THE INSPECTOR (1962)




THE INSPECTOR lobby card artwork under the US title LISA



SPOILER INFORMATION



STEPHEN BOYD.....Peter Jongman
DOLORES HART.....Lisa Held
LEO McKERN.....Brandt
HUGH GRIFFITH.....Van der Pink
DONALD PLEASENCE.....Sgt. Wolters
HARRY ANDREWS.....Ayoob
MARIUS GORING.....Thorens

Directed by PHILIP DUNNE
Written by NELSON GIDDING
Produced by MARK ROBSON


REVIEW BY BOSLEY CROWTHER



Donít let those lurid advertisements for Lisa---those agonized blurbs that say such things as "They experimented on me, sold me like human cargo" and "Why am I terrified every time a man touches me?"---give you a wrong impression of the nature of this film. It is not a shocking sex picture. It is an uncommonly colorful and often tense adventure film that tells how a Dutch police inspector performs a humane act of smuggling a Jewish girl out of the Netherlands and into Palestine.

It is true that the girl, a gloomy creature at the beginning, guardedly reveals that she was a prisoner in the medical research block at Auschwitz, where "they used us for anatomy lessons like cadavers." And the implication is that she was rendered sterile or in some way unsuited for love. But thatís just a circumstance that saves us from too much mush between her and the altruistic cop.

In the main, this essentially simple picture, which came to the Paramount and the Trans-Lux Eighty-fifth Street yesterday, is a straightaway hase melodrama, with a touch of compassion thrown in. The cop wants to help the young woman because he had miserably failed his fiancee, also a helpless Jewish girl, when she was hauled off by the Nazis toward the end of World War II. Now he wants to make atonement by helping this young woman toward her one obsessive goal.

So he makes the dangerous arrangements to get her out of post-war Netherlands aboard a barge, with himself going along as a quasi-deckhand to protect her from the usual border guards. (The reason it has to be secret is because they both are wanted for questioning in a homicide.) Then he continues with her to Tangier, where further difficult and dangerous arrangements have to be made; then on to Palestine in an Arab freight ship, with a cargo of smuggled guns in the hold. An encounter with Levantine pirates is the final excitement in the film.

While Nelson Giddingís screen play, based on a Jan De Hartog novel, is not the best nor Philip Dunneís direction a likely candidate for an Academy Award, the general progress of the action is dramatically serviceable and calls for a well-supplied background of exotic and colorful details.

Amsterdam, photographed in color and appropriate CinemaScope, serves as the starting point for the drama, which proceeds through the famous Dutch canals, then on to Tangiers, a spicy city, and into the blue Mediterranean. En route, the respectable fugitives, played conventionally by Dolores Hart and Stephen Boyd, meet up with and pass such sturdy fellows as Donald Pleasence as a sympathetic cop, Leo McKern as a testy barge captain, Hugh Griffith as a Tangier freebooter and Robert Stephens as a British naval agent who puts in his oar to help.

To be sure, there is too much beneficence on the part of virtually everyone concerned, which does somewhat dilute the excitement. But thatís the decent, sexless nature of the film. The suggestiveness of those advertisements is so much dust in your eyes.



Review is from the May 25, 1962 edition of THE NEW YORK TIMES.

Review © 1962 THE NEW YORK TIMES. All Rights Reserved.

Lobby card artwork © 1962 TWENTIETH CENTURY-FOX FILM CORPORATION. All Rights Reserved.

Title and logo designed by Karen Rappaport




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