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Thoroughly Modern Millie

 

"Millie was such a wonderfully ditzy character….I loved it."

Julie Andrews on Millie

Thoroughly Modern Millie Millie Dillmount, an innocent country girl who comes to the big city in search of a husband. Along the way she becomes the secretary of the rich and famous Trevor Graydon, befriends the sweet Miss Dorothy, fights off white slaver Mrs. Meers and hooks up with a lively paper clip salesman, Jimmy. In the end it takes a rich and nutty jazz baby like Muzzy to unravel all these complications, give a great party, and match up lovers.


Millie

Directed By

George Roy Hill
Screenplay By
Richard Morris
Music By
Elmer Berstein, Joseph Gershenson, Andre Previn and others
Release Date/Runtime
21 March 1964 (US)
138 Minutes
Character
Millie Dillmount
Cast
Julie Andrews, James Fox, Mary Tyler Moore, Carol Channing, John Gavin, Beatrice Lillie
 

 

Thoroughly Modern Millie Curiosities
 
Ross Hunter claimed to have found a "new Julie. She had a lot of sex appeal and a clean look. I've never worked with anyone like her, and I've worked with them all. She is probably one of the greatest stars ever in the business."
 
One day Julie Andrews was not needed on the set, Julie came in to read her lines off camera for Carol Channing to react to, instead of a stand-in reading the lines. Hunter and Channing were both flabbergasted. "I've never had anyone help me the way Julie did", said Carol. “That would be unheard of any other star," said Hunter.
 
Millie established Julie Andrews, temporarily, as the only star of that era who could guarantee the success of a movie.
Funny things happened on the set: "There was a fly on the set during one close-up", Channing remembered. "Julie jumped up and said, 'Well, we are going to get that fly, damn it, we are going to get it.’ The director had a flyswatter, and he was just going to swat it when she grabbed it out of his had and swatted the fly and killed it. Now, you know you can't do that to a man, and I laughed and said, 'Julie, honey, you are the kind of woman who pushes the elevator button first when you are standing there with a man,' and she said, ' Why not, for heaven's sake?'".
 
Julie faced some professional worries during the shooting of this movie: she was contending with the film debuts of both Carol Channing and Mary Tyler Moore, George Roy Hill's debut as musical director, and a studio that was finding its most financially successful movie ever to be Torn Curtain (with Julie Andrews and Paul Newman in the leading roles), and was determined to better both its and her record with this picture. Julie responded to all these needs.
 
Mary Tyler Moore said that she always thinks of the tap dancing scene in this film whenever she sees an elevator.
 
This was the last movie ever made by Beatrice Lillie. At the time of filming, she had already begun to show early signs of Alzheimer's disease. Due to her illness, she had difficulty memorizing her lines. Being helpful, Julie Andrews would stand off camera and repeat Lillie's lines to her, so Lillie could complete her scenes.
 
Thoroughly Modern Millie was first conceived as a comedy about a young career girl in New York in the 1920s, and not as musical. Julie persuaded Ross Hunter (producer) to hire George Roy Hill (with whom she had worked in Hawaii), who worked with Richard Morris on the conversion of his script into a musical.
 
Julie was very enthusiastic about the concept of Thoroughly Modern Millie that she canceled a much-needed vacation (she had been working non-stop in Hawaii, Torn Curtain and Star!) and put off all other movie work. Julie found herself  "very excited about Millie; it had great style, it was wild and wacky, it had a marvelous cast. The way the script was written, the character walked a fine line between a selfish, tough, ambitious girl and a fine lady. The challenge was to be that whole person. I hope one didn't fall one way or t'other. The picture was very twenties - high style, but not high camp."

 

 

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