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The World of Henry Orient (1964)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama | 18 June 1964 (UK)
A mischievous, adventuresome fourteen-year-old girl and her best friend begin following an eccentric concert pianist around New York City after she develops a crush on him.


George Roy Hill


Nora Johnson (screenplay), Nunnally Johnson (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Sellers ... Henry Orient
Paula Prentiss ... Stella Dunnworthy
Angela Lansbury ... Isabel Boyd
Tom Bosley ... Frank Boyd
Phyllis Thaxter ... Mrs. Avis Gilbert
Bibi Osterwald Bibi Osterwald ... Erica Booth
Merrie Spaeth ... Marian Gilbert
Tippy Walker ... Valarie Campbell Boyd
John Fiedler ... Sidney
Al Lewis ... Store Owner
Peter Duchin Peter Duchin ... Joe Daniels
Fred Stewart ... Doctor
Philippa Bevans Philippa Bevans ... Emma Hambler
Jerry Jarrett Jerry Jarrett ... (as Jerry Jerrett)
Jane Buchanan Jane Buchanan ... Lillian Kafritz


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 alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


When two junior size misses meet one king-size nut. It's fun, fresh, welcome as Springtime See more »


Comedy | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

18 June 1964 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Deux copines, un séducteur See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Pan Arts See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Among the actresses sought for the roles of "Val" and/or "Gil" were Hayley Mills (whose refusal took over a year), Patty Duke, Sue Lyon, Laurel Goodwin, Portland Mason, and dozens of unknowns. See more »


The balcony audience directly behind the conductor are clearly cardboard cut-outs. See more »


[at a Henry Orient concert]
Erica 'Boothy' Booth: [to Mrs. Gilbert] If this is music, what's that stuff Cole Porter writes?
See more »

Crazy Credits

introducing MERRIE SPAETH as "Gil" TIPPY WALKER as "Val" See more »


Referenced in Ghost World (2001) See more »


Henry Orient Concerto
Music by Ken Lauber (as Kenneth Lauber)
Conducted and orchestrated by Ken Lauber (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

Charming Film
3 April 2004 | by Robert J. MaxwellSee all my reviews

A few points. Elmer Bernstein's musical score is as whimsical as the young girls themselves. George Roy Hill, the director, was sensitive to the musical moods of his films. He had originally intended to be a musician and had a bachelor's in music from Yale. The photographer, Boris Kaufman, has done a splendid job of capturing New York City in the late fall and in mid winter. (He was equally perceptive in getting wintry Hoboken on film in "On the Waterfront.")

The acting is fine, surprisingly, from all the principles. The pavonine Peter Sellers usually steals every scene he's in. When he's trying to seduce Paula Prentiss his voice has an accent that sounds somewhere between Italian and Slovenian. He throws in Italian clichés but sometimes gets mixed up -- "Garcon! Due martinis, per favore." One of his funniest moments is when he's performing a terrible piano concerto. He's skipped the last two rehearsals so he's a bit lost. At one point he rolls dramatically into the upper registers (while the rest of the orchestra play checkers) and ends on a trill. He glances at the conductor who slowly shakes his head in disgust. The wrong key. Unperturbed Sellers starts the roll over again and looks to the conductor, who shakes his head again. After the third failure to find the right key, the conductor shakes his head and mouths -- very clearly and silently -- "B Flat." Satisfied, Sellers plunges ahead.

Paula Prentiss doesn't have a very large role but she's delicious both in looks and in her performance. She's so nervous, so flattered by the attention of Seller's phony pianist that she gulps and staggers slightly from time to time. When Sellers finally gets her to his apartment and begins to woo her with a paean to her "burnished shoulders" and "twin poems," she wavers while sitting on the couch and caresses her body parts as he lauds them. She never appears less than half gassed.

Angela Lansbury is in her bitchy mode here, along the lines of her mother in "The Manchurian Candidate." She never seems to go wrong, regardless of the part. Her husband, Tom Bosley, is kind of a good-natured schlub. Phyllis Thaxter looks just fine, considering that she first appeared in "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" more than twenty years earlier. Her sweetness might be cloying except that it seems ingrained in her real personality.

The most surprising thing in the performances are the two 14-year-old girls, neither of whom went on to a respectable movie career. They're plain charming, both goofy and funny, but smart and perceptive as well. "Gilbert" (Spaeth) comes from a warm middle-class family. We can tell because on Christmas we see them preparing a turkey and having friends over for dinner. Spaeth went on in real life to become a strong George W. Bush supporter and helped torpedo John Kerry with the Swiftboat Ads in 2004, for what it's worth.

"Valerie Campbell Boyd" (Walker) is a neurotic genius from a dysfunctional rich family. (That name is a great WASP cognomen, by the way). They're two cute kids, believe it or not, especially Tippy Walker who brings a molestable element to her role. Hill seems to recognize this and gives the PREverts in the audience a couple of slow-motion upskirt shots as the two jump over fire hydrants and dance on park benches. But it's all pretty unstressed and one would be hard put to think of a better image for two pleasant and happy kids living in a world of fantasy than to have them laughing and leaping in the air. Where do they find kids who can act so well? Walker has a way of flipping her hair back and gawkily hunching her shoulders that spells Preppiness.

The film has its serious moments but most of it is low-key humorous. I saw it in a drive-in in Riverhead, Long Island. You probably won't regret watching it.

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