Millie Dillmount (Julie Andrews) has a goal. Work as a stenographer to a rich man and become his wife. She becomes friends with the naive Miss Dorothy Brown (Mary Tyler Moore) as she checks into the Priscilla Hotel, which has a secret: the house mother Mrs. Meers (Beatrice Lillie) find girls with no family or friends and then sells them into servitude.
Yes, this is a musical romantic comedy.
One night at the Friendship Dance in the Dining Hall, Millie makes the acquaintance of paper clip salesman Jimmy Smith (James Fox, who somehow is in both this movie and Performance). Sure, he seems nice, but she has a plan to be Mrs. Trevor Graydon (John Gavin). There’s some tension because Millie thinks Jimmy is in love with Miss Dorothy, but she doesn’t know the whole story. And she’s even more hurt with Trevor marries Miss Dorothy leaving her all alone.
Before Trevor can marry his love, she’s kidnapped by Jack Soo and Pat Morita, who play Chinese white slavers*, which again seems way too dark for a bubbly musical that has Carol Channing as an eccentric rich woman. But it’s Channing who saves the day, rescuing everyone before she reveals that — spoiler warning for a 54 year old movie — Jimmy and Miss Dorothy are actually millionaire siblings and that she’s their stepmother. She’s sent them off to find people who love them for who they are, not how rich they are.
This is probably Becca’s favorite movie of all time. I asked her for a quote and she said, “One of the greatest movies of our times.”
Kino Lorber has just released a 4K blu ray edition of this, featuring the Roadshow Edition of the film and new commentary by author/film historian Lee Gambin and art historian Ian McAnally.
*They’re Japanese, but it would take this entire website to explain how racist Hollywood was. And is, to be perfectly honest.