|Category||Broadway Musical||Biography - Cast
Filmography - Cast
|Running Time||144:58 minutes|
|Region||2,4||Director||Blake Edwards (Stage)
Warner Vision Australia
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||No||English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448
English (Dolby Digital 2.0, 224 Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.82:1 (measured)|
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, during credits|
Victor, Victoria is something of a rarity amongst the musicals that have passed my way on DVD - this one actually has a decent story line, the acting is great and the music is superb. The entire musical has been produced in a wonderful manner such that there is virtually nothing about this that could not be described as wonderful. The performers are terrific and are razor sharp with the delivery of some really witty dialogue, and the quality of the music is a fitting tribute to the late, great Henry Mancini. I can honestly say that the only musical I have ever seen at the theatre was some show that my sister dragged me to see in Sydney many years ago - I think it was called Cats or something like that. This show almost makes me wish that the show was still running on Broadway, so that I could catch it next year during a visit to the United States! I don't think that I can give this any higher praise considering my steadfast belief that musicals are the lowest form of film entertainment.
This is the story of a struggling singer Victoria (Julie Andrews), alone in Paris and seeking nourishment and a bed. Wandering into a cafe, she meets the rather outrageous Toddy (Tony Roberts), who takes her home for the evening. All platonic stuff, mind you, since he is gay. Toddy makes a wild suggestion - that Victoria becomes the greatest female impersonator in Europe by impersonating a man impersonating a woman. Hence Victor is born, and becomes the brightest star in Paris. However, things become a little difficult when Victor/Victoria meets King Marchan (Michael Nouri), a handsome businessman from Chicago who is equally smitten by her - and is convinced Victor is a woman. But how does a man's man come to terms with the possibility that he may be attracted to another man? That is what we find out as King dumps his attractive girlfriend Norma Cassidy (Rachael York) and pursues Victor/Victoria.
Based upon the 1982 film of the same name, it is also a rarity that such an animal actually succeeds as a Broadway musical, but this one did, The film was directed by Blake Edwards and it was he who turned it into a musical, aided by some great music from the late Henry Mancini. Naturally, his wife Julie Andrews reprised her film role on stage and that was the major basis for its success on Broadway. It is also unfortunately the last thing that she was to do as after a stellar run on Broadway, Julie Andrews succumbed to throat problems and resorted to surgery which has resulted in her being unable to sing (as well as being the subject of a large legal settlement). It is a magnificent testament to a great talent that we shall never hear sing again in any other form but her recorded and filmed legacy. Complementing the wonderful lead is an utterly superb Tony Roberts, who almost steals the whole show. Indeed, there is not a single weak link in this cast and every role is played to absolute perfection. The staging of the musical is quite wonderfully done and choreographed in a most unusual manner, but an extremely successful one.
Superb performances, superb music, very witty dialogue and a genuinely enjoyable piece of entertainment. What more could you possibly want? This was recorded for Japanese television in 1995 and in keeping with their technical standards was apparently taped on high definition video, so the transfer is quite wonderful as well. I really cannot recommend this too highly and even if musicals, and especially Broadway musicals, are not your usual fare, this is something that you really should make an effort to get to watch. Just remember that it is not the film and there are a number of differences between the two presentations.
This is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.82:1 (measured), which very closely approximates the original aspect ratio of 1.78:1. Most welcome is the fact that this is also 16x9 enhanced.
Whilst I would not call this a super-sharp transfer, the overall effect is sharp and quite well-detailed, especially given the fact that it is a taped theatre performance. Certainly the stage lighting does create some problems for the transfer, but these are thankfully rather few in number and not too distracting to the whole thing. Shadow detail is good, again reflecting the stage origins of the performance. A theatrical film would certainly have been done in a different manner that would have created more inherent detail in the transfer. This is a clear transfer and there is not a hint of grain to create any distraction here. There is no low level noise in the transfer.
Apart from those few scenes predominantly lit by blue lighting, the colours come up very well indeed and whilst I would not call them superbly vibrant, they have a nice rich, vibrant tone to them that really is quite appealing. Those blue-lit scenes, mainly at the start of the show and around the 95 minute mark are the only blemishes here, and these are obviously inherent problems rather than transfer problems. They tend to be oversaturated and demonstrate some slight flare about them. The overall effect is to hide a lot of the detail in the picture. Apart from those few instances though, there are no problems with oversaturation nor with colour bleed in the transfer.
There are no noticeable artefacting problems of any kind in the transfer per se, so in order to at least mention something, I shall raise the very minor issue of one or two pan shots just starting to hint at losing resolution in the movement. That is the extent of the problems here and this is as good a transfer as I have seen for many a long day as far as the quality of the mastering is concerned. Not even the brass handrails on the stairs caused any aliasing problems.
This is an RSDL
formatted DVD, with the layer change coming at 77:36.
This is at the end of the intermission and just before some behind the
scenes stuff is shown that leads into Act 2 after the intermission. An
obvious place for the change and very well handled, too.
The dialogue and vocals comes up clear and easy to understand in the transfer, although it should be noted that they are a little recessed in the mix and it takes a little while to adjust to the balance as a result. There is no problem with audio sync in the transfer.
As indicated, the music score comes from the great Henry Mancini, and a terrific effort it is, too. Of course, for a musical that is absolutely imperative, but you really will enjoy this one enormously.
Apart from the slight recessing of the vocals in
the soundtrack, there is little to worry about here. A gorgeously present
soundtrack with plenty of bass running throughout it, this is as close
to DTS sound as I have heard from a Dolby Digital soundtrack. Whilst the
surround channel use could perhaps have been a little better, my view is
that the slight restraint in the front channels suits the style of presentation
well. I certainly appreciated the overall encompassing feel of the sound
that made you feel like a part of the audience. Some nice rear surround
channel use is noted here, and the overall audience ambience is appropriate
and worthy. A very nicely done job that really is only denied reference
status by the slightly recessed vocal sound.
|Surround Channel Use|
© Ian Morris (have
a laugh, check out the bio)
28th November 2000
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515; S-video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega 80cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in|
|Amplification||Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|