The World of Henry Orient (1964)

“If this is music, what’s that stuff Cole Porter writes?” Directed by George Roy Hill (The Sting), The World of Henry Orient is a low-key comedy with laid-back appeal that features great acting all around. The World of Henry Orient, which was based on a 1956 novel by Nora Johnson (her father, Nunally Johnson, adapted the film), concerns two teenage girls, “Val” (Tippy Walker) and “Gil” (Merrie Spaeth), who become totally infatuated with Henry Orient (Peter Sellers) a self-centered, womanizing avant-garde (and decidedly second-rate!) concert pianist. The nonstop stalking by the teens all over New York City serves to block Orient’s futile attempts to score with Stella Dunnworthy (Paula Prentiss), an extremely uptight married woman. The film, which was the official U.S. entry at the 1964 Cannes Film Festival, costars Angela Lansbury, Tom “Howard Cunningham” Bosley, Phyllis Thaxter and Bibi Osterwald. Also look for Al “Grandpa Munster” Lewis as a store owner. By the way, that cool phone that Orient uses in his bedroom is an Ericofon (or “cobra telephone”) created by the Ericsson Company of Sweden. In 1967, The World of Henry Orient was turned into a Broadway musical called Henry, Sweet Henry. Peter Sellers superfan “Lisa” commented, “Love Peter Sellers! This would make an excellent double feature with ‘I Love You, Alice B. Toklas’ – classic!”

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