review by Anthony D.
Running Time: 175 Minutes
Starring Julie Andrews, Tony Roberts
Studio: Image Entertainment
Directed by Blake Edwards
Retail Price: $29.99
Features: Julie Andrews Bio, Introduction, Interview,
History of "Victor Victoria"
Specs: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, Dolby Digital
English 5.1, English DTS
Victor/Victoria is the stage musical adaptation of Blake
Edward's award-winning film of the same title. The stage
musical marked Julie Andrews' return to the Broadway stage
in a book musical (she had performed on Broadway in a
Sondheim revue three years earlier).
Victor/Victoria is a sophisticated musical comedy of
gender-bending proportions, with a nod to the screwball
comedies of the 1930's. Victoria Grant, a second rate
soprano with the Bath Touring Light Opera Company, escapes
bankruptcy by posing as Europe's greatest female
impersonator - - Victor, a supposed Polish count. "A woman
pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman," is how
scripter Edwards phrases it; but chaos ensues when Victoria
falls for a homophobic American gangster, who can't cope
with the fact that he's fallen in love with another "man."
As expected, Julie Andrews delivers an electrifying
performance (or two), and is ably supported by a cast of
Broadway veterans: Tony Roberts, Michael Nouri and Rachel
York. Not a single joke falls flat in the hands ofthis
award-deserving ensemble, and Rachel York, doing a take on
the typical "dumb Blonde" popularized by Jean Harlow almost
steals the show with her wacky line and song deliveries.
Victor/Victoria was taped, and televised for Japanese
television early in its Broadway run, marking the first time
that a Broadway production was televised during it's
Broadway run. V/V also marked Blake Edwards' only venture
into directing and writing for the stage.
Victor/Victoria is presented in a widescreen anamorphic
aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and looks fabulous in any
incarnation. Colors are vibrant and solid - check out Rachel
York's hot pink fur in Chapter 24 - - and detail is
astonishing! The look of the 1930's fashion is captured in
pinstripes and pastels, floral patterns as well as
multi-textural silks and satins. The detail is so vivid that
you can virtually count the sequins on some of the dancers'
intricate costumes. Even with sets containing hard
horizontal lines of Venetian blinds (see Chapter 10) there
is not a trace of shimmering. Red is used quite a bit in the
presentation and remains solid throughout, not a trace of
bleeding in sight! Fleshtones are balanced as well creating
a rich, vibrant presentation. Blacks, including shadows, are
deep and contrasted nicely. The stunning stage designs
(costumes and sets) create a picture virtually awash with
colors and textures in stunning detail. This is one definite
piece of eye-candy...
...and the sound is ear-candy! Victor/Victoria boasts a
Dolby Digital sound mix that, though not earth-shattering,
is as richly detailed as the video quality. The front
soundstage is at times multi-directional (Chapter 23
contains a duet between Julie Andrews and Michael Nouri,
where they are singing at opposite sides of the stage, and
the sound design reflects their stage positions perfectly).
The rear channels are used for special sound effects such as
ultra-realistic thunder as well as audience reaction placing
the view in the best seat in the house for a stage show.
Every instrument in the orchestra can be heard clearly
without harshness. Dialogue is obviously NOT ADR produced,
this being a live presentation, but at times it feels that
the actors are over-miked - - this could be the result of
body mikes as well as the mikes being used by the video
recorders - - but never enough to detract from one's
enjoyment of the presentation. The LFE channel is used to
boost the orchestra for the most part and never overwhelms
Victor/Victoria's extras are limited to several screens
of Julie Andrews' BIOGRAPHY and FILMOGRAPHY, and two
onscreen appearances by Julie: the first welcoming the
Japanese viewers to the Marquis theater, the second, a
briefer chat between the acts wherein Julie waxes on about
the other cast members. I would have liked to see
biographies of the rest of the talents involved with this
stage show, or rather than the print screen of the history
of Victor/Victoria - - a documentary on the history of
Victor/Victoria including clips from the film and on screen
interviews with Edwards and the composer and/or lyricist.
Victor/Victoria is definitely a keeper. This disc
belongs in the libraries of any Musical Theater Maven. As
far as this viewer is concerned, Victor/Victoria is a better
presentation of a theater experience than Image's two
Stephen Sondheim shows - - Into the Woods and Sunday in the
Park with George. An excellent transfer, delightful
performances and the inherent historical value make
Victor/Victoria's home video incarnation the next best thing
to having actually been an audience member at New York
City's Marquis Theatre.
On a more somber note, though, Julie's appearance in this
production has cost her her voice, so it is highly unlikely
that we will ever get to hear her phenomenal instrument
tackling another Broadway or film musical. I'm happy that
the producers of this video captured Victor/Victoria early
in its run while the cast was still fresh, and Julie was
able to perform every note brilliantly. This is the Julie I
will remember along with her wide-armed twirl in the opening
frames of The Sound of Music.
(5/5, NOT included in
(4.5/5, NOT an average)