Musical Monday: Thoroughly Modern Millie
After her little Jazz makeover, Millie meets Miss Dorothy (Mary Tyler Moore, of course) outside the Priscilla Hotel for Girls. Miss Dorothy is virginal, sickly sweet, and dumb as a box of hat pins.
Inside, Millie introduces Miss Dorothy to the Priscilla’s “house mother,” Mrs. Meers, who is done up in full on chinkity-chinese drag for some reason.
After checking in Miss Dorothy, she goes to the back room and drugs a girl before locking her up in a laundry basket. Fun!
Then she asks her two outrageously offensive stereotypes (a nearly unrecognizable Pat Morita and Jack Soo, billed as – we kid you not – “Asian 1″ and “Asian 2″) to take her away, hissing at them in a jaw-dropping “ching chong” patois. Oh, how the audiences must have laughed at that in 1967.
How much alcohol do you think Morita and Soo had to drink in order to suppress their dignity and get through this film?
Meanwhile, Millie and Dorothy are tap-dancing their way up to the 12th floor.
Later, at a “social dance” (are there dances that aren’t social?) Millie and Dorothy meet Jimmy, who is really pushy and nerdy. Lorenzo’s had the hots for him for 25 years.
Jimmy leads the color-coordinated crowd in the Tapioca Dance, which he just made up and which, this being a musical and all, the entire crowd masters in seconds.
The local lesbians do not approve.
Proving how modern she now is, Millie agrees to have sex with Jimmy in his roadster, but informs him that she’s interviewing for jobs as a stenographer and intends to marry her future boss. “Modern” = “slut,” apparently.
The next day, she meets Trevor Graydon (the gorgeous John Gavin,) on a job interview.
She plays it cool and gets the job.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Meers is pulling a Snow White on Dorothy.
Luckily, Millie, freshly moist from her job interview, happens by and prevents Dorothy from eating the posioned apple, reminding her that they’re going to a wedding later.
Next, the “Jewishy” wedding scene. We say “Jewishy” because everyone keeps mentioning that it’s a Jewish wedding and, aside from the yarmulkes and the glass breaking, this is unlike any Jewish wedding we’ve ever seen. Julie confirms her shiksa status by trilling some song in yiddish and then the scene ends and we never see any of these characters ever again.
Plot is not exactly a primary consideration in this picture.
Next, we’re in a plane with Millie, Jimmy and Dorothy for some reason.
Carol Channing makes her big entrance by flying by in another plane and screaming “RASPBERRIES!” for no good reason while managing to drink Champagne in an open cockpit.
Did we mention that the plot makes no sense? Well it doesn’t.
Carol plays Muzzie Van Hosmere, a wealthy socialite who’s invited Jimmy to a party at her estate. Julie wears an outfit left over from The Sound of Music.
Carol has some sort of spastic fit at the party but then we realized she’s just singing.
That night, Julie dances through the halls of the mansion, overcome with the wealthiness of it all…
…when she stumbles on Miss Dorothy sneaking into Jimmy’s room.
Even though she already told Jimmy she had her loins set on someone else, she pouts.
Later, she puts on a lot of eye makeup and attempts to seduce Trevor, but because she’s Julie Andrews, and therefore about as sexy as, well … a nun, she fails miserably.
After her embarrassing attempt she foolishly introduces her boss to Dorothy and is totally oblivious to the fact that they’re both completely hot for each other.He asks Dorothy out to dinner and a show and for some reason, Millie excitedly agrees to go too.
Later, at the show, Carol gets launched out of a cannon.
The next day it FINALLY dawns on her that she has absolutely no chance with her boss because he’s in love with Dorothy.
Fortunately, Jimmy is there to rescue her when she falls out a window and they rekindle their romance.
“White slavery.” How charmingly anachronistic.
Anyway, do they go to the police with this information? Of course not, silly! This is a MUSICAL.
That means dressing in drag, of course.
Mrs. Meers, thinking Jimmy is just a girl with a hormonal problem, drugs him and has him carted off by her stereotypes.
Next stop: Chinatown sex slavery warehouse! Oh, how we wish they had staged a number in here!
Anyway, Millie follows them to the warehouse and for some reason, stops to eye up the local whores. She lights a cigarette to impress them and because the whore warehouse is also a fireworks factory, you can guess what ensues!
Explosions! Pandemonium! Millie escapes with Dorothy and Jimmy and they drive off to Muzzie’s estate. Again, for no discernible reason.
At the estate, they dispense with Mrs. Meers and her traveling stereotypes by jumping on trampolines.
After the excitement dies down, they all tell Millie that they’ve been lying to her. Dorothy and Jimmy are siblings and Muzzie is their stepmother. They’re RICH! You know what that means, kittens…
Triple wedding! Roll credits!
Christ almighty, this thing didn’t make a lick of sense.