The World of Henry Orient (USA, 1964)
Directed by George Roy Hill
Starring Merrie Spaeth, Tippy Walker, Peter Sellers, Paula Prentiss
If you had to pick one film which sums up everything wrong with 1960s comedies, your first choice would have to be The Millionairess. This obscenely unfunny celebration of wealth, helmed by the once-great Anthony Asquith, took a potentially interesting idea and reduced it down to two hours of famous people enjoying each other's company at our expense. But an equally good candidate would be The World of Henry Orient, a bland, boring and totally unfunny romp which gravely underuses its big-name star and never entirely decides on what it wants to be.
The Sting. Hill's career demonstrates that he could handle multiple protagonists and man-manage big-name stars, while always keeping the audience at the forefront of his mind. We can only surmise that he learnt a lot in the years between this and Butch Cassidy, because this is an utter shambles.
Stepford Wife, we expect something along the lines of Clouseau in A Shot in the Dark: slightly sleazy in his pursuit of female affection, but still very charming overall. But as the film becomes more about the two girls and their families, his screen time and role gradually shrink until he is barely in the film at all. What could be a decent comedy driven by a powerhouse of comic timing ends up as a boring non-comedy which just happens to have Sellers in it for a few minutes.
as The New York Times did, that the film is a reassuring antidote to the images of screaming girls associated with Beatlemania, which was reaching its zenith during the film's release.
Verdict: A misjudged, unfunny shambles