The Film Studies Dictionary

Once he meets Victoria he sees through her. He sees the potentials of her great talent and her good looks. Immediately he becomes her best friend and her mentor. His unique witticism, his acid humor and his deep ‘knowledge’ of his environment become the main supportive forces in order to ‘promote’ Victor’s image in the public. It is not odd and unpredictable the fact that he chose the masquerade of Victoria to be that of a man’s. It seemed to be a ‘natural’ thought for him and he knew it would be more than acceptable to the crowd.

Toddy is a homosexual who does not have any hesitation to ‘play around’ with the concept of being homosexual to the extend also of being a drag, especially at the end of the film, encouraging the idea of transvestism. His representation of a homosexual seems to be his second nature, the one he chose for himself. He does not pretend, he does not imitate, he ‘is’ the image he has constructed for himself.

He seems that he relishes his exhibitionistic temper especially at the point where he receives passively the reaction from his environment no matter if that is not as positive as he would hope for. The fact that he is being looked at, places him at the position of being the object in his relations with other males. Of course we don’t see any voyeurism of fetishism from men towards him except for Toddy being a fetishist of his own ‘image’ in a way that this image gets the satisfaction, appreciation and reassurance it needs.

With his witty humor, and at points with his suaveness, he attempts to challenge and evoke demystification by the male even though he does not receive it in the way he would prefer. The norm for him is to be and follow the image he has chosen for himself, and for his audience to exercise their active look on him. In this way he asks from us to subvert the traditional gender relations of looking / being looked at. But surprisingly that does not take place. That is because his character is being accepted only in terms of farce.

In the film his personal representation of homosexuality and transvestism is a good occasion for laughter. Under this circumstance he is ‘safe’ in front of his audience as he is covered by comedy in order not to be put directly under hard criticism. Thus, he can definitely be the person he enjoys to be and at the same time to get away with it. The audience seems not to get in the process of critically think if his character subverts the traditional concepts of if he is subjectivised or objectified.

It just accepts him the way he is as long as it is in the framework of a good and funny ‘stage performance’. Therefore, this very ambitious and deft comedy of Blake Edwards can nestle in his rebellious message without upsetting anyone. The gender ‘fluidity’ that serves most of the plot is essential to make the farce work and also feels like second nature by the end of the movie. Accordingly, in order to embrace the comedy and hilarity in Victor/Victoria it is required to embrace first the movie’s political thesis.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Blandford, Grant and Hillier; The Film Studies Dictionary; New York, Oxford University Press; 2001 Mulvey, Laura; Visual and Other Pleasures; London; The Macmillan Press Ltd; 1989 Thornham, Sue; Feminist Film Theory, A Reader; Edinburgh; Edinburgh University Press; 1999 Wood, Robin; Hitchcock’s films – revised; New York; Columbia University Press; 1989

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