peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2024 02 08 DavidAndLisa

David and Lisa (1962)

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Yet another pointer from Matthew Spektor. Directed by Frank Perry and adapted by his wife Eleanor from raw material provided by Theodore Isaac Rubin. Both got Oscar noms for their efforts. Black and white. On the pile for quite a while.

Keir Dullea plays a teenager who thinks that being touched by another human causes death. He's otherwise quite rational so I wondered why he couldn't cure himself by observing that he always survives contact at least as far as we're shown. His parents park him in a home for psychological movie making not too dissimilar from the one where Hitchcock squandered Ingrid Bergman. There he has the incredible fortune to meet Janet Margolin who conspires with him, chastely, in mutual cures.

I enjoyed the bit players the most despite all the inmates being far too old for their roles. Blonde Coni Hudak rolls her eyes at pants man Jaime Sánchez (a prototype for the Fondz or John Travolta who went on to big things) while hoping for more from Dullea. As for Dullea this is essentially a dry run for his canonical performance in 2001; you can see why Stanley Kubrick picked him as he turns on a dime from detached earnest inertness to fiery contemptuous aggression and back again. He looks a bit like the classic photo of Alan Turing too, which doesn't hurt. Margolin works hard to show us the girl lost in her head. The sculpture scene at a museum is a bit heartbreaking.

Bosley Crowther: "crudely but courageously played".