Based on the novel The Inspector by Jan de Hartog, Lisa (1962) is the story of young concentration camp survivor Lisa Held (Dolores Hart), desperate to leave the horrors of Auschwitz behind her and find a new home in the promise of Palestine, a homeland for the Jewish people, and Peter Jongman (Stephen Boyd), a Dutch policeman who puts his career and life on the line to get her to the still-unrecognized country that would soon become Israel. It’s 1946 and Inspector Jongman finds Lisa in the clutches of a notorious white slaver in Amsterdam. But instead of deporting her, he leaves his job to personally take her through the blockades, as an act of atonement for his inaction in World War II. Their odyssey takes them through the canals of Holland and into the underworld of Tangiers.
Director Philip Dunne was better known as an Oscar-nominated screenwriter, responsible for scripting How Green Was My Valley (1941), The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947), and The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965), but he had been a successful director in his own right since making Prince of Players in 1955. He had attempted to option the novel for himself but lost out to Mark Robson, then gladly accepted the assignment when Robson decided to produce the picture and offered the director’s chair to Dunne.
Plays on TCM on Tuesday, May 27