Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1964. Pan Arts. Screenplay by Nora Johnson, Nunnally Johnson, based on the novel by Nora Johnson. Cinematography by Boris Kaufman, Arthur J. Ornitz. Produced by Jerome Hellman. Music by Elmer Bernstein. Production Design by James W. Sullivan. Costume Design by Ann Roth. Film Editing by Stuart Gilmore. Cannes Film Festival 1964. Golden Globe Awards 1964.
Peter Sellers takes a back seat in this mini-adventure that tells the story of two young girls growing up in broken homes in New York City. One is the daughter of a divorced woman who lives in an apartment with her also-divorced best friend. The other is an emotionally unstable girl whose parents (Tom Bosley, Angela Lansbury) spend most of their time travelling around the world on diplomatic assignments and leave their daughter to be raised by the servants. The two youngsters find each other and discover a friendship they never had before, eventually fixating on a bachelor concert pianist (Sellers) whose image becomes the representation of everything they’re missing in their lives. In their charming, schoolgirl fashion, they become his devoted stalkers, and in doing so set forth a chain of events that will eventually force them to grow up before they’re ready for it. Lots of hilarity, but with a really touching center, sort of a Heavenly Creatures without the criminal element. Lansbury is terrific, and Sellers is an absolute chameleon, making the character funny without being silly (which is no small feat for a British actor doing an Italian accent).