The Private Ear, which made up one half of the Peter Shaffer play, The Private Ear and the Public Eye, was a short but observant look at loneliness and the aborted effort of one shy male to communciate with the opposite sex. Ross Hunter’s screen adaptation, thanks almost entirely to Shaffer’s original dialog and the recreation by Brian Bedford of the shy young man he played in the New York production, recaptures much of the humor, compassion and wisdom of the legit production.
While the setting has been switched from an English flat to a Los Angeles rooming house, there is, basically, little difference between the storyline of the play and the film. Necessary expansion shows scenes only referred to in the play and adds a few extraneous characters. There is first rate playing by Julie Sommars as the gauche girl he covets and James Farentino as the Lothario friend who wrecks the timid type’s plans.