Lilith (1964)

114 mins | Drama | 2 October 1964

Director:

Robert Rossen

Writer:

Robert Rossen

Producer:

Robert Rossen

Cinematographers:

Eugen Schüfftan, Tibor Sands

Editor:

Aram Avakian

Production Designer:

Richard Sylbert

Production Company:

Centaur Enterprises
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HISTORY

Shortly after J. R. Salamanca’s 1961 novel Lilith reached the NYT best seller list, a 20 Dec 1961 Var article reported that talent agent Ingo Preminger was negotiating for Robert Rossen to produce and direct a feature film adaptation for Columbia Pictures. An 8 Aug 1962 Var news story listed the purchase price at $100,000. The final deal was announced in the 15 Jan 1962 LAT, which named Robert Alan Arthur as screenwriter. Just fifteen days later, however, DV indicated that Rossen would write the screenplay concurrently with another project titled The High Road, hoping to begin production on whichever script he finished first.
       While The High Road did not move ahead, Rossen began casting for Lilith the following year, first securing a commitment from Warren Beatty. Items in the 11 Jan 1963 DV and 27 Mar 1963 LAT indicated that Leslie Parrish and Diane Baker were in early considerations for the title role. On 13 Feb 1963, DV reported that Rossen had departed on a five-city tour of Europe, allegedly to research the changing international market. However, the 13 Mar 1963 issues of DV and Var claimed he was still searching for a leading actress, and tested several Europeans while abroad. A 3 Apr 1963 NYT article announced the casting of American actress Jean Seberg, who had been working for several years in France and England.
       According to a 31 May 1963 DV production chart, principal photography began in Maryland on 6 May 1963. Items in ... More Less

Shortly after J. R. Salamanca’s 1961 novel Lilith reached the NYT best seller list, a 20 Dec 1961 Var article reported that talent agent Ingo Preminger was negotiating for Robert Rossen to produce and direct a feature film adaptation for Columbia Pictures. An 8 Aug 1962 Var news story listed the purchase price at $100,000. The final deal was announced in the 15 Jan 1962 LAT, which named Robert Alan Arthur as screenwriter. Just fifteen days later, however, DV indicated that Rossen would write the screenplay concurrently with another project titled The High Road, hoping to begin production on whichever script he finished first.
       While The High Road did not move ahead, Rossen began casting for Lilith the following year, first securing a commitment from Warren Beatty. Items in the 11 Jan 1963 DV and 27 Mar 1963 LAT indicated that Leslie Parrish and Diane Baker were in early considerations for the title role. On 13 Feb 1963, DV reported that Rossen had departed on a five-city tour of Europe, allegedly to research the changing international market. However, the 13 Mar 1963 issues of DV and Var claimed he was still searching for a leading actress, and tested several Europeans while abroad. A 3 Apr 1963 NYT article announced the casting of American actress Jean Seberg, who had been working for several years in France and England.
       According to a 31 May 1963 DV production chart, principal photography began in Maryland on 6 May 1963. Items in the 14 May 1963 and 29 May 1963 DV indicated that the unit spent time in the towns of Gaithersburg and Barnesville, while additional sources included Rockville among the locations. In Barnesville, filming of the jousting sequence was temporarily postponed when thirty-two horses were afflicted with equine flu. A 21 Jul 1963 NYT article also named Sugarloaf Mountain among the exterior settings. The following month, the production moved to Great Falls along the Virginia-Maryland border for a picnic scene, which the 12 Jun 1963 Var brief claimed had to be rewritten to accommodate rain. Additional problems arose when reports emerged of delays caused by frequent disagreements between Rossen and Beatty on set.
       Lilith was the first motion picture to be shot at Michael Myerberg’s new Long Island Studios, a converted airplane hangar at Roosevelt Field, Long Island, NY, that was not scheduled to be completed until later that year. After a month in Maryland, Virginia, and Oyster Bay, NY, the 19 Jun 1963 NYT announced that Myerberg had agreed to house the production for a week of interior shooting while construction crews finished their work. According to a 26 Jun 1963 Var article, filmmakers originally intended to rent out space at the Fox Movietone studio in Manhattan, but felt that the open facilities at Long Island Studios were a more suitable height. Although the schedule was short, the production was at risk of falling behind and disrupting the pre-production of The World of Henry Orient (1964, see entry), which was booked there the following month. As director George Roy Hill was displeased with the potential conflict, Myerberg ordered his construction teams to work overtime to finish remodeling a third soundstage in time for their deadline. Once interiors were completed, the Lilith unit returned to Oyster Bay for the remainder of photography. The 21 Jul 1963 NYT article revealed that an eighteen-room Colonial mansion owned by a Brooklyn-based banker doubled as the “Poplar Lodge” sanitarium.
       The 14 May 1963 DV stated that Eleanor Wolquitt, a former story analyst at Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp., served as Rossen’s assistant during shooting. 26 Jun 1963 Var and 4 Sep 1963 DV items included Paul M. Glaser and Morton Taylor among the cast, but their participation could not be confirmed.
       The film caused considerable controversy with censors, as first announced in an 8 Apr 1964 DV article stating that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) Production Code Administration requested a six-foot section of film be cut. Columbia production executive Mike Frankovich objected to the edits, which would remove a lengthy sequence between Beatty and Seberg. Although Lilith was selected as the only official American entry in the 25th Annual Venice Film Festival, the 13 Aug 1963 NYT announced that the United States Information Agency (U.S.I.A.) had withdrawn it from the lineup after Italian press outlets published derogatory comments from a member of the festival committee that created “public prejudgment” of the film. No substitution was made, marking the first time in ten years that no U.S. government or entertainment industry official attended the ceremony. However, the U.S. was still unofficially represented in the program with the independent production, Nothing but a Man (1964, see entry).
       According to a 21 Sep 1964 NYT review, Lilith debuted 19 Sep 1964 at Philharmonic Hall as part of the New York Film Festival, where it screened back-to-back with Nothing but a Man. General release followed at the Coronet and Victoria theaters on 2 Oct 1964, and 16 Oct 1964 at the Beverly Theatre in Beverly Hills, CA. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
30 Jan 1962
p. 15.
Daily Variety
11 Jan 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
13 Feb 1963
p. 5.
Daily Variety
13 Mar 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
14 May 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
29 May 1963
p. 3.
Daily Variety
31 May 1963
p. 6.
Daily Variety
25 Jul 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
4 Sep 1963.
---
Daily Variety
8 Apr 1964
p. 1, 4.
Los Angeles Times
15 Jan 1962
p. 26.
Los Angeles Times
27 Mar 1963
Section D, p. 12.
Los Angeles Times
15 May 1963
Section D, p. 15.
Los Angeles Times
7 Jul 1963
Section C, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
30 Sep 1964
Section D, p. 9.
New York Times
17 Sep 1961
Section BR, p. 8.
New York Times
3 Apr 1963
p. 40.
New York Times
19 Jun 1963
p. 35.
New York Times
25 Jun 1963
p. 23.
New York Times
21 Jul 1963
p. 73.
New York Times
7 Jul 1964
p. 27.
New York Times
13 Aug 1964
p. 26.
New York Times
21 Sep 1964
p. 37.
New York Times
3 Oct 1964
p. 18.
Variety
20 Dec 1961
p. 5.
Variety
8 Aug 1962
p. 5.
Variety
13 Feb 1963
p. 5.
Variety
13 Mar 1963
p. 77.
Variety
22 May 1963
p. 5.
Variety
12 Jun 1963
p. 3.
Variety
26 Jun 1963
p. 4, 21.
Variety
26 Jun 1963
p. 12.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Harry Northrup
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
1st & 2nd asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Asst cam
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Assoc film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward woman
Ward man
MUSIC
Mus comp & cond
SOUND
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Opt eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Makeup
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Stills
Puppets by
Puppets by
Title des
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Lilith by J. R. Salamanca (New York, 1961).
DETAILS
Release Date:
2 October 1964
Premiere Information:
New York Film Festival screening: 19 September 1964
New York opening: 2 October 1964
Los Angeles opening: 16 October 1964
Production Date:
began 6 May 1963
Copyright Claimant:
Centaur Enterprises
Copyright Date:
1 October 1964
Copyright Number:
LP29349
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
114
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Vincent Bruce, a young Korean War veteran, returns to his Maryland hometown and begins working as an occupational therapist at a nearby mental institution for the wealthy. There he meets the beautiful Lilith Arthur, who lives in a secret world of her own creation, and he falls in love with her. They have an affair, but he soon discovers that she is also having a lesbian affair with Mrs. Meaghan, another patient, and that her pursuit of love is limitless and often dangerous. Stephen Evshevsky, another inmate who is in love with Lilith, commits suicide when she rejects him. His death destroys Lilith, severing her last connection with reality, and she retreats into complete madness. The experience also shatters Vincent, and he decides to quit the job; instead of leaving the hospital, however, he asks a doctor for ... +


Vincent Bruce, a young Korean War veteran, returns to his Maryland hometown and begins working as an occupational therapist at a nearby mental institution for the wealthy. There he meets the beautiful Lilith Arthur, who lives in a secret world of her own creation, and he falls in love with her. They have an affair, but he soon discovers that she is also having a lesbian affair with Mrs. Meaghan, another patient, and that her pursuit of love is limitless and often dangerous. Stephen Evshevsky, another inmate who is in love with Lilith, commits suicide when she rejects him. His death destroys Lilith, severing her last connection with reality, and she retreats into complete madness. The experience also shatters Vincent, and he decides to quit the job; instead of leaving the hospital, however, he asks a doctor for help. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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