Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Film Classics of the 20th Century

In this ongoing series on film classics of the last century, we've looked at MY FAVORITE BRUNETTE,  THE DUCHESS AND THE DIRT WATER FOX,  NEVER BEEN KISSED, BUT I'M A CHEERLEADERTEA WITH MUSSOLINITHE LATE SHOW, SUMMER STOCKTHE FULLER BRUSH GIRL,  The Net,  Your Friends & Neighbors,  Shampoo,  The Player,  Dick Tracy,  How To Marry A Millionaire,  Blow OutYou Only Live TwiceSleeper,  Diamonds Are Forever,  Sleepless In Seattle,  My Little Chickadee,  Tootsie,  After Hours,  Edward ScissorhandsChristmas in Connecticut, Desk Set,  When Harry Met Sally . . .,  Who Done It?,  That Darn Cat!,  Cactus Flower,  Family Plot, House Sitter,  and Outrageous Fortune.   Film classics are the films that grab you, even on repeat viewings, especially on repeat viewings.

In the late sixties, the musical began to die as a film genre.  Big budget bores like HELLO DOLLY bombed.  The genre wasn't helped by the fact that so many of the talented stars of the genre passed away including Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Judy Holliday, etc while others -- Dean Martin, Doris Day and Frank Sinatra -- largely left the genre behind.

Some of the excitement over Barbra Streisand's film debut (FUNNY GIRL) resulted from the hope that she would rescue the genre.  She did not and she was not a musical star (as the deep losses for the studios that HELLO, DOLLY and ON A CLEAR DAY, YOU CAN SEE FOREVER).  The true musical star of the 60s was Julie Andrews.  She kicked things off with MARY POPPINS and followed that with THE SOUND OF MUSIC. 


Julie Andrews' third musical hit was THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE which was the 9th most popular film of 1967.  


She's Millie, a flapper in 1922, cinema 1922 and cinema New York City.  It's a lively and fun musical that delights.  Millie makes friends with Miss Dorothy (played by Mary Tyler Moore) when Dorothy moves into the women's hotel run by Mrs. Meers (Beatrice Lillie).


At a hotel dance, she meets Jimmy (James Fox) who she connects with but she's a 'modern' and her plan is to get a job as a stenographer and then marry her boss.  That would be Trevor Grayden (John Gavin).



The film's full of surprises.  Just remember that soy sauce does not remove stains from clothing.

And that Carol Channing (Golden Globe and Oscar nominated for this performance) can really sing.


Carol plays Muzzy and -- SPOILER -- Muzzy is the mother of Jimmy and Dorothy.


Julie Andrews' Millie doesn't know they are all related.  And she fears that Jimmy is attracted to Dorothy.

When Trevor meets Dorothy, there's no doubt that he's attracted to her.


Between musical numbers, there's the reality that Mrs. Meers is kidnapping women at her hotel and selling them into slavery.  "Sad to be all alone in the world," she likes to say when identifying her victims.  An orphan is a delight to her because, if they are kidnapped, who will come looking for them?

After she sets her sights on Dorothy, Millie, Jimmy and Trevor team up to catch her.  But Jimmy, dressed as a woman, ends up drugged.


A car chase ensues.



And it wraps up with a lively, choreographed battle.


And with her gang defeated, Mrs. Meers is left to repeat, "Sad to be all alone in the world."  But this time, she's describing herself.

It's a fresh film that never sags.  A true classic.  If there's a complaint, we need it on Blu-Ray or how about a remastered version?

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