DAVID AND LISA

   

For Hicksflicks.com, April 3, 2015

An intelligent but unstable young man with an aggressive fear of being touched and an obsession with clocks is taken to a youth residential treatment facility by his mother.

There he meets, among others, a young woman with a dual personality, one of which is mute while the other speaks in rhymes.

After a time, the two disparate personalities bond, but it’s a rocky road to recovery.

That’s the gist of “David and Lisa” (1962, b/w), an independent film starring Keir Dullea and Janet Margolin as the respective title characters — and which marked Margolin’s film debut and was Dullea’s second feature.

    

         Janet Margolin, Keir Dullea, 'David and Lisa'

Based on a novel by a psychiatrist who based the two characters on patients he treated, “David and Lisa” was a hit, and a few years later was adapted as a stage play, and then was remade in 1998 as a TV movie with Lukas Haas and Brittany Murphy.

But the original film version, with an adapted screenplay written by Eleanor Perry and direction by her husband Frank Perry (both nominated for Oscars), is a fascinating mood piece, an exploration of mental illness during a time when not much was understood.

Of course, a film like this ultimately hinges on its central performances, and Dullea (later famous for “2001 — A Space Odyssey”) and Margolin (who later co-starred in two Woody Allen films, “Take the Money and Run” and “Annie Hall”) deliver the goods.

    

Considering how influential “David and Lisa” was as a commercially successful independent film in 1962, and that it remains fairly famous thanks to stage productions over the years (including high school versions), it’s hard to believe that it has never been on home video.

But the release this week by Scorpion Releasing marks not only its DVD and Blu-ray debut but its debut on any video format.