13 December 2010 | boblipton
First a Girl....
With a foreword that says this is based on a true story, there is little doubt in my mind that truthfulness was not uppermost in the creators' minds when they decided to do this comedy about a girl who substitutes for her brother in a military school. It was to take advantage of the cross-dressing theme that had died out in the English tradition with Shakespeare and which had been revived in the modern era with its drag performers and intimations of sexual piquancy. Add in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and a bit of deus ex machina in the person of the Hapsburg Emperor -- bits used by Billy Wilder in THE MAJOR AND THE MINOR and THE EMPEROR WALTZ, who in this period was a screenwriter in Berlin -- and you have the makings of a very pleasant comedy with some musical interludes. Besides, VIKTOR UND VIKTORIA was popular enough to be remade in English twice.
Although it only becomes a well-executed farce in the second half, the lead comic, Tibor Halmay, performs his role very nicely, with two set pieces: an equestrian act with a nicely moving camera, and an eccentrically choreographed love duet he performs with the leading lady -- she acquits herself very nicely, and sings a ballad by herself very prettily.
The young couple at the center perform their roles seriously, leaving the japes to the supporting cast, all of whom acquit themselves well. It's not a great movie, by any means, but there is one great comedy bit -- where the father realizes his daughter is at the military school and speaks with the school commandant, who manages to talk him out of taking her away without either of them understanding anything about the conversation.
The rest of it will keep you interested enough. Enjoy.