"Good-bye, good goody girl I'm changing and how So beat the drums 'cause here comes Thoroughly Modern Millie now!"
— The title number
A 1967 musical comedy directed by George Roy Hill, Thoroughly Modern Millie later became a stage musical in 2002. Notably, the film version, which starred Julie Andrews as the titular Millie, was the source of composer Elmer Bernstein's only Academy Award.A "thoroughly modern girl" from Kansas, Millie Dillmount aspires to be the stenographer, and then the wife, of a wealthy man. After remaking her image, she meets Miss Dorothy Brown at the Priscilla Hotel, which is headed by a Mrs. Meers. She takes a liking to salesman Jimmy, but true to her ambition, she sets her sights on rich Trevor Graydon. Things get complicated for all when it's revealed that the hotel is a front for a white slavery ring, and that Miss Dorothy is their latest target.The film thrives on Meta Humor, most notably the "break" halfway through in which literally nothing happens for a few minutes. It's an odd combination of 1920's comedy and 1960's sensibilities, swerving between parody and straight-up comedy.
This Work Contains Examples Of:
A-Cup Angst: Inverted, with the fashion of a small chest being a bother to the slightly buxom Millie.
Trevor: Bolt the door, take off your things and lets have a test! Millie: Excuse me? Trevor: Take a letter!
Insistent Terminology: Miss Dorothy. In the movie, it gets to the point where other people start correcting it for her.
"I Want" Song: this is Zig-Zagged in the stage version, with the song "How the Other Half Lives." Millie wants to be rich, and Miss Dorothy wants to be poor. See also "Gimme Gimme," another stage version song.
Knockout Gas: Played with when the antagonist is pumping a white sleeping gas into the room of someone she plans to kidnap and sell into slavery, the problem is that she is in the room with the gas. As the gas gets thicker in the room she starts to yawn, slows down, and finally just falls over onto the bed; the gas has dissipated by the time she is found, still asleep.
She tries again later while wearing a gas mask, with more success this time.
Leitmotif: The same few bars of music crop up each time Mrs. Meers tries something "evil" in the musical.
In the movie, a heroic fanfare is heard every time Trevor Graydon is shown parked outside the Priscilla Hotel while Millie and Jimmy are investigating Miss Dorothy's disappearance ... despite the fact that he's been shot with a tranquilizer dart and is completely unconscious.
Lost Aesop: In the end, Millie falls for the seemingly-broke Jimmy, agreeing that marriage out of love is more important than seeking a wealthy suitor for money.The Reveal then crushes this moral by revealing that Jimmy is related to Dorothy and Muzzy, and is extremely wealthy himself.
The moral being lost actually precedes the finale when Muzzy tells her story of the "green glass" her lover gave her, and how she accepted him and the glass out of love...and then reveals that they were actually emeralds, and her lover was also secretly wealthy.
The Aesop is at least partially retrieved by Muzzy's summing-up statement: "Even though I really do prefer emeralds, we could have made it on green glass."
Ruth:[Rapid fire] Well, hello! You're new. You an actress? I'm an actress, but we couldn't be more different, so well never be up for the same part, which is a good thing, don'cha think? Ruth Devereaux-my stage name, anyway.
Obfuscating Stupidity: In the stage version, it turns out that Bun Foo can speak English a lot better than he lets on. So when Mrs. Meers mocks his apparent inability to understand her and gloats about how she'll never save his mother from Hong Kong, he's more than happy later to testify to the crimes she committed.
Pair the Spares: Parodied in the stage show, when Trevor is seemingly the only one left without a love interest...and laments the loss of Millie, who was a fantastic secretary. Bun Foo reveals that he's a great typist, and the two go off together.
Plucky Girl: Millie, especially in the stage version. In case you couldn't tell from the opening number, she drives it home in the "Not for the Life of Me" tag by turning the Dark Reprise into Triumphant Reprise.