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USA 1964
Directed by
George Roy Hill
106 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

The World Of Henry Orient

Although dated by the film's overall style and Peter Seller’s linguistically indeterminate mugging in particular, The World Of Henry Orient is a surprisingly good addition to what is now known as the coming-of-age genre. Why the film’s title refers to Sellers’ character other than because he is the marquee name is not clear for it is Merrie Spaeth & Tippy Walker, two child actors who never made another film, who are the real stars as a pair of pre-adolescent girls with a crush on a skirt-chasing concert pianist, Henry Orient, played by Sellers who apparently based his performance on Oscar Levant, a Hollywood entertainer, actor and musician,.

Veteran screenwriter Nunnally Johnson wrote the screenplay with his daughter, Nora, on whose autobiographical novel it is based. There is little doubt that director George Roy Hill was aware of Louis Malle’s 1960 classic, Zazie Dans Le Metro for he gives the film a similarly effervescent tone but unlike that film this has a substantial story with a nice mix of humour and poignancy and makes for good old-fashioned family movie fare.  Angela Lansbury, Tom Bosley, Phyllis Thaxter and Paula Prentiss round out a strong cast whilst Elmer Bernstein impresses in his first score for a comedy.




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