Director: Blake Edwards
Date Watched: April 28, 2017
Category: #24 A musical
I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Julie Andrews from my seven year old obsession with The Sound of Music which I insisted on watching at least once a week for several months (maybe even a year). Of course, Mary Poppins was also a favourite of mine growing up. And then as a teenager it was the Princess Diaries and Princess Diaries 2. Somehow, this one slipped past my radar, I’d heard of it at different times but never actually looked it up. It doesn’t hurt that Julie Andrews reminds me a little of my grandma.
At any rate, I finally found this movie and was pleasantly surprised. Right from the start it was funny and of course the music was fantastic. In so many ways this movie was way ahead of its time, treating the gay character of Toddy as just another character in the movie rather than a novelty. Of course, I do have a few issues with how it was treated throughout the movie as well. For example, throughout the movie King Marchand expresses his displeasure at being perceived as gay given his relationship with Victoria who has been presenting herself as a man. The fact that Marchand is displeased with this is understandable to me, even now, as he is being perceived as something he is not, and given the stigma associated with being gay in the early 80’s this is even less surprising. What I do find frustrating is that Victoria who during her professional career has met and associated with many gay people, including her best friend Toddy, does not find issue with Marchand’s behaviour. She does not discuss his opinions with him, nor does it seem to impact her own feelings towards him in any way.. This could have been a great opportunity for the writer/director to call out the behaviour as unacceptable though they chose not to. Honestly, I don’t really hold it against them because ultimately the film really is far ahead of its time in depicting a largely positive gay character as well as a gay relationship and many other ways. However, if the film was made today, I would hope that it would address some of these issues.
Perhaps my favourite part of the film is the running gag involving the waiter from early in the film who then appears several times, each more confused than the first.
Honestly, if you haven’t seen this film then it is well worth a watch even though it’s not quite old.
Rating: 4/5 stars