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Lilith (1964)

A war veteran gets work at a mental institution where he meets the beautiful, but eccentric, Lilith.

Director:

Robert Rossen

Writers:

Robert Rossen (screenplay), J.R. Salamanca (novel)
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Warren Beatty ... Vincent Bruce
Jean Seberg ... Lilith Arthur
Peter Fonda ... Stephen Evshevsky
Kim Hunter ... Dr. Bea Brice
Anne Meacham ... Mrs.Yvonne Meaghan
Jessica Walter ... Laura
Gene Hackman ... Norman
James Patterson ... Dr. Lavrier
Robert Reilly Robert Reilly ... Bob Clayfield
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Storyline

Lilith is a about a mysterious young woman in an elite sanitarium in Maryland, 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 <rworrel@ibm.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Perhaps women will understand Lilith better than anyone! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 January 1965 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Lilith - La dea dell'amore See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In Lilith's room there's the following words written on her wall: "hiara pirlu resh kavawn", which she says comes from a language she developed. Though the film never translates those words, in the book which the film was based, translates the words as "If you can read this, you will know I love you." See more »

Goofs

When the staff and patients are loading up to go on their picnic, two of the cars are 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood 75's. When they arrive at their destination, the cars have changed into 1958 and 1959 Cadillac Fleetwood 75's. The station wagon has changed from a 1959 Ford Country Squire to a 1960 Ford Country Squire. See more »

Quotes

Stephen Evshevsky: You hurt my hand!
Lilith Arthur: Let me see...
Lilith Arthur: [she closely examines his hand] You really have exquisite hands.
Stephen Evshevsky: I bite my nails.
Stephen Evshevsky: [continues] If I learn to trust my hands... would they really lead me to things I love?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Wogan: The Best Of: Oscar Winners (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Horrifying in unexpected ways
8 January 2005 | by YASSee all my reviews

One of the great pleasures of watching older films is that, beyond the obvious joys of character and plot, they also offer us a look past the films' action and into the world in which they were made: the fashions of dress, design, and social attitude that prevailed at the time. All of this "background," so taken for granted by the filmmakers in their day, can, when seen across a focal space of time and social change, reveal fascinating elements unguessed-at when the films were made.

So it is with LILITH. Other comments on this film have more than adequately discussed the plots and motivations of the characters; what I found unexpectedly mesmerizing and appalling was its view of the mental institution of the mid-1960s. Warren Beatty's character has no experience in such a setting, but he'd like to "help people," so he's hired on the spot and immediately put in charge of patients who, by definition, aren't responsible for their own actions. The inmates seem to be mostly left to do as they please, whether it be teetering at the edge of a precipitous cliff or wandering off in the woods, easily slipping away from their inattentive keepers.

When Beatty's character begins to be attracted to Lilith, the chief shrink calls him in and asks if this is the case. "No, I don't think so," says Beatty, patently lying through his teeth. "Well," says Dr Big reassuringly, "it's not unheard-of for patients to fall in love with the orderlies, and sometimes, unfortunately, it happens the other way as well." And that's that: with this appalling (to modern-day ears, at any rate) bit of 'advice,' or possibly nudge-wink encouragement, he pats the oafish horndog on the back, tells him he's doing a great job, and sends him off to town on yet another date with Lilith. Whenever Beatty does express concern about anything job-related, the medical staff just interrupts him with "don't worry, you're doing a fine job" and gently shoos him out.

What a different world it was, forty years ago! Mind you, I'm not judging the film by social standards that never occurred to its time; indeed, the things it reveals about the 'care' of mental patients in 1963 are what made it most interesting to me. All the characters are either entertainingly insane or arrestingly clueless idiots, and Lilith herself is a sufficiently complex and compelling character to make this melodrama watchable all on her own.


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