When the end came for World War II, many Jews were spread around the free world and desired to return to Palestine. Lisa Held has been promised to be returned to her native land. Inspector ... See full summary »
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Efrem Zimbalist Jr.,
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When the end came for World War II, many Jews were spread around the free world and desired to return to Palestine. Lisa Held has been promised to be returned to her native land. Inspector Peter Jongman of the Dutch secret police compassionately makes the arrangements for her to be smuggled into her home land. Written by
Richard Jones <email@example.com>
London...Amsterdam...Tangier...Palestine...the desperate liaisons of the love-pursuers startlingly uncovered by Mark Robson the man who electrified you with "Champion," "Peyton Place," "From The Terrace"! [US poster] See more »
Lisa speaks of seeing an Israeli tank with a Star of David on its side after her escape from Auschwitz. The State of Israel was not created until after the end of WWII. There were no "Israeli tanks" in the European theater of operations. See more »
Changing the title from the original "The Inspector" to "Lisa" for American release somehow misses the point, since it changes focus from Dutch police inspector Peter Jongman (Stephen Boyd) and the task he accomplishes as to appease his remorse for what he did not do for his girlfriend Rachel when seized by the Nazis: to give a helping hand . Drama is action, and action means change and it is Jongman who goes through a stronger process of transformation during the film narration, and in the end he is a different man. Jongman finds the object of his mission in Lisa Held (Dolores Hart in one of her last film roles), an abused Jewish girl that was a prisoner in Auschwitz, lost all her relatives and wants to go to Palestine to find a cure to her mental wounds and a sense to all what happened to her. Neither character is quite original in the history of films: we have seen several stories about Jewish women traumatized by war and concentration camps like Lisa, and men like Jongman, in search of expiation. But Jongman goes to an unusual extent of his professional duty to make him an attractive character, under a light that somehow makes him different. The material taken from a novel by Dutch writer Jan de Hartog was a good basis for what could have been a better drama. Instead, in the hands of old Hollywood professional Philip Dune, the film drags the load of sentimental melodrama (not helped a bit by Malcolm Arnold's omnipresent score). By 1962 standards this was what the French critics disdainfully called "cinéma de papa" (or "Dad's cinema"), an old fashioned formula that in the case of literary adaptations turned the motion picture into a vehicle of the "filmable" aspects of the books. This is most evident when the action moves from Europe to the city of Tangier in North Africa, including cardboard scenes with smuggler Karl van der Pink (Hugh Griffith) in a flat with a big window that shows mockups of the city, and where the man is attacked by special-effects bats. I guess that what affected me the most when I finally watched "The Inspector" (52 years after its release) was the fact that I had read so many good comments about it and found out they were romanticized visions of the motion picture and one more rumination of the Jewish drama (as the change of title suggests). Still the chemistry of Boyd and Hart is essential to keep us interested, backed by the usual good cast of British actors, also including Leo McKern, Donald Pleasence, Robert Stephens and Finlay Currie.
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