Not only is Thoroughly Modern Millie a zany romantic spoof of the Roaring Twenties, it’s a musical that won an Oscar for Best Original Music Score! Julie Andrews stars as Millie, 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 (John Gavin), befriends the sweet Miss Dorothy (Mary Tyler Moore), fights off white slaver Mrs. Meers (Beatrice Lillie) and hooks up with a lively paper clip salesman, Jimmy (James Fox). In the end it takes a rich nutty jazz baby like Muzzy (Carol Channing) to unravel all these complications, give a great party, and match up lovers.
Julie Andrews is at her peak of adorability in this enjoyable (and surprisingly sarcastic) spoof of the 1920s. It has every trick: occasional silent-movie intertitles, flapper lingo ("Oh, banana oil"), and a laughable plot about women being sold into white slavery by the scheming manageress (splendid Beatrice Lillie) of a Hotel for Ladies, aided by a cabal of wicked Chinese. (The stereotypes are bearable only if you remember this is a spoof of silent movie melodrama.) Even with able support from Mary Tyler Moore and James Fox, this is Julie's show; she plays to the camera with the collusion of director George Roy Hill, who's clearly smitten with her silly streak. The movie has an annoying tendency to spend time on musical numbers--a Jewish wedding, a vaudeville act--that don't serve the plot. A future Broadway musical would create a new score, except for the delightfully catchy title tune. --Robert Horton