The Inspector (1962 film)

The Inspector (a.k.a. Lisa) is a 1962 CinemaScope DeLuxe Color British-American drama film directed by Philip Dunne, starring Stephen Boyd and Dolores Hart. Hart plays Lisa Held, a Dutch-Jewish girl who has survived the horror of Auschwitz concentration camp.

The Inspector
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPhilip Dunne
Produced byMark Robson
Written byNelson Gidding
Based onThe Inspector 1960 novel
by Jan de Hartog[1][2]
StarringStephen Boyd
Dolores Hart
Leo McKern
Music byMalcolm Arnold
CinematographyArthur Ibbetson, BSC
Edited byErnest Walter
Red Lion Films
Distributed byTwentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Release date
May 24, 1962 (1962-05-24)
Running time
112 min.
CountryUnited Kingdom
United States


In 1946 Holland, Lisa Held (Dolores Hart), a survivor of Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II, has fallen prey to ex-Nazi Thorens (Marius Goring), who has promised to smuggle her into Palestine. In reality, Thorens plans to send her to South America for sex work. Unbeknownst to them both, they are being trailed by Dutch Police Inspectors Peter Jongman (Stephen Boyd) and Sergeant Wolters (Donald Pleasence). Jongman carries the guilt of not having saved his Jewish fiancée, Rachel, from death at the hands of the Nazis. Jongman follows them to London, where he meets Thorens to discuss Lisa. During their encounter, Jongman strikes Thorens, who accidentally falls onto one of the imitation SS daggers he sells, and dies. Jongman thinks Thorens, who was moving when he left, has only been knocked down and leaves.

Upon returning to Amsterdam with Lisa, Jongman visits his own mother (Jean Anderson) and sister (Jane Jordan Rogers). Jongman’s mother initially believes Lisa is taking advantage of him until she reveals she was experimented on in Auschwitz. Later, Jongman visits Dutch police headquarters, and is confronted by his superiors about Thorens’ death. Jongman says he struck Thorens but did not kill him; he secretly suspects Lisa killed Thorens.

Jongman takes time off, and decides to help Lisa reach Palestine, probably to make amends for failing to save his Jewish girlfriend. Through contacts, Jongman finds work for them on a barge owned by Captain Brandt going to Paris. During the journey, Lisa and Jongman start to fall in love and gain the acceptance of the crusty but goodhearted Brandt.

Lisa and Jongman arrive at Tangiers, where they meet a Dutch smuggler named Klaus Van der Pink (Hugh Griffith), but his price to arrange passage to Palestine is too high. Jongman declares his feelings for Lisa but she rejects him because she feels incapable of being a wife or a mother due to her Auschwitz medical experimentation, the effect of which on her reproductive organs she is uncertain about. Jongman finds out from a British agent named Roger Dickens (Robert Stephens) that he is wanted on suspicion of manslaughter for Thorens’ death. Jongman then seeks help from American Browne (Neil McCallum), who agrees to help them initially but then asks Lisa to instead testify at the Nuremberg War Trials when he hears of Lisa's experiences at Auschwitz.

Lisa agrees at first but Jongman encourages her to instead go to Palestine. Jongman arranges passage for them in one of Van der Pink's vessels in exchange for agreeing to captain for him for a year without pay. Knowing that the British will try to stop them, Jongman makes a deal: if they allow Lisa to enter Palestine, Jongman will surrender himself. During the passage, the British protect the ship from pirates.


The conclusion of this epic was filmed at Three Cliffs Bay on the Gower Peninsula in South Wales, UK. It is suggested that one of the film crew spotted the location during World War II when flying overhead in his aircraft.

Original Novel

The film was based on the novel The Inspector by Jan De Hartog, published in 1960. It was the first novel published by the new publishing house, Atheneum Publishing.[3]

The New York Times called it "a sober and touching novel of the human condition."[4] The Chicago Tribune called it "haunting".[5]


Film rights were bought by 20th Century Fox in October 1960. They assigned Nelson Gidding to do a script and Mark Robson to produce and direct.[6]

In the novel, the male hero was a middle aged man haunted by the death of his Jewish fiance. The script adaptation made it more of a romance between the man (now younger) and the woman.[7]

In March 1961 Natalie Wood signed to play the lead.[8] She dropped out and Robson cast Stephen Boyd and Dolores Hart - both under long term contracts to Fox. They had recently acted in "To the Sound of Trumpets" for Playhouse 90.[9]

Robson ultimately decided not to direct and hired Phillip Dunne. Robson said, "Being just a producer, I don't seem to be working. I feel as though I dropped two-thirds of the job. If ever I had any doubts about it, this experience proves that directing a movie is unquestionably more important than producing it."[10]

It was Dunne's 25th year of working at Fox.[11]


Filming started in England in mid 1961. Robson chose not to be present during the shoot. In June 1961 he said, "As to how the picture is to be made, I naturally have to bow to my director's artistic judgement. Until now it has been a community effort. Now I feel shut out of the project. When I last saw the actors I talked to them of the responsibility of actors to directors. For me, it was a terribly sad farewell, a sort of farewell address. It is terribly important for a producer to watch himself to avoid intruding on a director's prerogatives. I am determined I won't do it."[10]

The film was going to be shot on location in Tangier. However due to political instability there, and insistence of the Moroccan government that the country only be filmed in a certain way, it was decided to film these scenes at Elstree Studios in London.[12] There was location filming in Amsterdam.[13]

In April 1962 the film's title was changed from The Inspector to Lisa for its American release, while it remained as The Inspector for its British release. .[14]


The Los Angeles Times called the film "sluggish, tepid."[15]


  2. Hartog, Jan De (1960). "The inspector".
  3. 3 OLD FRIENDS UNDER A NEW BANNER Hanson, Harry. Chicago Daily Tribune 5 June 1960: c11.
  4. Not in the Line of Duty: THE INSPECTOR. By Jan de Hartog By ANTHONY BOUCHER. New York Times 26 June 1960: BR4.
  5. Pursuit, Suspense, and a Theme of Compassion Butcher, Fanny. Chicago Daily Tribune 26 June 1960: c3.
  6. New Company Will Spend $8.5 Million: Robson Directs 'Inspector'; Dana Wynter Will Join Kaye Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times 7 Oct 1960: A9.
  7. There's Nothing Like a Best Seller to Set Hollywood a-Tingle: There's Nothing Like a Best Seller By MURRAY SCHUMACH. New York Times 16 Sep 1962: 352.
  8. Natalie Wood to Portray a Girl Trapped by Nazis Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune 17 Mar 1961: b12.
  9. TV: Drama in World War I Setting: ' To Sound of Trumpets' on 'Playhouse 90' By JACK GOULD. New York Times 10 Feb 1960: 75.
  10. ROBSON SADDENED BY STAY IN EUROPE: Regrets Attitude of Actors and Yielding Directorship By MURRAY SCHUMACH Special to The New York Times. New York Times 26 June 1961: 22.
  11. Piped Theater TV Called Death Knell: Philip Dunne Survives 25 Years of Shake-ups at Fox Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times 5 Mar 1962: C15.
  12. Youth Group Busy, on 'Weekend Pass': Berlin Suits Plague Actress; Robson Builds Own Morocco Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times 15 Aug 1961: C7.
  14. FILMLAND EVENTS: Peter Howard Named as Brigitte's Co-star Los Angeles Times 13 Apr 1962: C14.
  15. 'Lisa' Not Like Book; It's Sluggish, Tepid Harford, Margaret. Los Angeles Times 23 June 1962: 16.
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