Directed by Frank Perry (THE SWIMMER) and based on a nonfiction story by Dr. Theodore Isaac Rubin, this movie was a bona fide independent hit at the time of its 1962 release. Rich performances, unusual frankness for its day, and David's disturbing dream sequences--rendered in Leonard Hirschfield's stark black-and-white photography--also created strong word-of-mouth interest in the film.
Seventeen-year-old David (Keir Dullea) suffers from a violent fear of being touched. When his mother (Neva Patterson) takes him to an institution for teenagers, he is angry and distrustful of both the doctors and his fellow patients, even calm and thoughtful Dr. Swinford (Howard Da Silva), who tries to help him. However, David has a breakthrough when he begins communicating with Lisa (Janet Margolin), a pretty 15-year-old schizophrenic who talks in childlike rhymes. Their friendship is mutually beneficial, and when David's parents decide that he should return home, he realizes that he has gained a sense of belonging at the institution and is reluctant to leave. Meanwhile, while David is away, Lisa demonstrates in her own alarming way how much his influence means to her.
Family (General) |
Love Story |
Mental Illness |
Theatrical Release: December 1962.
Directorial debut for Frank Perry (THE SWIMMER, MOMMY DEAREST).
The film was written by Perry's wife, Eleanor.
DAVID & LISA was budgeted at under $200,000, yet made over a million dollars in its first week of release. The final cost of the film was $183,000, and it earned more than five times that in its first week out.
Though Dullea is playing a teenager, he was 26 at the time.
DAVID & LISA was remade for television in 1998 starring Lukas Haas and Brittany Murphy in the lead roles.
This was Howard Da Silva's first film after the lift of the Hollywood blacklist, which he was on with 323 other actors. Da Silva refused to talk when called before the commission in the 1950s.