Lilith is the story of a young man who becomes an occupational therapist in a private mental institution where patients share three conditions – schizophrenia, wealth and uncommon intelligence. Untrained in medicine, he nevertheless takes the job because he feels he can help suffering humanity.
Whatever clarity the narrative has in its early reels is shrouded in mist as his relations with a beautiful young patient begin to develop. Unfoldment is complex and often confusing. Robert Rossen as producer-scripter- director frequently fails to communicate to the spectator. Audience is left in as much of a daze as the hero is throughout most of the film.
Warren Beatty undertakes lead role with a hesitation jarring to the watcher. His dialog generally is restricted to no more than a single, or at most two sentences, and often the audience waits uncomfortably for words which never come while Beatty merely hangs his head or stares into space. As he finds himself falling in love with Jean Seberg, a fragile girl who lives in her own dream-world and wants love, the change of character from one fairly definitive in the beginning to the gropings of a sexually-obsessed mind never carries conviction.
In adapting the J.R. Salamanca novel, Rossen approaches his task with obvious attempt to shock.