HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Iceman
Blue Sky
Tokyo Dragon Chef
Pittsburgh
12 Hour Shift
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
Fatman
   
 
Newest Articles
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
   
 
  World of Henry Orient, The Piano Man
Year: 1964
Director: George Roy Hill
Stars: Tippy Walker, Merrie Spaeth, Peter Sellers, Paula Prentiss, Angela Lansbury, Tom Bosley, Phyllis Thaxter, Bibi Osterwald, John Fiedler, Al Lewis, Peter Duchin, Fred Stewart, Philippa Bevans
Genre: Comedy, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Marian Gilbert (Merrie Spaeth), known as Gil to her friends, not that she has many friends, gets off the school bus with her mind set on memorising important facts for her upcoming history lesson. She is distracted by a tugboat on the river and suddenly surrounded by sheets of paper carried by the wind. The paper belongs to Valarie Boyd (Tippy Walker), known as Val to her friends, not that she has many, and she desperately tries to gather her notes as they swirl around in the breeze. The two girls get to talking, and finding out they have a few things in common Val suggests they meet at the weekend for "adventuring". When they do meet, they happen to stumble across a couple canoodling in the bushes of the park, one of whom is acclaimed concert pianist Henry Orient (Peter Sellers), a figure who will be looming large in the girls' lives, whether he wants to or not...

The World of Henry Orient is the sort of film they simply don't make any more, made at the time when these things were going out of fashion and as such made a strong impression on those who saw it when it came out, especially those who were teenage girls. Nowadays if a film was made about a passionate adolescent friendship they'd have to stick in a murder to show what a terrible state it is to be too wrapped up in a friend's company - see Heavenly Creatures which bears some echoes of this film. However, here the story is a little more innocent, based on Nora Johnson's book, inspired by her childhood crush on acerbic pianist Oscar Levant, and adapted by herself and her father Nunally Johnson.

1964 was a big year for Sellers, following his international stardom from The Pink Panther in 1963 and the same year as two classic performances (well, four classic perfomances) in Dr. Strangelove and A Shot in the Dark. Here he's sidelined by the girls who become obsessed with him in a way that girls would be obsessed with the Beatles by the time the film was released, and they make him their pet project, collecting material for a "bible" of his newspaper and magazine clippings. Sellers' chief contribution to this pretentious, womanising fellow is a comically wavering accent, which blithely crosses the Atlantic from New York to Eastern Europe at the drop of a hat. Paula Prentiss is also very amusing as his love interest, a married woman who is more concerned with what her husband would think than building on the shaky relationship.

Meanwhile, the girls use Orient to block out their unhappiness at the lack of a father figure in their lives. Val's parents are away on business for many months, leaving her essentially in the care of a nanny, and she misses them more than she cares to admit: in one telling detail it's revealed she regularly visits a psychiatrist and she does seem a bit unstable. In Gil's case, her parents are divorced, and she wishes they were back together again, something that will never happen. Luckily there's Orient, who they are most impressed with when they see him give a winningly awful concert of avant garde music complete with a steam whistle and Orient's lack of rehearsal eliciting some ill-judged improvisation - Elmer Bernstein's score is very fine indeed. Orient grows more and more paranoid about being followed by the girls, and their vivid imaginations do nothing but cause trouble for him, yet the charming humour is tempered by a bittersweet tone. A curious, well acted mix of comedy and broken home drama, seen at this remove the film now has a sad, distant quality the filmmakers never intended.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 5418 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

George Roy Hill  (1921 - 2002)

American director, more at home with character than story, with a wide range of subjects under his belt. He started in television and theatre, and his first films were stage adaptations, but with The World of Henry Orient he appeared to find his voice in film. Other nineteen-sixties work included the epic Hawaii and musical Thoroughly Modern Millie, but he enjoyed a monster hit with light hearted western Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

It's this mixture of the serious and resigned humour that saw Hill make his best work in the seventies: Vonnegut adaptation Slaughterhouse-Five, Oscar winning caper The Sting (reuniting with Paul Newman and Robert Redford), flop aviation drama The Great Waldo Pepper, crude comedy Slap Shot and uncharacteristically sweet A Little Romance. Irving adaptation The World According to Garp was his best work of the eighties, with only confused thriller The Little Drummer Girl and comedy Funny Farm to end his career, whereupon he retired to teach drama.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: