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14-year olds Val and Gil are both new at their posh school and become instant best friends. They fantasize about falling in love and talk endlessly about their crushes. The girls are currently obsessed with the dashing concert pianist Henry Orient, so much so that they follow him all over New York City. Mr. Orient finds this quite annoying as he spends most of his time romancing married women.

This movie was popular in 1964, but hasn't aged well. Back then, 14-year olds wore crinoline dresses and ankle socks and grown-ups dressed to the nines. Today, sweet Val and Gil look like they're from another planet and the adults sitting around in pearls and hats do, too. Despite the title, the movie isn't about Peter Sellers' character, Henry Orient; in fact, his is a relatively small role and he never really gets a chance to shine or connect with the audience. Merrie Spaeth and Tippy Walker play the girls who cheerfully stalk their idol, and their friendship and relationships with their parents make up the plot. The girls are wholesome and natural. Angela Landsbury is good as Val's cold and creepy mother.

This is a movie made for reminiscing about the good old days; it's a gentle family movie from another era that may leave young people scratching their heads and older people smiling. 3.5 stars.
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on 12 September 2011
This is a difficult film to classify. Peter Sellers is certainly the biggest name on the Cast List and plays a pivotal role in the plot, but he is by no means the central character. That description would be shared by the two girls, but even though they are barely 14, this isn't a children's film.

It took me a while to get 'into' the story, but after a few false starts, my patience paid off and I found it quite enjoyable.

Peter Sellers is amusing in places, even though the comic side of his character is somewhat underplayed, while Angela Lansbury is convincing as the tarty mother and Tom Bosley's character shines very comfortably and contributes to a very satisfying 'happy ending'.

Worth four stars overall.
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The World of Henry Orient, 1964. In this New York City-set 107 minute, full colour classic romantic comedy, Peter Sellers plays Henry Orient, a madly egocentric, overly amorous, minimally-motivated, avant-garde concert pianist who yearns for some afternoon delight with the very married young Stella Dunnworthy, as played by a luminous Paula Prentiss. But two 14-year old prep school girls who secretly admire Orient start following and harassing him, creating chaos wherever he goes, recording their fantasies in diaries. The movie, which was directed by a young George Roy Hill, (The Sting ,Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid ), an honored director who would develop a fine light comic touch, was nominated for one Golden Globe, but was not a box office hit. Hill may not quite have known what to do with this particular script. And Sellers had released three monster hits that year that were still playing in theaters, the first two Pink Panthers, and Dr Strangelove.

The great comic Sellers, who was troubled by a stalking fan during the New York filming of this picture, received sterling support from the adult actors in this film. Prentiss (Where the Boys Are ), was lovely and ditsy as Dunnworthy. Angela Lansbury played her patented monster mom (The Manchurian Candidate ) as Isabel Boyd, mother to one of the prep school girls, Valarie `Val' Campbell Boyd, played by Tippy Walker. Tom Bosley, (Murder, She Wrote - Season 1-5), played Frank Boyd, Val's sympathetic father. Phyllis Thaxter played Mrs. Avis Gilbert, and Bibi Osterwald , Erica `Boothy' Booth, who made a home for the other prep school girl, Marian `Gil' Gilbert, as played by Merrie Spaeth. Popular comic support players John Fiedler played Sidney, and Al Lewis, a store owner. The well-known society band leader Peter Duchin played Joe Daniels. Elmer Bernstein wrote the score, his first for a comedy.

Mind you, a lifetime of film going has taught me that the actor playing the title character of a film is its star. And Sellers gets star billing here. But he's not the film's star. The girls are, in this coming of age picture. Perhaps he didn't know how to play well with others. Or Hill didn't quite know how to handle him. Or it was in the script, which was written by Nora Johnson, based upon a novel of hers, and Nunnally Johnson, (The Grapes of Wrath ,The Dirty Dozen ,The Three Faces Of Eve ,How to Marry a Millionaire ) an honored screenwriter who was her father. According to IMDb, Nora has explained that the pianist's unusual surname - Orient - was inspired by real-life concert pianist Oscar Levant. (The word "levant" means orient in French.) Nora has also said that she and a friend had schoolgirl crushes on Levant.

Never mind, Sellers appears to have fun. He was, of course, a genius at accents. Here his accent changes from a generic European accent--he does tend to mix up his French and Italian -- to a New York/Brooklyn accent, which was an imitation of Stanley Kubrick's voice. (Kubrick had directed Sellers in LOLITA and DR STRANGELOVE.) The film also captures New York in a lovely, peaceful, clean and safe time, and gives us a nice picture of the prep school world inhabited by the likes of J. D. Salinger's characters. Worth a look, certainly, for Sellers fans.
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on 25 October 2012
Beautifully shot this is a movie of excellence, heartfelt, human, funny, sometimes hilarious.
It is a movie that should be watched in family, in Autumn, on a couch with the fireplace lit.
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on 13 May 2015
The film itself was very good (I bought it because I remember enjoying it in the 60s) but the sound quality was poor. Sound was poor but manageable for the first hour or so but then the sound track jumped forward by about ten minutes, with the result that one was watching one scene while listening to another. This went on for about ten minutes after which was resolved by skipping several scenes.
The DVD was new and arrived sealed in cellophane. I can't say whether all recordings are faulty or if this was a one off.
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on 3 March 2013
I bought this for nostalgic reasons. I loved it when it was released in 1964 and I was a teen ager in NY at a private school. It was the bonding movie between myself and my best friend. It inspired us! So almost 50 years later I wanted to see it again and be reminded and share it with friends who seemed to enjoy it too. Peter Seller of course is brilliant although not really the main focus. Sweet film.
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on 28 December 2015
Enjoyed seeing this family friendly 1960s Peter Sellers film. It follows the adventures of two schoolgirls as they fantasise about the famous pianist Orient, a callow womaniser played by Sellers, and gently builds up into a farcical situation.
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on 14 December 2010
The World of Henry Orient

A "minor" masterpiece. Essential viewing for all those concerned with the processes of growing up, which includes each and every one of us, of course. A fine fusion of comedy and pathos, romanticism and grim reality (all be it at a mild level).
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on 3 October 2014
I bought this because I loved it when it first came out. Just wanted to see it again
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on 14 February 2015
Very good
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