“I Sleep With You For a Meat Ball”

When I saw Julie Andrews on screen, walking the streets hungry, in the search for work, I smiled. The smile I get when I remember someone I like very much. Victor and Victoria came on late at night and I spent an hour sitting in the dark living room watching a film again, which I have seen numerous times already.

Julie Andrews, James Garner, Robert Preston, and Leslie Ann Warren, all are magnificent.

The story line is unique. Victoria Grant (Julie Andrews), a down-and-out-of-luck British soprano, struggles to find employment in the nightclub scene of 1930s Paris. With a BUG in her purse, trying to scam a free meal in a restaurant, she meets cabaret performer Toddy (Robert Preston), who comes up with an idea that will change everything. Taking over as her manager that night -in the bathtub- Toddy transforms Victoria into a male female impersonator named Count Victor Grazinski. Victoria, as a he, lives as a gay man, becomes a star, and is admired by many, including the nightclub owner King Marchand (James Garner) who is fascinated by Victor. He doesn’t believe that HE is a man and tries to prove himself right, during the movie, which has many comical scenes.

The original movie was a music film, written by the German actor and director Reinhold Schünzel. The movie with the same title was first shown in Berlin, Germany 1933 -parts of it can be found on YouTube.

The original story is similar but kept straight. Viktor Hempel, an actor who believes himself to be called to higher roles (Hamlet) is overlooked in a theater agency. When he is kicked out, he meets the equally rejected singer Susanne Lohr. Viktor broke, and out of luck, performs in a cabaret as a ladies’ impersonator called “Monsieur Viktoria”. When he falls ill, Susanne steps in for him, of course with success. Her tour takes her to London. There, Susanne, performing as a man, twists the heads of all the women until Robert, known as “London’s most famous woman connoisseur”, discovers the truth. In the end, Viktor Hempel himself has to step in as “Viktoria” in the revue in order to free Susanne from charges.

Hollywood made a great movie with their 1982 music-comedy-film remake of Victor and Victoria. I really cannot count the times I have seen the film, or parts of it.

It never gets old. What a treat it is, and what great acting, not to mention Julie’s singing voice. While all of her performances in the movie are beautiful, the final performance, the parody of “The Shady Dame From Seville” sung and performed by Robert Preston always makes me laugh out loud. What a gem! What a talent.

Sometimes I fear that all the great movies and TV shows my generation loved and grew up with, will be forgotten soon. Just recently, when one of my helpers had to stay home for a few weeks, due to an injury, I recommended to binge-watch M*A*S*H when he complained about being bored. “I have never heard of it,” he said and I just shook my head.

While I love Turner Classic Movies, I sometimes wish that old films would be shown on other channels as well.

I understand the arrogance and the judgment of the younger generations, I practiced it once myself. Growing up, I refused to watch a silent movie, until someone dear to me made me watch Charlie Chaplin. That day I fell in love and I can now proudly announce I have seen all of his movies. Masterpieces without words. Unspoken, written dialog, faces, and gestures that speak volumes.

When you give the old and the almost forgotten movies a chance, they often will surprise you. What we frequently judge as ‘out of style’ and a bit ‘rusty’ or not being up to par, gives us often more emotions, reality, and raw honesty than we could ever find in today, action-packed films.

Actions movies, while entertaining, often lack a storyline and good acting. Movies too often are solely carried by a famous name, because without it, the film would flop.

How do I know?

A good movie works the same as a good book. It makes me laugh, and it will make me sad. I will be drawn into it, will forget time and space around me, secretly fearing it will end too soon.

So, for the younger generation. Below is the trailer of Victor and Victoria. Trust me, it’s worth watching the “Shady Dame of Seville,” who offered to sleep with her landlord in exchange for a meatball. Did she follow through? You will have to watch.

19 thoughts on ““I Sleep With You For a Meat Ball”

  1. Been trying to look around for good movies that brings laughter and humor, this is it. Thank you. I am a Julie Andrews fan since the Sound of Music. She made dreaming and happiness easy and effortless . Wonderful post my Friend. 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, it’s been a very long time since I first saw that movie. The video clips were so good.. 🙂
    And MASH was/is fabulous! I never missed it. It is now in its umpteenth rerun here on Australian tele.

    Like

  3. Ow my I ♥ Victor/Victoria from 1982. I have it on DVD and seen it so often… It’s really an awesome remake. 😊
    I always watched re-runs of MASH as a kid. I wanted it on DVD but when the box set was released it was out of my league. I hope it will come to a streaming service. Radar, Hot Lips… Great show!
    I rely enjoyed this post, bringing me some good memories of great TV times. Thank you. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There are stories that move you and then there are movies that are formulaic without heart, made because I assume the movie studios had a job to do. They are not memorable. I just watched the trailer and it is an interesting concept. Julie Andrews voice is pitch perfect. Thanks for the recommendation. Fancy someone not having heard of MASH…. did they grow up without a television?

    Liked by 2 people

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