World of Henry Orient, The (1964)

The World of Henry Orient (1964), directed by George Roy Hill.

Two girls from private school run wild in Manhattan. Their only questionable fun is becoming infatuated with a no-talent concert pianist (Peter Sellers) and stalking him. It's an innocent hobby on their part but terrifies him. He's trying to make time with a married woman (Paula Prentiss) when these two girls keep popping up.

This much is like a Disney film, and it was originally intended for Patty Duke and Hayley Mills. It becomes more of a Disney-gone-bad story when we learn of troubles with one set of parents, Mom being a real piece of work. Between this and The Manchurian Candidate (1962) Angela Lansbury owned the Evil Mother roles back then.

Instead of known actors for the girls we have two first timers who are wonderfully natural and vivid, going through that in-between age. Young enough to jump over fire hydrants and play games, old enough to scare an adult.

In an unexpectedly moving scene, Mom has been caught in a lie and the daughter knows it. Dad (good guy Tom Bosley) sees it in the daughter's eyes, which is how he learns the truth. She sees that in his eyes and both understand.

I had never heard of this before it appeared on Blu-ray and it was a good find. I can't help comparing it to Heavenly Creatures (1994); similarities, although the later film has sex and murder.

Twilight Time Blu-ray with a commentary track by the usual suspects. Julie Kirgo was about that age, also living in Manhattan, and saw the film when it was new, so this is a nostalgia rush for her. She praises the film for presenting the fantasy life of girls, which she says is all true.

Nick Redman cannot comprehend the fame and regard given to Peter Sellers, who he thinks was the least talented member of The Goon Show trio. He makes an exception for the Kubrick films: Dr Strangelove (1964) and Lolita (1962).

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