Humbert Humbert forces a confrontation with a man, whose name he has just recently learned, in this man's home. The events that led to this standoff began four years earlier. Middle aged Humbert, a European, arrives in the United States where he has secured at job at Beardsley College in Beardsley, Ohio as a Professor of French Literature. Before he begins his post in the fall, he decides to spend the summer in the resort town of Ramsdale, New Hampshire. He is given the name of Charlotte Haze as someone who is renting a room in her home for the summer. He finds that Charlotte, widowed now for seven years, is a woman who puts on airs. Among the demonstration of those airs is throwing around the name of Clare Quilty, a television and stage script writer, who came to speak at her women's club meeting and who she implies is now a friend. Those airs also mask being lonely, especially as she is a sexually aggressive and liberated woman. Humbert considers Charlotte a proverbial "joke" but ...Written by
Cinematographer Oswald Morris had a major falling out with director Stanley Kubrick during production. Kubrick was furious when images from the film appeared in a newspaper during shooting. He blamed Morris, who, as cinematographer, was responsible for managing the rushes from each days shoot and which was where the leaked images had apparently originated. It was later discovered that a junior assistant at the film processing lab had sold them to the press. According to Morris, Kubrick never apologised to him for the accusation and an angry Morris vowed never to work with the director again. See more »
There is a moving shadow of a crew member on Humbert's back when he is talking to Lolita in the kitchen of her house; the same movements can be seen in a crew member's reflection on the television screen facing the camera. See more »
The Criterion laserdisc release is the only one to use a transfer approved by Stanley Kubrick. This transfer alternates between a 1.33 and a 1.66 aspect ratio (as does the Kubrick-approved 'Strangelove' transfer). All subsequent releases to date have been 1.66 (which means that all the 1.33 shots are slightly matted). See more »
Having just read Vladmir Nabokov's 'Lolita' for Uni, I instantly wanted to see Stanley Kubrick's rendering of the story. Overall I was impressed by what he had done, but I felt some parts of the film didn't quite work. Firstly, although i think Sellers is a great actor and I love him in everything I've seen him in I just couldn't get comfortable with his role here. When reading the book I had a totally different vision of Quilty, so I found it hard to readjust to Seller's performance. Although his acting is great and hilarious as always, it just didn't fit into the plot for me.
I thought James Mason was good, and he played the gradual disintegration of Humbert Humbert with an intensity which i enjoyed. However, i felt that the film did not reveal as much of his character as the novel portrays. The name Humbert Humbert suggests two sides to his nature, and I felt that too much emphasis was placed on his suave and intelligent side, and not enough time was devoted to his burning desire and passion for Lolita. I particularly missed one of my favourite lines that was not used in film, 'Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul.' Although i haven't seen the film in a long time, I think Jeremy Irons from the 1997 version is a much better actor for the role.
Sue Lyon made a great Lolita, although she did tremble on the line between looking young enough for the role and looking too old for it. Still, there were times in the film where she looked so young the odious nature of Humbert's act really struck me. Speaking of this, I felt the film skipped past too much of what really went on between Humbert and Lolita. Although Nabokov similarly leaves this to the reader's imagination, I thought a little more could have been done to stress the nature of Humbert and Lolita's relationship.
Shelley Winters was brilliant, and her acting added so much to the character of Charlotte Haze. I thought she was wonderful; she really fleshed the character out.
Overall, I did enjoy watching this film despite the small niggles I had with it, but I view it as something separate to the novel. In this way it's a more enjoyable experience. I'm looking forward to seeing the 1997 version of the film again (I saw it once years ago!), as I think it is a movie that will benefit much more having been made in a time of a more permissive society, allowing more creative freedom in what can be shown.
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