The World of Henry Orient Reviews
Despite the title, "The World of Henry Orient" is initially a universe belonging to New York City girls Marian and Valarie. Marian (Merrie Spaeth) is a child of divorce who lives with her mother and a friend of the family. Valarie (Tippy Walker) is a child prodigy who rarely sees her own parents, wealthy globetrotters who visit their daughter only when it?s convenient. When Marian and Valarie hook up through a private school, they concoct a childish obsession: the stalking of Henry Orient (Peter Sellers), a cowardly lothario from the Bronx with uptown aspirations and a bogus, continental accent.
Sellers, riding high in 1964 with "The Pink Panther" and "Dr. Strangelove" on his resume, does his deadpan shtick in this film and is, as always, amusing. Walker and Spaeth have winning personalities and, although I confess there were times I felt I was watching two teenage girls attempting to act, their enthusiasm is infectious.
But something near-miraculous occurs in the film at its midpoint, and this is largely thanks to a pair of consummate actors who turn a frivolous comedy into something sad, powerful -- and utterly wonderful. Tom Bosley and Angela Lansbury, as Valarie?s absentee parents, command the screen: Lansbury as a self-centered socialite and lousy mother, and Bosley in a precursor to his famous "Happy Days" role on TV -- the perfect Dad. Bosley, in particular, has a scene with Walker that is heartbreaking, uplifting, and emblematic of why this little gem from 1964 still sparkles.