Henry Orient is a madly egocentric and overly amorous avant-garde concert pianist who is hilariously pursued all around New York City by two 14-year-old fans. The girls, Val and Gil chase a harassed Henry all over the city, thwarting his afternoon liaisons with a married woman and leaving utter chaos behind them - until Val's sexually promiscuous mother appears on the scene to put a stop to the girls' shenanigans. Written by
The pianist's unusual surname - Orient - was inspired by real-life concert pianist Oscar Levant. The word "levant" means orient in French. Nora Johnson, who wrote the novel on which the movie was based (and co-wrote the screenplay with her father, Nunally Johnson), said that she and a friend had a crush on Levant when they were schoolgirls. See more »
The balcony audience directly behind the conductor are clearly cardboard cut-outs. See more »
I first saw this movie when it came out in 1964. I must have been about 8 years old. I loved it then, and have watched it many times since. It is one of those rare, quiet films that not only succeeds as a comedy, amusing to both children and adults, but also as a touching drama, with many poignant moments.
The cast is uniformly excellent, with Peter Sellers and Paula Prentiss providing most of the comedy, as they try to have an illicit romance while being pursued all over New York by the love-struck teenagers, played with charming veracity by Merrie Spaeth and Tippy Walker.
I was particularly impressed by the way George Roy Hill was able to convey the thoughts and emotions of the two girls with such nuance and understatement. For example, when the clock strikes 6:00pm and the girls glance at each other we immediately know what they are both thinking. I sorely miss this kind of film-making.
I enjoyed George Roy Hill's later films such as Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid and The Sting, but for my money, this is his masterpiece.
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