Lolita – Stanley Kubrick (1962)


Lolita is a 1962 British-American comedy-drama film directed by Stanley Kubrick. Based on a 1955 novel of the same title, Vladimir Nabokov also wrote the screenplay. It follows a middle-aged literature lecturer who becomes sexually obsessed with a young adolescent girl. The film stars James Mason as Humbert Humbert, Sue Lyon as Dolores Haze (Lolita), and Shelley Winters as Charlotte Haze, with Peter Sellers as Clare Quilty. Owing to the MPAA‘s restrictions at the time, the film toned down the more provocative aspects of the novel, sometimes leaving much to the audience’s imagination. The actress who played Lolita, Sue Lyon, was 14 at the time of filming. Lolita polarized contemporary critics, but is well-received today. Kubrick later commented, however, that if he had realized how severe the censorship limitations were going to be, he probably would never have made the film. … He searches for a room to rent, and Charlotte Haze, a cloying, sexually frustrated widow, invites him to stay at her house. He declines until seeing her daughter, Dolores, affectionately called “Lolita”. Lolita is a soda-pop drinking, gum-snapping, overtly flirtatious teenager, with whom Humbert becomes infatuated. … Humbert uses the term ‘nymphet’ to describe Lolita, which he explains and uses in the novel; it appears twice in the movie and its meaning is left undefined. In a voice-over on the morning after the Ramsdale High School dance, Humbert confides in his diary, ‘What drives me insane is the twofold nature of this nymphet, of every nymphet perhaps, this mixture in my Lolita of tender, dreamy childishness and a kind of eerie vulgarity. I know it is madness to keep this journal, but it gives me a strange thrill to do so. And only a loving wife could decipher my microscopic script.’ … There are many differences between the Kubrick-Harris film adaptation and Nabokov’s novel, including some events that were entirely omitted. Most of the sexually explicit innuendos, references and episodes in the book were taken out of the film because of the strict censorship of the 1960s; the sexual relationship between Lolita and Humbert is implied and never depicted graphically on the screen. In addition, some events in the film differ from the novel, and there are also changes in Lolita’s character.  …”
Wikipedia
20 Things You Didn’t Know About Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Lolita’
NY Times: ‘Lolita,’ Vladimir Nabokov’s Adaptation of His Novel:Sue Lyon and Mason in Leading Roles (1962)
LOLITA (1962) – Review by Pauline Kael
amazon
Archive: Lolita 2:27:13
YouTube: Lolita – Official Trailer – James Mason Movie, The Greatest Movie Scene

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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