Lilith is a about a mysterious young woman in an elite sanitarium in New England, who seems to weave a magical spell all around her. A restless, but sincere young man with an equally ... See full summary »
Lilith is a about a mysterious young woman in an elite sanitarium in New England, who seems to weave a magical spell all around her. A restless, but sincere young man with an equally obscure past is seemingly drawn into her web. As time passes, their relationship deepens and intensifies, and the differences between them begin to blur, leading to a shocking, but oddly logical conclusion. Written by
Rhea Worrell <email@example.com>
Robert Rossen was dying when he made this film and many regard it as an act of expiation for his behavior during the McCarthy witch hunts in the 50s when he was a leading friendly witness. See more »
When the staff and patients are loading up to go on their picnic, one of the cars is a 1959 Ford station wagon. When they arrive at their destination, the car has changed into a 1960 Ford wagon. See more »
You've killed with these hands. Why?
That's the business of a soldier.
You must love your God a lot to kill for him and still go on loving him. I'd never ask that of a lover. I'd only ask his joy.
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Coming on the heels of Splendor in the Grass and All Fall Down, one can surmise the reasons behind Warren Beatty's decision to play the male lead in Lilith. In those two earlier films, he had played brooding and laconic young men, a group to which Vincent Bruce belongs. Beatty had also previously played a callous gigolo (to great effect) opposite Vivien Leigh in The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone. Lilith would provide him with the opportunity to reprise his earlier portrayals, with the added shades of a seemingly compassionate, diligent young man.
Had Lilith required Beatty to exude only these facets of Vincent Bruce, his performance would have been more than adequate; but the character has additional complexities which Beatty never registers well. For that reason, I believe he is miscast in this film. On the other hand, Jean Seberg truly shines as Lilith Arthur, the disturbed young woman. Her expressions in the close-ups disclose her unhinged state of mind. Seberg's performance could profitably be used in acting classes everywhere. Anne Meacham, Peter Fonda, Kim Hunter, and Jessica Walter are also very good, but Gene Hackman deserves a special mention for a brief but indelible appearance.
Beyond the performances, the film is a languorous, plodding vehicle, sometimes too painful to watch, as is the scene between Peter Fonda and Warren Beatty in the garden, toward the end. Beatty's disengaging comportment invalidates any sympathy the spectator might feel for him in the end, unlike, say, Shutter Island, for which this film might have served as inspiration.
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