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When historians look back on this boffo century of ours, I figure two decades will stand out as paragons of antitaste: the '20's and the '60's. And Thoroughly Modern Millie, combining as it does the worst elements of each, will be a prime visual aid in the history classes of the future.
For the present, Millie offers a classic lesson in box-office brilliance. No sex (Julie Andrews changes clothes in a closet while the camera lounges around outside), no philosophy, no violence, only a homespun little message for homespun little girls: follow the dictates of your heart rather than your pocketbook, and your man will turn out to be a millionaire.
It's the American dream. With courage and determination, any middle-class woman can work her way into the moneyed aristocracy. Any middle-class woman, that is, who belongs to the right race, attends the right schools, and sings the right songs. In short: Julie Andrews.
Against my better judgment, I like Julie Andrews, but she's making it increasingly difficult. Except for The Americanization of Emily, her taste in motion picture properties has proved less than sterling (Pace, the magazine of Moral Rearmament, to the contrary).
Thoroughly Modern Millie must be seen . . . to be believed. Its script is low camp; its direction, by George Hill, lacks not only credibility but competence; its editing is both ill timed and ill-executed (employing grisly cutting devices like zig-zags and eyeopeners); its acting, with a few not terribly noteworthy exceptions, reeks.
It does, however, have Beatrice Lillie. If you've ever seen Miss Lillie, you won't need any recommendations. If you haven't, zip down to the nearest record shop and spend your wad on a Lillie album.
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