Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967)

thoroughly modern millie poster 1967 movie
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Good cast

Uncomfortable racism

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Thoroughly Modern Millie

Studio:  Ross Hunter Production

Genre(s):  Musical/Comedy/Romance

Release Date(s):  March 21, 1967

MPAA Rating:  G

thoroughly modern millie elevator dance mary tyler moore julie andrews

Julie Andrews sporting the “angry dancer” face

Millie (Julie Andrews) has come to New York City with a plan.  She intends to get a job and marry her boss…but things aren’t going well.  With more and more other single women pouring into the city, Millie is just one of many including her new friend Miss Dorothy Brown (Mary Tyler Moore) who hopes to become an actress.  Despite meeting a lowly paperclip salesman named Jimmy Smith (James Fox) whom she likes, Millie is looking at Trevor Graydon (John Gavin) who has taken an interest in Dorothy.  As Millie plots her next move, an unseen danger is lurking in the hotel…girls are disappearing and Mrs. Meers (Beatrice Lillie) has her next target!

Directed by Roy Hill, Thoroughly Modern Millie is a musical romantic comedy.  The movie was well received by critics and won an Academy Award for Best Original Score with nominations for Best Supporting Actress (Carol Channing), Best Original Song (“Thoroughly Modern Millie”), Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Score—Adaptation or Treatment, and Best Sound.

Thoroughly Modern Millie came out in the late ’60s but feels like a throwback in a lot of ways…some good and some bad.  It is a shame that there are some bad aspects to the musical because it casts a bit of a sour note in an otherwise enjoyable “romp” type picture.

thoroughly modern millie julie andrews hanging on building

The first step is a doozy!

The movie is pretty obvious in its plot with a couple of twists.  I felt Fox’s character was a rather obvious twist though I didn’t expect the plot twist with Mary Tyler Moore.  The basic romance and storyline is typical, but unfortunately it is tempered with stereotypical versions of Chinese villains.  It is a weird blend of an homage to the old versions of the Chinese in serials, etc. from the ’20s, but it still just comes off as kind of racist.

The cast is a lot of fun.  Julie Andrews is great as normal in the role though I kept thinking someone like Carol Burnett might have even played Millie better since I don’t see Andrews playing up the comedy as much as it needs to be.  Mary Tyler Moore is a good choice for the flighty Ms. Brown and Carol Channing steals her scenes as the adventure loving Muzzy.  James Fox is quite bland as Jimmy Smith and John Gavin is intentionally bland as Trevor.  The head of the villains is Beatrice Lillie (playing an Asian woman) with Jack Soo (of Barney Miller) and Pat Morita (of The Karate Kid) playing her henchmen.

thoroughly modern millie carol channing muzzy

Muzzy’s a freak!!!

The movie also looks pretty good.  The setting is 1920s New York and the look is the flapper style so the costumes are all quite good.  There are some nice homages to Harold Lloyd with Fox climbing the outside of Millie’s office building as in Safety Last! and a car chase which kind of has aspects of Speedy…both of which would have been popular in the ’20s.

Thoroughly Modern Millie is for the most part rather fun.  It feels a bit dated with the race aspect which would have even been dated at the time it was made, but it at least does not go as far as Breakfast at Tiffany’s in that respect.  The original movie eventually was transformed into a stage play which opened on Broadway in 2002 and went on to win the Tony award for Best Musical.  Though it does have its faults, Millie is worth meeting.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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