In 1922 New York City, Millie Dillmount (Dame Julie Andrews) and Miss Dorothy Brown (Mary Tyler Moore) are just two of the girls living at the Priscilla Hotel for Single Young Ladies run by Mrs. Meers (Beatrice Lillie). Orphaned, Miss Dorothy, just recently arrived, is a naive, old-fashioned girl from a seemingly privileged background who has aspirations to be a stage actress. From more modest means, Millie, in New York City for three months, used to be old-fashioned, but now has a new modern sensibility and look to match, complete with bobbed hair and dresses with hemlines above the knee. Included in this new modern sensibility is Millie's goal of getting a job as a stenographer, with a quick promotion to being her wealthy boss' "Mrs." Love is not to factor into the equation. She believes she's found the right employer in the form of chisel-jawed Trevor Graydon (John Gavin) of the Sincere Trust Insurance Company. Millie's pursuit of Mr. Graydon is despite the fact that Mr. Graydon ...Written by
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Hard for me to be objective, here, since I've been madly in love with Julie Andrews since being first exposed to her crystalline voice when I was three.
But I'll try: "Millie's" first half is, to quote the screenplay, "Delish," with Andrews vamping and camping throughout. I am unable to take my eyes off her as she clowns, flirts, cavorts, and also sings and dances (getting her hotel elevator to work results in a showstopper). The vehicle--a pastiche of 1920s conventions (including "moderns") and filmgoing techniques (including iris-outs and title cards)--is the frothy light story of a British import who comes to America and finds true love.
The second half gets bogged down in the overwrought script, with all the machinations of a white slavery plot and a pair of "inscrutible" Orientals who, in this day and age of racial sensitivity, get far worse than they deserve.
Some history: Ross Hunter, the producer, wanted to film "The Boy Friend," the Broadway musical that had introduced Andrews to the U.S. stage. When the rights were unavailable, he devised his own script, using the same setting--the 1920s. A "small" musical evolved.
Then Julie's star went through the stratosphere. And the Universal "suits," smelling another payday, insisted that the movie be a road-show presentation--with a road-show running time(and at which road-show prices could be charged). Little "Millie" had an intermission added, and her running time was increased considerably.
The movie's still a lot of fun and definitely recommendable (especially to Andrews fans), but let's just say that, at times, it more than shows its stretchmarks!
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