Portrait from Life
British quad poster (1950s re-release)
Directed byTerence Fisher
Written by
Story byDavid Evans
CinematographyJack Asher
Edited byVladimir Sagovsky
Music byBenjamin Frankel
Distributed byGeneral Film Distributors (UK)
Release date
15 December 1948 (London)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office£150,000 (by 1953)[1]
245,405 admissions (France)[2]

Portrait from Life (also known as Lost Daughter, and in the U.S. as The Girl in the Painting)[3] is a 1948 British drama film directed by Terence Fisher and starring Mai Zetterling, Robert Beatty and Guy Rolfe.[4]


A British Army officer, Major Lawrence (Guy Rolfe), is on leave from being stationed in occupied Germany just after WW2 when he sees a painting of a beautiful young girl called Hildegard in a London art gallery. While viewing the painting he is approached by an old man, Professor Franz Menzel (Arnold Marlé), who escaped from Nazi Germany in the 1930s leaving his family behind and claims to be the young girl's father. Major Lawrence agrees to search for the young girl when he returns to Germany. On returning to Germany and after a long search Major Lawrence eventually tracks down the young girl but she is suffering from amnesia and living with a German couple who claim to be her parents. As Lawrence investigates, the circumstances of the young girl's past become more complicated.

Partial cast


Anthony Steel has one of his earliest film appearances.[6]

Critical reception

The New York Times wrote, "the new picture at the Little Carnegie stems from an intriguing idea, and there are several very effective sequences in the drama, plus a fine performance by the Swedish actress, Mai Zetterling. Indeed, if the whole of The Girl in the Painting were as good as its parts, the posting of this notice would be a much more pleasant task. Too much, rather than too little, story and plodding direction are the principal faults";[7] while Allmovie described it as "an over-orchestrated "guilty pleasure" from the glory days of British romance pictures."[3]

Box office

The film made a profit of £4,100.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Spicer, Andrew (5 September 2006). Sydney Box. Manchester University Press. ISBN 9780719059995 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ Box office information for Terence Fisher films in France at Box office Story
  3. ^ a b Hal Erickson. "Portrait from Life (1948) - Terence Fisher - Synopsis, Characteristics, Moods, Themes and Related - AllMovie". AllMovie.
  4. ^ Hal Erickson. "Portrait from Life (1948) - Terence Fisher - Synopsis, Characteristics, Moods, Themes and Related - AllMovie". AllMovie.
  5. ^ "Nelly Arno". BFI. Archived from the original on 16 August 2014. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  6. ^ Vagg, Stephen (23 September 2020). "The Emasculation of Anthony Steel: A Cold Streak Saga". Filmink.
  7. ^ "Movie Reviews". The New York Times. 12 August 2021.