Thea 336 History of Theatre II
Victor/Victoria, dir Blake Edwards/ Kiss Me, Kate, dir George Sidney
Victor/Victoria and Kiss Me, Kate are both fantastic films presented in a similar fashion. Both films carry heavy themes of sexuality and what society states about sexuality and gender roles. Together both films show the multiple sides of working in the theatre industry. From successful and powerful (Kiss Me, Kate) to broke and desperate for a job (Victor/Victoria). They span the lifestyles of those in the performing arts. The cinematography in both of the films was brilliantly done and well beyond its time, especially for Kiss Me, Kate. The costume design aided very much in the sexuality of the story, using outfits to show how modest a character was, or simply whether she was portraying a man at that time or not.
The film Victor/Victoria begins beautifully. In Paris, early 1930’s, a trained coloratura opera soprano, Victoria Grant, can't get a job as a performer and is broke beyond reason. She lacks enough money for food and shelter let alone luxuries of clothing. She reaches a point of desperation where she offers to sleep with her landlord for a meatball. She goes to a restaurant where she meets gay cabaret singer Carole Todd, also known as Toddy, who may encounter the same problems as Victoria because he was just fired from his singing gig at a club for insulting a few guests. Toddy comes up with a crazy plan when he learns of Victoria’s talents: with Toddy playing the part of her manager, Victoria, will pretend to be a man, get a job singing as a drag queen. If they pull this off, Toddy explains excitedly to Victoria, with her as a man, she will be the toast of Paris and be extremely wealthy. They decide Vic...
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...the film itself.
The costuming in Victor/Victoria helps to show much of the story, as Victoria gains status as Victor her style, even when she is not in the public eye, sticks to the male character. That is until she meets and begins to fall in love with King. Then we see the feminine touches return to her wardrobe, mainly in her nightgown.
I, personally, enjoyed Victor/Victoria much more than Kiss Me, Kate. Both of these films were incredible in their own right. Victor/Victoria seemed to be more of an original story. It seemed to be filmed more on locations rather than a sound stage as Kiss Me, Kate appeared to be. The humor was darker and fitting for an audience.
Kiss Me, Kate and Victor/Victoria are both incredible films with great storylines. The costuming was helpful to the storyline and the reasoning behind character choices made sense to the common viewer.