Peter Sellers, Paula Prentiss, Angela Lansbury and Tom Bosley are hilarious in The World of Henry Orient, a funny, charming (Los Angeles Times), lively and imaginative (Newsweek) place you'll want to visit again and ag... more »ain! Two starry-eyed schoolgirls spy, stalk and scheme their way into the life of a concert pianist (Sellers) in this wacky piece of inspired lunacy (The Hollywood Reporter). With half of New Yorkincluding a bevy of befuddled cops and one man-hungry momin tow, these precocious teens do all they can to keep tabs on their harried hero, inadvertently turning The World of Henry Orient entirely upside down!« less
"Having watched this movie any time TCM showed it on TV, I was so happy to finally see it come out on DVD and in its original aspect ratio -- the only way to see this amazing movie.Fans of the movie Ghost World might want to check out The World of Henry Orient as it is so obviously the template for GW -- although, not as cynical.Henry Orient is a wonderfully nostalgic ode to a New York City that doesn't exist anymore. There is something truly magical about seeing the city as it was back in the '60s. The film captures this magical innocent time when you're a child and how this starts to fade when you grow up in your teen years.The two girls are fantastic as are the adults -- especially Peter Sellers (is there anything this guy can't do?), Angela Lansbury (again, playing an evil, evil lady!), and most importantly, Tom Bosley who plays one of the girls' lovable, understanding dad -- a great performance!This is one of the late, great George Roy Hill's best movies -- beautiful directed and shot that also features an infectious, whimsical score by Elmer Bernstein (recently released on CD)that will have you whistling it long after the movie ends."
Great coming of age comedy that you'll watch over and over!
Cubist | 12/09/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is what I call a "comfort" movie, one you can watch over and over and still enjoy. Tells the story of 2 teenaged girls - Val, a piano prodigy neglected by her wealthy globe trotting parents, and Gil, a lonely girl being raised by her single Mom and her mom's best friend. The two girls meet at school and become best friends. Val develops a crush on Henry Orient (Peter Sellers) a terrible pianist with a habit of chasing married women. Val and Gil dedicate their lives to the study of Henry Orient and follow him all over New York City, with hilarious results. Great performances from the two young girls as well as from Peter Sellers and Angela Lansbury, who plays Val's mother. If you know a pre-teen or older girl, she would love a copy of this video! A TRULY SATISFYING FILM."
Unforgettable portayal of two adolescent girls coming of age
Leslie Hiller | New York, NY USA | 10/28/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The World of Henry Orient" was, and remains, a landmark film in every way. Its portrayal of two high school girls coming of age in Manhattan, and their obsession with a 3rd rate pianist, is far more than a madcap comedy. True to the Nora Johnson novel on which it is based (she wrote the screenplay, as well), it is an unforgettable portrait of a friendship, a city, and a particular time in the life of an adolescent girl which rings hilariously--and painfully--true. In particular, Merrie Spaeth's perfect-pitch performance as the guileless Marian Gilbert is deeply touching, funny, entirely believable and perfectly nuanced. As a girl growing up in New York City, "Henry Orient" inspired in me a spirit of adventure and freedom which is as exhilarating now as it was when the film first appeared, in 1964. I own the video, and my young daughter is already completely addicted to it. Elmer Bernstein's (To Kill a Mockingbird) music is terrific, by the way. This is a classic! If you haven't seen it, do. If you have, see it again! It holds up beautifully."
One of the Best
R. Schultz | Chicago | 04/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie makes my list of the top-ten best of all time. It's too bad it is so little known.
It is the only movie I've seen that gets youth right. It shows what it is like to have a "crush" - to love someone from afar, innocently, absolutely. This sort of enthusiasm is so central to the heart of being young, especially of being a girl - yet I have never seen it portrayed anywhere else. In the fifties and sixties we had blander teens, preoccupied with little home and school crises - like who was going to take whom to the prom. In recent decades we have been bombarded with sitcom teens, sexually precocious, spouting know-it-all one-liners. In between those two stereotypes of teens, there is the truth - what The World of Henry Orient is about.
Boyd is the "genius" who sparks to Henry Orient (played by Peter Sellers) first. Orient is a second-rate concert pianist performing for a season in New York. Boyd is not blind to his shortcomings. She admits he "needs practice." But she is smitten with him nonetheless. She brings her friend into the adoration. The two girls romp through New York together, following their idol, collecting his discarded cigarette butts ("No filters. He's not scared!"), studying him from a distance - then going back to their rooms to worship him in Oriental rituals they invent and elaborate themselves.
There is no word for what these two girls are up to. We would call it "stalking" now. But it's not that. It's at the other end of the spectrum from that sort of malevolence. It's pure eagerness and joy and it's a joy to watch.
The movie takes a turn past midpoint though. This could have been an uneasy mix of pathos and slaptstick - but the director and actors carry it off and make a plausible, inevitable blend of the two.
The girls are wonderful at capturing the squealing, longing delight of having a crush. Peter Sellers is perfect as the only somewhat talented bounder. Paula Prentiss turns in one of the best comedic performances ever as the highstrung married woman with whom Sellers continues to try to arrange a liaison - against increasing odds as he and Prentiss become convinvced that the little girls following them, cropping up everywhere in pagoda hats, must in fact be spies sent by Prentiss' suspicious husband. Angela Lansbury is a true villainess, a mother who has been so indifferent to her daughter and who knows her so little that she interprets the girl's antics as sexual escapade, sullying and perverting the fun.
If you never experienced the sort of sheer gleeful delight these girls enjoy - if your teenage years were spent in the infinitely drearier pastime of all-night keggers - then you missed what youth is all about. But this movie can bring you to the place that should be the birthright of all youth - a place before relationships get sexualized, a place before calculation of costs and benefits. It's a golden interlude. This movie is a MUST-SEE classic.
One of my all-time favorites!
Bradley Friedman | San Francisco, CA United States | 07/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was delighted to come across so many other rave reviews for this gem that I wanted to add my voice to the others and urge those of you who have never discovered this film to buy or, at least, rent it. Alternately funny and moving, I can only sum up my reaction to say that the film warms my heart, and I watch it frequently if I'm feeling blue. Filled with great star turns as well as a host of wonderful cameos (Paula Prentiss, Bibi Osterwald and Al Lewis especially), the story is filled with countless moments that grab me emotionally, particularly near the end when, one by one, the members of Tom Bosley's family discover the truths about themselves and each other and face the emotional repercussions of these truths.
The two young stars are not particularly great actresses. Better than that, they seem like real young girls on the verge of womanhood. The film evokes its time and place with fondness and affection. I grew up across the country from NYC in San Francisco, and yet I've watched the film so many times that I wax nostalgic for a city in which I've never lived! Go figure.
Finally, I can't say enough about Angela Lansbury. I know how frustrated she was with the studios' constant casting her as villainous mothers, and I hope she achieves her wish of finding a truly satisfying film role before she retires. Still, I hope she knows that her work as one of the few actors to successfully span the worlds of theatre, film and television speaks for itself, and her range and depth of talent is apparent in this, and all her roles. In this film (as in THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, one of the best thrillers ever and her greatest film role), she is fearless in her willingness to create a monster who is at once compelling and abhorrent. We understand why she fascinates her husband and daughter at the same time that she repels them. Her villainy is delicious here, and her comeuppance is one of the most satisfying moments in an altogether satisfying film. See it!"