective of Edwards’ career during the Judith Crist Tarrytown Film Weekend in Tarrytown, NY, beginning 27 Nov 1981. A 10 Feb 1982
brief reported that the world premiere would take place 16 Mar 1982 as the opening night screening at Filmex in Los Angeles, CA. According to the 9 Mar 1982
limited world premiere engagement began 19 Mar 1982, in New York City, Los Angeles, and Toronto, Canada. The 24 Mar 1982
reported respectable opening weekend box-office earnings of $2.2 million in those cities, and a 12 Apr 1982 MGM press release reported that the two-week domestic box-office gross totaled $5,571,802 from 611 theaters. The 24 Mar 1982
named the picture as the 26 Mar 1982 opening gala premiere for the USA Film Festival in Dallas, TX. On 10 Nov 1982, MGM announced that
would return for re-release in sixty New York City theaters beginning 24 Nov 1982.
The film earned an Academy Award for Best Music, and an additional six nominations: Actor in a Supporting Role—Robert Preston, Actress in a Leading Role—Julie Andrews, Actress in a Supporting Role—Lesley Ann Warren, Art Direction, Costume Design, and Writing.
is #76 on AFI’s list of the 100 Funniest American Movies of All Time.
Despite its critical acclaim, however, the 21 Jul 1983
reported that the film was still $22 million short of recouping production costs, upsetting Allan Buckhantz, who agreed to his earlier five percent profit participation deal believing in the project’s potential for success. Buckhantz claimed that over $2 million of the budget was due to the “improperly inflated” expense of “questionable items” unrelated to production, and on 18 May 1984,
reported that Edwards denied MGM/United Artists’ 16 Apr 1983 allegations of “fraudulent overspending” on
Trail of the Pink Panther
(1982, see entry), and
Curse of the Pink Panther
(1983, see entry), in response to the studio’s $340 million lawsuit against him. The outcome of the suit could not be determined as of the writing of this Note.
Not long after the film’s return engagement and awards contention, the 22 Dec 1982
announced that Broadway producer Bob Wells and composer Cy Coleman were closing negotiations with Edwards and UA for the rights to develop
as a stage musical. It was not until 1995, however, when the 16 Feb
confirmed the show’s upcoming 18 Oct 1995 premiere, with Andrews set to reprise her role. The show ultimately opened 25 Oct 1995 at the Marquis Theatre and closed 27 Jul 1997.
23 Jul 1980.
30 Dec 1980.
5 Mar 1981.
27 Mar 1981.
15 Apr 1981.
10 Nov 1981.
24 Feb 1982.
24 Mar 1982.
30 Dec 1980
p. 1, 16.
21 Apr 1981
1 Oct 1981.
9 Mar 1982.
15 Mar 1982
22 Dec 1982.
16 Feb 1995.
4 Jul 1982.
Los Angeles Times
17 Jul 1981.
Los Angeles Times
14 Mar 1982
Los Angeles Times
24 Mar 1982.
Los Angeles Times
18 May 1984.
Section VI, p. 1, 8.
Los Angeles Times
19 Aug 1984.
New York Times
19 Mar 1982
13--20 Jun 1981.
10 Apr 1982.
1 Jul 1981.
26 Sep 1981.
10 Feb 1982.
17 Mar 1982
21 Jul 1983.
Display Movie Summary
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the
AFI Catalog of Feature Films
and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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