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Lolita

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Overview

"How did they make a movie out of Lolita?" teased the print ads of this Stanley Kubrick production. The answer: by adding three years to the title character's age. The original Vladimir Nabokov novel caused no end of scandal by detailing the romance between a middle-aged intellectual and a 12-year-old nymphet. The affair is "cleansed" ever so slightly in the film by making Lolita a 15-year-old portrayed by 16-year-old Sue Lyon. In adapting his novel to film, Nabokov downplayed the wicked satire and sensuality of ...
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Overview

"How did they make a movie out of Lolita?" teased the print ads of this Stanley Kubrick production. The answer: by adding three years to the title character's age. The original Vladimir Nabokov novel caused no end of scandal by detailing the romance between a middle-aged intellectual and a 12-year-old nymphet. The affair is "cleansed" ever so slightly in the film by making Lolita a 15-year-old portrayed by 16-year-old Sue Lyon. In adapting his novel to film, Nabokov downplayed the wicked satire and sensuality of the material, concentrating instead on the story's farcical aspects. James Mason plays professor Humbert Humbert, who while waiting to begin a teaching post in the United States rents a room from blowzy Shelley Winters. Winters immediately falls for the worldly Humbert, but he only has eyes for his landlady's nubile daughter Lolita. The professor goes so far as to marry Winters so that he can remain near to the object of his ardor. Turning up like a bad penny at every opportunity is smarmy TV writer Quilty Peter Sellers, who seems inordinately interested in Humbert's behavior. When Winters happens to read Humbert's diary, she is so revolted by his lustful thoughts that she runs blindly into the street, where she is struck and killed by a car. Without telling Lolita that her mother is dead, Humbert packs her into the car and goes on a cross-country trip, dogged every inch of the way by a mysterious pursuer. Once she gets over the shock of her mother's death, Lolita is agreeable to inaugurating an affair with her stepfather this is handled very, very discreetly, despite the slavering critical assessments of 1962. But when the girl begins discovering boys her own age, she drifts away from Humbert. One day, she leaves without warning. This is humiliation enough for Humbert; but when he discovers who her secret lover really is, the results are fatal. We are prepared for the ending because the film has been framed as a flashback; what we are not prepared for is Stanley Kubrick's adroit manipulation of our sympathies and expectations. An incredibly long film considering its subject matter, Lolita is never dull, nor does it ever stoop to the sensationalism prevalent in the film's ad campaign.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Of all of Stanley Kubrick's films, Lolita typically gets the lowest marks. While in many respects that's a fair assessment, it sells short the accomplishment of making a workable film of Vladimir Nabokov's novel within the restrictions of the early '60s, or any era, really. Working from a Nabokov script, Kubrick places his emphasis squarely on the novel's dark comedy. Strip the difference in age and Humbert Humbert's attitude toward Lolita becomes simply a portrait of the male psyche at its ugliest: obsessive in his idealization before Lolita reciprocates his affections, he becomes possessive and patronizing once their relationship gets underway. Capable of seeming charming and self-effacing even while he's destroying the lives of those around him, James Mason's performance holds the film together, but virtually every key role has been smartly cast. Peter Sellers is both funny and chilling as Mason's doppelganger, a man able to commit the same offenses with virtually none of the consequences. It's Winters, however, who grounds the film, her tremendously sad, all-too-recognizable character lending it a humanity lacking when she disappears from its second half. When Humbert's wanderings begin, the film itself loses its way a bit, in part due to its reliance on the interaction between Mason and Sue Lyon, who never quite displays the acting chops to match her appealing presence. A daring experiment, and in many respects a successful one, Kubrick's film is ultimately unable to maintain the uncomfortable intensity of its early domestic scenes, but still has much more going for it than its reputation as an interesting failure would suggest.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/23/2011
  • UPC: 883929209439
  • Original Release: 1962
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Home Video
  • Time: 2:33:00
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Sales rank: 11,038

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
James Mason Humbert Humbert
Shelley Winters Charlotte Haze
Peter Sellers Clare Quilty
Sue Lyon Lolita Haze
Gary Cockrell Dick Schiller
Marianne Stone Vivian Darkbloom
Diana Decker Jean Farlow
Jerry Stovin John Farlow
Suzanne Gibbs Mona Farlow
Roberta Shore Lorna
Shirley Douglas Mrs. Starch
Roland Brand Bill
Colin Maitland Charlie
Cec Linder Physician
Irvin Allen Hospital Attendant
Lois Maxwell Nurse Mary Lore
William E. Greene Swine
C. Denier Warren Potts
John Harrison Tom
James Dyrenforth Beale Senior
Terry Kilburn Man
Copper Penny
Technical Credits
Stanley Kubrick Director
Bill Andrews Art Director
Gene Coffin Costumes/Costume Designer
Denys Coop Camera Operator
Rene Dupont Asst. Director
James B. Harris Editor, Producer
Anthony Harvey Editor
Peter James Set Decoration/Design
Andrew Low Set Decoration/Design
Oswald Morris Cinematographer
Nelson Riddle Score Composer
Vladimir Nabokov Original Story
George Partleton Makeup
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 12, 2011

    A Man and a Girl with twist and turns of LOVE!!

    This movie yet in black and white was still great!! The actors were exactly like the book except for Lolita who seemed more like 18 than 12 which is the age she depicts in the book but this move is not horrible long and has a very fluid transition so you are sure not to get lost. Humbert's past is not really explained in this book but you do feel his genuine obsession with Lolita come out in the movie. A must see for fans of the book!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews