David and Lisa
|David and Lisa|
|Directed by||Frank Perry|
|Written by||Eleanor Perry
Theodore Isaac Rubin (novel)
Howard Da Silva
|Music by||Mark Lawrence|
|Distributed by||Continental Film Distribution|
|Release dates||December 26, 1962|
|Running time||93 min|
|Box office||$2,300,000 (rentals)|
David and Lisa (1962) is a small independent American film directed by Frank Perry, often cited as one of his best works. Based on the novel by Theodore Isaac Rubin, the screenplay, written by Frank Perry's wife Eleanor, tells the story of a bright young man suffering from a severe case of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This lands him in a residential treatment center, in which he meets a girl with dissociative identity disorder called Lisa, whom he learns to understand.
The film is shot in black-and-white, and it runs for 93 minutes. It cost $183,000 and returned over $1,000,000 in rentals on its first week.
The film starts as David Clemens (Keir Dullea) is brought to a residential treatment center by his apparently caring mother. He becomes very upset when one of the inmates brushes his hand, as he believes touches can kill him. Cold and distant, he mainly concentrates on his studies, especially that of clocks, which he appears to be obsessed with. We later learn that he has a recurring dream in which he murders people by means of a giant clock.
He meets Lisa Brandt (Janet Margolin), a girl who has two personalities: one of them, Lisa, can only speak in rhymes, while the other, Muriel, cannot speak, but only write. David befriends her by talking to her in rhymes. Following an argument with his mother when she comes to visit him, his parents decide he should leave the place. After staying at their house for a short time, David runs away and goes back to the residential treatment center, where he is allowed to stay. He has a small argument with Lisa, who turns on the metronome, while another resident is trying to concentrate playing a Bach piece on the piano, causing Lisa, who's jealous, whenever David spends time talking to anybody else, to run away, and she takes the train to the city, unnoticed by anyone.
In the final scene, David, who realizes she would go back to a museum in which she had embraced a statue before, finds her. Lisa appears to be cured and doesn't need to rhyme anymore, and David allows her to hold his hand on the way back.
- David Clemens – David is a young man played by Keir Dullea who suffers from aphenphosmphobia. He cannot stand to be touched by others. He is cold and chooses to be isolated from his peers. He has an obsession with time.
- Lisa Brandt – Lisa is a young woman played by Janet Margolin. She suffers from a split personality. When she is Lisa, she is a 4 yr. old girl who can only speak in rhymes. When she is Muriel, she cannot speak, but only write.
- Dr. Swinford – The doctor at the treatment center played by Howard Da Silva. He is an older, pensive man who manages to break through David's tough exterior.
Plot of the stage play
The play begins with David Clemens and his mother preparing to leave to bring David to "school". We later learn this is a school for children with mental and psychological issues. David's mother is overprotective and overbearing, and it shows. At the station, a porter touches David's arm, and we learn that David is afraid to be touched.
We meet a variety of teachers and other students, particularly Dr. Alan Swinford, the head psychologist, and are introduced to the school. We learn that David has an obsession with clocks, and also with death. We are also introduced to the other title character, Lisa, who has a split personality: one who will only speak in rhymes and the other who will not speak, but will only write or draw her thoughts. Over time, David and Lisa befriend each other, until midway through the play, after an embittering visit, David's parents take him away from the school.
David eventually runs away from his home and comes back to the school, where he is allowed to stay. One day, however, Lisa is annoying David as he listens to another child playing the piano. David becomes cross and shouts at her, and Lisa runs away from the school. David and the head psychologist, Dr. Alan, go out in search of her, and arrive just in time to save Lisa from the ravages of two boys in a city park. David and Lisa are both relieved that the other is there for them, and somehow Lisa is cured of her two personalities and becomes truly herself, speaking "plain straight" to David for the first time. David extends his hand and asks her to take it, conquering his fear of being touched, and they walk off together, hand in hand.
- "Top Rental Features of 1963", Variety. 8 January 1964, pg 71.
- David and Lisa (1962) at the Internet Movie Database
- David and Lisa (1998) (TV) at the Internet Movie Database