Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967)

138 mins | Musical comedy | 22 March 1967

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HISTORY

On 10 Nov 1964, DV announced that producer Ross Hunter decided to continue his successful, longtime collaboration with Universal Pictures by signing an exclusive seven-year contract, enabling him to begin development of an original musical comedy titled Thoroughly Modern Millie. A 28 Jan 1965 DV item claimed Hunter hoped to reteam Mary Poppins (1964, see entry) co-stars Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke in the leading roles. Although Van Dyke does not appear, a 31 Jan 1966 LAT article confirmed Andrews’s casting, which was made possible due to the delayed production of Star! (1968, see entry). A few months later, the 5 Apr 1966 LAT noted that Carol Channing, James Fox, and Mary Tyler Moore had signed on to round out the principal cast, marking Moore’s first film for Universal since negotiating a seven-year contract with the studio in 1965. Several contemporary sources, including the 9 Feb 1966 LAT, indicated that Channing had left the touring company of Hello, Dolly! in Chicago, IL, to accept the role of "Muzzy Van Hossmere," which was to be her second credited screen appearance. The 24 May 1966 DV stated that actor Jack Soo also bowed out of a stage performance of Flower Drum Song at the Honolulu Concert Hall in Hawaii.
       In a 26 Jun 1966 interview with the LAT, Mary Tyler Moore revealed that the cast spent five weeks rehearsing. Principal photography began 18 May 1966, as reported by a DV production chart two days later. According to the 21 Jul 1966 Los ... More Less

On 10 Nov 1964, DV announced that producer Ross Hunter decided to continue his successful, longtime collaboration with Universal Pictures by signing an exclusive seven-year contract, enabling him to begin development of an original musical comedy titled Thoroughly Modern Millie. A 28 Jan 1965 DV item claimed Hunter hoped to reteam Mary Poppins (1964, see entry) co-stars Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke in the leading roles. Although Van Dyke does not appear, a 31 Jan 1966 LAT article confirmed Andrews’s casting, which was made possible due to the delayed production of Star! (1968, see entry). A few months later, the 5 Apr 1966 LAT noted that Carol Channing, James Fox, and Mary Tyler Moore had signed on to round out the principal cast, marking Moore’s first film for Universal since negotiating a seven-year contract with the studio in 1965. Several contemporary sources, including the 9 Feb 1966 LAT, indicated that Channing had left the touring company of Hello, Dolly! in Chicago, IL, to accept the role of "Muzzy Van Hossmere," which was to be her second credited screen appearance. The 24 May 1966 DV stated that actor Jack Soo also bowed out of a stage performance of Flower Drum Song at the Honolulu Concert Hall in Hawaii.
       In a 26 Jun 1966 interview with the LAT, Mary Tyler Moore revealed that the cast spent five weeks rehearsing. Principal photography began 18 May 1966, as reported by a DV production chart two days later. According to the 21 Jul 1966 Los Angeles Sentinel, Jack Soo and Pat Morita, who were of Japanese origin, spent three hours in make-up each day to portray two Chinese henchmen. Items in the 18 Aug 1966 and 1 Dec 1966 editions indicated that actors Wun Lee Mah and Richard Chang also appeared in the picture, with Chang receiving the help of dialect expert George Wray to perfect his Chinese accent.
       The 5 Jan 1967 Los Angeles Sentinel alleged the participation of stuntman Howard Tree, while a 3 Aug 1966 Var brief claimed Angela Dee had a featured role in the film.
       According to the 17 Aug 1966 DV, the Universal studios unit in Universal City, CA, began working Saturdays to accommodate the schedules of Andrews and Moore, as Andrews risked running into overtime salary, and Moore was booked to appear in a musical stage adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany’s on Broadway. Production wrapped the following month, as indicated by the “New York Sound Track” column of the 28 Sep 1966 Var, which claimed that final scenes had been completed the previous week on location in New York City’s financial district. A 2 Apr 197 NYT article included a quote from Ross Hunter revealing the production cost approximately $5.5 million.
       While the story was original, many featured songs were re-recorded versions of popular 1920s hits. An 18 Jan 1967 Var article reported that Universal was forced to pay licensing fees for most of the songs owned by other studios, including Warner Bros., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and MCA. The 25 May 1966 LAT stated that Hunter consulted with several vintage orchestras, bandleader Paul Whiteman, and Universal recording engineers to achieve the uniquely “tinny” sound of the era. On 24 Jan 1967, LAT reported that Decca Records purchased rights to issue the film’s official soundtrack prior to the film’s release. The album performed extremely well, as the 19 Apr 1967 Var announced it had reached gold record status for $1,000,000 in sales after just four weeks.
       Thoroughly Modern Millie made its world premiere 21 Mar 1967 at New York City’s Criterion Theatre. According to a NYT item published the following day, proceeds benefitted the Museum of the City of New York. Regular engagements began 22 Mar 1967 as a “reserved seat attraction,” with similar hardticket bookings scheduled to begin on the West Coast on 13 Apr 1967. A 10 Mar 1967 LAT item indicated that all earnings from the evening gala event at the Warner Hollywood Theatre in Los Angeles, CA, would be donated to the Crippled Children’s Guild of the Orthopaedic Hospital. A 21 Apr 1967 LAT article revealed that $55,000 was contributed to the construction of the facility’s new $4 million Diagnostic and Treatment Center. The 5 Jan 1967 LAT pointed out that Thoroughly Modern Millie was only the second Universal picture to be exhibited with a roadshow release pattern. Some venues reportedly featured 70mm engagements.
       After several weeks in release on the East Coast, the 12 Apr 1967 Var announced that additional matinee screenings were being added to the Criterion’s early summer schedule to make the film more accessible for Girl Scouts, schools, and youth groups.
       Around this time, the 2 Apr 1967 NYT reported that Hunter was in discussions with potential screenwriters to develop a sequel titled The Jazz Babies, which would reunite Andrews, Channing, and Moore as vaudevillian performers in 1930s New Orleans, LA. However, he disclosed that several previous commitments prevented him from beginning production until later that year, and the project ultimately did not move ahead.
       Elmer Bernstein received an Academy Award for Music (Original Music Score), and the film was nominated in five additional categories: Actress in a Supporting Role (Carol Channing), Art Direction, Music (Scoring of Music—adaptation or treatment), Music (Song), and Sound. Carol Channing won a Golden Globe Award for her performance. Golden Globe nominations also went to Elmer Bernstein for Best Original Score – Motion Picture and Julie Andrews for Actress in a Leading Role – Musical or Comedy. The film was honored with nominations for Best Original Song – Motion Picture, and Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.
       The picture’s popularity later inspired a legitimate stage version of the same name, which debuted at the Marquis Theatre on Broadway on 18 Apr 2002. The show ran for 903 performances, and received eight Tony Awards including Best Musical, as well as four additional nominations. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
10 Nov 1964
p. 4.
Daily Variety
28 Jan 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
20 May 1966
p. 15.
Daily Variety
24 May 1966
p. 10.
Daily Variety
17 Aug 1966
p. 2.
Los Angeles Sentinel
21 Jul 1966
Section B, p. 9.
Los Angeles Sentinel
18 Aug 1966
Section B, p. 6.
Los Angeles Sentinel
1 Dec 1966
Section B, p. 8.
Los Angeles Sentinel
5 Jan 1967
Section B, p. 7.
Los Angeles Times
31 Jan 1966
Section C, p. 16.
Los Angeles Times
9 Feb 1966
Section C, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
5 Apr 1966
Section D, p. 19.
Los Angeles Times
25 May 1966
Section C, p. 11.
Los Angeles Times
26 Jun 1966
Section A, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
5 Jan 1967
Section D, p. 12.
Los Angeles Times
24 Jan 1967
Section D, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
26 Feb 1967
Section C, p. 26.
Los Angeles Times
10 Mar 1967
Section E, p. 18.
Los Angeles Times
17 Apr 1967
Section D, p. 1, 29.
Los Angeles Times
21 Apr 1967
Section D, p. 2.
New York Times
22 Mar 1967
p. 38.
New York Times
23 Mar 1967
p. 25.
New York Times
2 Apr 1967
p. 11, 22.
Variety
2 Mar 1966
p. 6.
Variety
3 Aug 1966
p. 4.
Variety
28 Sep 1966
p. 18.
Variety
18 Jan 1967
p. 11.
Variety
12 Apr 1967
p. 24.
Variety
19 Apr 1967
p. 87.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Asst cam
Addl photog (see note)
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set coordinator
COSTUMES
Gowns des
MUSIC
Mus score
Mus numbers scored by
VISUAL EFFECTS
Matte supv
DANCE
Choreog
Choreog
Mus seq stgd & asst
MAKEUP
Makeup
Miss Andrews' hairstyles
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Scr supv
Stills
Gaffer
Grip
SOURCES
SONGS
"Thoroughly Modern Millie" and "The Tapioca," music and lyrics by Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen
"The Jewish Wedding Song (Trinkt le Chaim)," music and lyrics by Sylvia Neufeld
"Jimmy," music and lyrics by Jay Thompson
+
SONGS
"Thoroughly Modern Millie" and "The Tapioca," music and lyrics by Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen
"The Jewish Wedding Song (Trinkt le Chaim)," music and lyrics by Sylvia Neufeld
"Jimmy," music and lyrics by Jay Thompson
"Poor Butterfly," music and lyrics by Ray Hubbell and John L. Golden
"Do It Again," music and lyrics by George Gershwin and B. G. DeSylva
"Stumbling," music and lyrics by Zez Confrey
"The Japanese Sandman," music and lyrics by Richard A. Whiting and Raymond B. Egan
"Rose of Washington Square," music and lyrics by Ballard MacDonald and James F. Hanley.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
22 March 1967
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 21 March 1967
New York opening: 22 March 1967
Los Angeles premiere and opening: 13 April 1967
Production Date:
18 May--September 1966
Copyright Claimant:
Ross Hunter Productions
Copyright Date:
6 May 1967
Copyright Number:
LP35365
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
see note
Duration(in mins):
138
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the 1920's, young Millie Dillmount comes to New York City to find herself a secretarial job with a handsome, rich, unmarried boss. After changing her image from that of a curly-haired old-fashioned girl to a modern flapper, she checks into a hotel for young ladies run by Mrs. Meers and befriends a pretty orphan, Miss Dorothy Brown. Seemingly very prim and proper, Mrs. Meers is actually a villainous white slaver who has her eye on Miss Dorothy. Though Millie does obtain a position with a handsome, eligible bachelor, Trevor Graydon, he remains indifferent to her, being in love with Miss Dorothy. Instead, Millie wins the undying devotion of Jimmy Smith, a paper clip salesman. One day Jimmy takes Millie and Miss Dorothy to a weekend party at the elegant Long Island home of Muzzy Van Hossmere, a high-living, fun-loving widow. Millie is horrified when she catches Jimmy sneaking Miss Dorothy into his room. Once back in the city, however, Millie is forced to forgive Jimmy when he scales the walls of her office building to see her. Then, Miss Dorothy suddenly vanishes. Millie and Jimmy realize the truth about Mrs. Meers when they smell opium in Miss Dorothy's room. In order to find the white slavers' hideout, Jimmy disguises himself as an orphaned young lady and registers at the hotel. The scheme backfires when the crafty Mrs. Meers manages to drug and kidnap both Jimmy and Trevor. Left to her own resources, Millie traces the white slavers to a firecracker factory in Chinatown that serves as a front for an opium den. After exploding all the factory's stock, she rescues Miss Dorothy and the other captive girls and ... +


In the 1920's, young Millie Dillmount comes to New York City to find herself a secretarial job with a handsome, rich, unmarried boss. After changing her image from that of a curly-haired old-fashioned girl to a modern flapper, she checks into a hotel for young ladies run by Mrs. Meers and befriends a pretty orphan, Miss Dorothy Brown. Seemingly very prim and proper, Mrs. Meers is actually a villainous white slaver who has her eye on Miss Dorothy. Though Millie does obtain a position with a handsome, eligible bachelor, Trevor Graydon, he remains indifferent to her, being in love with Miss Dorothy. Instead, Millie wins the undying devotion of Jimmy Smith, a paper clip salesman. One day Jimmy takes Millie and Miss Dorothy to a weekend party at the elegant Long Island home of Muzzy Van Hossmere, a high-living, fun-loving widow. Millie is horrified when she catches Jimmy sneaking Miss Dorothy into his room. Once back in the city, however, Millie is forced to forgive Jimmy when he scales the walls of her office building to see her. Then, Miss Dorothy suddenly vanishes. Millie and Jimmy realize the truth about Mrs. Meers when they smell opium in Miss Dorothy's room. In order to find the white slavers' hideout, Jimmy disguises himself as an orphaned young lady and registers at the hotel. The scheme backfires when the crafty Mrs. Meers manages to drug and kidnap both Jimmy and Trevor. Left to her own resources, Millie traces the white slavers to a firecracker factory in Chinatown that serves as a front for an opium den. After exploding all the factory's stock, she rescues Miss Dorothy and the other captive girls and also Jimmy and Trevor. They then all race to Muzzy's estate, with Mrs. Meers and her two henchmen in hot pursuit. After the white slavers are captured, the truth about Jimmy and Miss Dorothy is disclosed. They are brother and sister, the stepchildren of Muzzy, and fabulously wealthy. With Muzzy beaming her approval, Jimmy marries Millie and Trevor marries Miss Dorothy. Songs : "Thoroughly Modern Millie" (Millie), "The Tapioca" (Jimmy, Millie), "Jimmy" (Millie), "Baby Face" (Millie), "Poor Butterfly" (Millie), "Do It Again" (Muzzy), "Stumbling" (Millie, Miss Dorothy), "Jazz Baby" (Muzzy), "Rose of Washington Square" (Ann Dee), "Jewish Wedding Song" (Millie), "The Japanese Sandman" (Oriental #1, Oriental #2). +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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