Being totally bewitched by a beautiful young lady has put me on the path to many excellent films. She was like a siren calling me with her bewildering eyes to search her out, pointing me in the right direction to have my mind entertained by wonderful stories. That girl was Janet Margolin and I had first seen her tragic performance in the Marlon Brando flick Morituri. Searching for her other works I found this quirky love story David and Lisa by husband and wife team Frank and Eleanor Perry who lead me on to The Swimmer and a few other very interesting gems I can’t wait to watch.
Janet Margolin, who later went on to star in Woody Allen’s comedy bank robber tale Take the Money and Run, plays the Lisa of the title. With our David played by Keir Dullea who later went on to work with HAL as Dr. Dave Bowman in the uber sci-fi classic 2001 A Space Odyssey.
This is a unconventional love story of two challenged young adults suffering from mental illness living in a residential psychiatric halfway house ran by Dr. Alan Swinford (Howard Da Silva).
David is extremely intelligent but has no social skills and let’s be honest comes across as a bit of an obnoxious dick. Shouting at anyone who says the wrong thing, storms out of rooms, does some more yelling, then throws things around whilst threatening any so called wrong doers. His world consists of the uniform, straight and rigid conforms, obsessive cold and distant.
Where the opposite can be said of Lisa, she is inquisitive, freeform, free flowing artistic and energetic. She sufferers from schizophrenia, with one side of her personality being called Muriel who uses signs to speak and Lisa who always speaks in rhymes.
What follows is a sweet story of two very different and difficult people finding themselves and maybe love through their interactions together. The scenes between each other are elegantly shot and very touching. There are also lovely moments with the forever calm psychiatrist Dr Alan and David that are very engaging as they go through daily chats together building a bond. The movie also looks absolutely gorgeous in black and white and is so wonderfully sixties, add superb debut directing from Frank Perry and the talented young acting stars and you have all the ingredients to making this movie such a treasure.
On a side note you can’t but feel sorry for poor helping hand John (Clifton James) who gets an earful everytime he tries to help.
Fun Fact – It was remade into a TV movie in 1998 starring Lukas Hass as David, Brittany Murphy as Lisa and the wonderful Sidney Poitier as the psychiatrist. Not sure I will watch this but it is on youtube in full if you are interested.
As with all the films I post on here I try not to review them as each person has differing views but be sure to know that I really enjoyed this. Hope you can track it down for a watch. Feel free to let me know what you thought if you do. Keep enjoying cinema… Wolfie
The sweet touching scene “A pearl of a girl”
Further Reading Links