Victor and Victoria (1933)

Victor and Victoria (1933)
  • 387
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release year: 1933 ()
  • Running time: 100 min
  • Original Title: Viktor und Viktoria
  • Voted: 387

Aspiring singer Susanne takes over for ham actor Viktor at a small cabaret in Berlin where he works a woman impersonator and per chance she's discovered by an agent, who thinks that she really is a man. She becomes famous, but her situation becomes troublesome when she falls in love with Robert.

1Renate MüllerSusanne Lohr
2Hermann ThimigViktor Hempel
3Hilde HildebrandEllinor
4Friedel PisettaLilian
  • an operetta! who knew? by 7

    The startling thing about the original "Victor and Victoria" is its operetta-like form with significant dramatic interactions presented in rhyme, either sung or in recitative. Reinhold Schunzel (who later appeared to outstanding effect in such American films as "Hangmen Also Die" and "Notorious") directs stylishly with sometimes over-obvious flair, milking laughs from the physical comedy of the leads—namely, the energetic Hermann Thimig as the female impersonator who catches cold and persuades an ambitious young performer (Renate Muller) to sub for him. She becomes a huge hit overnight. The dashing Adolf Wohlbruck (later Anton Walbrook of "Red Shoes" fame) is the gentleman who falls in love with her after discovering "he" is a "she."

    One odd bit: when Wohlbruck takes Muller to a barbershop for a shave and she removes her jacket it is very clear from her anatomy that she is a female, but no one notices. Why then did the filmmakers do nothing to flatten her chest?

  • Irresistible! by 7

    What surprised me most about this film, since it's famously the inspiration for the 1982 Blake Edwards/Julie Andrews musical "Victor/Victoria," is that it's so CLEAN. The fact that its release date is 1933 may mean it was produced under Nazi censorship, or on the other hand it might be an example of how innocent and yet sophisticated filmmaking could be in Weimar Berlin. Notably, there's absolutely no homosexuality in it; the Robert Preston character (a wonderful piece of clowning by Hermann Thimig) is straight, and the James Garner guy (the incredibly sexy Anton Walbrook) suspects all along that Viktoria is really female, and his courtship of her consists of teasingly playing up to her pretensions of maleness while tweaking her feminine tendencies. The through-line of this version is the charming reactions of the skittish young Susanna-Viktoria (an endearing performance by Renate Mueller that's a poignant reminder that it's possible for actresses to be both beautiful AND skilled performers--a point usually lost on Hollywood) to the strange and excellent adventures of passing as a man, and then falling in love while trying to pass as a man with the man she loves.

  • A woman playing a man playing a woman by 10

    Viktor Hempel (Hermann Thimig) has played many parts; one of which is of a woman. He crosses paths with Susanne Lohr (Renate Müller) at an opportune time when he has a cold and can not go on. She goes on in his place and when she reveals herself to be a man by taking a wig off, is an instant success. The story gets complex when she falls for a man and can not tell him that she is a woman. Little does she know he found out. So he has fun leading her on. Will she ever find out that he knows?

    The movie shows many interesting things about the Weimar era such as an automat. The singing is from the 30's so they have that warble that you heard in Disney's Snow White. And the movie has a lot of slapstick filler. Many times Viktor is unnecessarily a dufus. I have a sparse German vocabulary and am lucky most of the characters spoke slowly or at least used basic statements. There is also a smidgen of English including a song about Spain. The film would have been easer to follow if Deutsch sub-titles were available.

    The DVD I Watched is region 2 from Black Hill Pictures GmbH. You may need a multiregional player or do a little ripping and converting to play.

  • The oldest of a quartet of films based on the same story. by 7

    "Viktor und Viktoria" was directed by Reinhold Schünzel and came out at an unusual time period in Germany. Had it come out just a few years later, the Nazi government surely would have labeled it as degenerate and censored it. After all, the plot has a lot of elements of tranvestism and possible homosexuality--subjects the new Reich would never allow in theaters. But, in 1933, the Nazis just came to power and were slowly consolidating their power and were not yet a dictatorship-- so such a movie was released to theaters and was a success. In fact, the director ALSO filmed a French language version--with the same sets but with different leading actors. In fact, the film worked so well that the Brit made their own version, "First a Girl", just two years later--and of the three, I definitely prefer the British remake. And, speaking of remakes, Hollywood remade this decades later as "Victor/Victoria".

    "Vikor und Viktoria" is a musical--but not in the way the British film was made. Instead of having a lot of kitschy musical numbers (which I loved) like the British film, much of the song consisted of sung dialog. It worked okay--but the lyrics lacked the humor of the British ones. Additionally, the gay aspects of the film were REALLY de-emphasized (perhaps to kiss up to the new Nazi regime)--making Viktor, somehow, more 'butch'.

    The film begins with Susanne trying unsuccessfully to get a job as a singer. Though she has a lovely job, it doesn't seem to mater. And, after she and Viktor both lose jobs the same day, they meet up and become friends. Unfortunately, soon Viktor loses his voice--and this is a serious problem since he had another interview. So he has an idea-- Susanne should try out in his place. What's the role? He's trying out as a man who dresses and pretends to be a woman---only Susanne now has to pretend to be a man pretending to be a woman! It's all confusing...and rather cute. But, the characters and plot, to me, were missing something. It wasn't only the music, but the British version was just more likable and sweet. This one, in contrast, looked a bit flat. Still, it IS worth seeing--clever and unique for its time.

  • An Old Movie by 4

    Having read all the former reviews I hesitate to openly express my opinion about this movie because it differs so much from all the sensational comments and eulogies previously lavished on it that they make me withdraw in shameful doubts about my powers of judgement.

    But since I started writing a review I feel obliged to finish it, no matter the consequences.

    First of all, I must say I don't speak a word of German --Jawohl and two or three other words-- so, right there I'm totally handicapped to dare to judged this film, since the copy I saw didn't have any kind of subtitles.

    I saw, years ago, the American version with Julie Andrews (A Goddess) Lesley Ann Warren (the funniest Gun Moll in the history of movie making) and that unique, immense actor, Robert Preston (although to be fair with that production EVERYBODY in it was sensational!!) and, more or less, it gave me some hints of what was going on in this 1932 version.

    But let's consider the acting and the situations at least as a silent movie: The whole thing looks extremely dated, exaggerated gestures, almost circus like acting; a girl --Renate Müller-- so curvaceous that will make her impossible to pass for a boy (Impressive knockers, the one in the middle was her head) an alien way to tell the story, almost unbearable to a contemporary audience, etc.

    Again, I hate to offend a German audience that maybe delighted just in listening to their mother tongue, no doubt full of exquisite nuances and as several mentioned, spoken in metric verse. I would feel the same if the actors were speaking some of the few languages I command but unfortunately German is not among them.

    To me it's a very old fashion film that doesn't compare at all with the newer Julie Andrews version and her sensational interpretation. OK, that--that--that's All Folks!

1Konstantin Irmen-Tschetcinematographer
2Franz Doellecomposer
3Reinhold Schünzeldirector
4Eduard Kubatproducer
5Alfred Zeislerproducer
6Artur Güntherproduction_designer