Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 27-Jul-2004

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Musical Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Animation
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1967
Running Time 145:32
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (84:56) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By George Roy Hill
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Julie Andrews
James Fox
Mary Tyler Moore
Carol Channing
John Gavin
Jack Soo
Pat Morita
Philip Ahn
Anthony Dexter
Cavada Humphrey
Herbie Faye
Michael St. Clair
Lisabeth Hush
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music Elmer Bernstein
Joseph Gershenson
Irving Mills


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
German
Italian
Spanish
Portuguese
Dutch
Swedish
Danish
Finnish
Norwegian
Hebrew
Arabic
Russian
Turkish
Greek
Smoking Yes, Briefly
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Way, way back in the sixties my mother and I trotted along together to see Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Plaza Cinema in Perth. I was very, very young (it's rude to ask exactly how young), but what I remember was how well the art deco decor of the cinema so perfectly matched what was on the screen. So, in a flurry of sentiment, when this one came up for review it seemed irresistible to see how much I could actually remember. Watching the trailer first, one sees it was billed as "The Happiest Musical Ever," and I certainly recalled it as an energetic and colourful piece - particularly remembering the fireworks scene.

     Revisiting the film today, it was clearly a vehicle for Julie Andrews who, fresh from her success in Sound of Music and Mary Poppins, was hot property indeed. She is Millie, an ingénue from down on the farm who leaves her loving family to pursue her chosen career path - namely, to become a stenographer in an office and marry the boss.

      She finds lodgings at the Priscilla Hotel For Single Young Ladies and sets about stage one of her plan to become thoroughly modern, lifting her hemline, cutting her tresses, and sorting out her over-ample "fronts." Upon returning to the hotel one day, she encounters the newly arrived Miss Dorothy (Mary Tyler Moore) - a cheque book toting orphan from California who's come to make her name in the movies.

      The two immediately befriend each other, and with the surprise exit of one of the other residents, Millie & Dorothy become room partners. In fact, there's been a lot of surprise exits at the Priscilla Hotel. The manageress, the sinister Mrs Meers (Beatrice Lillie), shows an interest in her orphaned and unconnected guests that's far beyond professional curiosity. And who are those silent Oriental gentlemen seen peering in on the goings-on of the girls? (And did you notice that one of them is none other than Pat Morita of Karate Kid fame?)

      What ensues is a story of white slave traders that is thoroughly un-PC by today's sensibilities, complicated by Millie's desires to hook her handsome boss, Trevor Graydon (John Gavin). Unfortunately, Mr Graydon appears more interested in Miss Dorothy, whilst Millie is being hotly pursued by young tearaway, Jimmy (James Fox). Millie finds Jimmy quite charming, but he doesn't fit into her plans at all. She wants the lifestyle of Jimmy's friend, Muzzy (Carol Channing), the merriest widow of them all who indulges in a non-stop pursuit of hedonistic diversions.

      The film cracks along at a fair pace, which is just as well, because the plot lines have seriously shown their age. This is a film that would never be made now, and its fluffiness and over-the-top delivery would be no mitigation for its blatantly racist and sexist themes.

      But 1967 was a less politically and socially responsive time as far as those particular themes were concerned. The Roaring Twenties were nigh on 40 years previous, with still enough people around to recall them fondly. Forty years on again, neither the resonance of the Flapper era, nor much from the mid 60's remains as a meaningful touchpoint of reference.

      Consequently, this film's current appeal is probably limited to the sentimental and the curious, like me. It's hard to see what new audience it's likely to capture.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

     The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 16x9 enhanced.

     The overall quality of this transfer is quite acceptable. There is some grain and occasional instances of low level grain but, judging by the poor quality of the trailer, the film itself has undergone fairly extensive cleaning up.

     The colours are a little on the flat side, and the skin tones have a tendency to ruddiness, resulting in a fairly variable colour palette. The whites are true however, even if the blacks appear a little muddy on occasion.

     There is some very mild motion blur and there is aliasing present, but not in significant amounts. Apart from some appearance of dust marks and a splice mark or two, the print is generally free of major artefacts.

     This is an RSDL disc, with the layer change at 84:56. It is virtually undetectable.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The soundtrack is delivered in your choice of English Dolby Digital 2.0, French Dolby Digital 2.0, German Dolby Digital 2.0, Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0. Subtitles are optional and delivered in a timely and accurate manner. The dialogue was always cleanly delivered and easy to comprehend.

     The sound is surprisingly directional for its stereo source and is relatively clean of any major distortions. There are no audio sync problems.

     The music has its moments, Channing's Jazz Baby probably being the most notable, and Andrews' title track, Thoroughly Modern is also pretty good. The remainder of the soundtrack consists of mostly fairly pedestrian vehicles to move the film along.

     The was actually some evidence of subwoofer activity, particularly in the fireworks scene - which was appropriately delivered.

Extras

     The menu features clips from the film set to the soundtrack and is very easy to move around.

Trailer

     At 2:28, this is one BIG trailer which in terms of quality has suffered a far worse fate than the production itself. But it is interesting to see how films were promoted back then.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

      In terms of extras, there is no difference between the R1 & R4 versions of this film. The PAL presentation of the R4 version therefore gets my vote.

Summary

     Julie Andrews is a wonderful performer who really understands how to communicate to an audience, and her sly to camera intimations in this film work very well. The story line itself is trite to the nth degree, but there's nearly 2 and a half hours of sentimental nostalgia here - so for those of you who recall this with fondness: enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Mirella Roche-Parker (read my bio)
Thursday, July 08, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDSinger SGD-001, using S-Video output
DisplayTeac 76cm Widescreen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationTeac 5.1 integrated system
SpeakersTeac 5.1 integrated system

Other Reviews
AllZone4DVD - DonovanS

Comments (Add)
New audiences... - Charlie & Tex UK