Lolita (1962) Poster



Jump to: Cameo (1) | Director Trademark (3) | Spoilers (1)
Peter Sellers modeled the voice of his character Clare Quilty on that of his director, Stanley Kubrick.
Sue Lyon was chosen for the title role partly due to the size of her breasts. Stanley Kubrick had been warned that the censors felt strongly about the use of a less developed actress to portray the sexually active 14-year-old.
When Humbert is waiting to pick up Lolita in the Camp Climax lodge, he idly strokes the head of a taxidermied beaver, providing a sexually suggestive sight gag.
Since the censors would allow nothing close to a suggestion of pedophilia, Lolita's age had to be increased from 12 in Vladimir Nabokov's original novel to 14 for the film. They also objected to a scene where Humbert Humbert was to gaze at Lolita's picture while in bed with her mother Charlotte; in the end, the scene was filmed with Charlotte lying fully dressed on the bed and Humbert lying beside her wearing a robe.
Sue Lyon went horse-back riding everyday after filming. Kubrick told her, "If you get thrown, roll over. Don't hurt your face."
Stanley Kubrick originally wanted Joey Heatherton for the title role of Lolita, but Heatherton's father Ray Heatherton said no for fear his daughter would be typecast as a promiscuous sex kitten.
Close to 800 girls auditioned for the part of Lolita Haze.
The name of Vivian Darkbloom is an anagram of "Vladimir Nabokov". Quilty's description of Judo matches with her is a direct address of the nature of the relationship between character and creator.
The famous heart-shaped sunglasses that Lolita wears appear only in publicity photos taken by Bert Stern; Lolita wears cat eye sunglasses in the movie.
The Humbert Humbert role was originally offered to Cary Grant, who turned it down in indignation.
Marlon Brando and David Niven were considered for the part of Humbert.
Vladimir Nabokov's original screenplay diverged greatly from the novel, but only a portion of it was used by Stanley Kubrick, even though Nabokov gets screen credit. Nabokov later published it as "Lolita: A Screenplay". The unused screenplay featured an Alfred Hitchcock-like cameo for Nabokov, who is referred to as "that nut with a butterfly net" (Nabokov was well known as an amateur lepidopterist). Although he generally admired the movie adaptation of his book, Nabokov regretted the waste of his time in writing a screenplay which was altered so drastically during filming.
In the opening minutes of the film, s the shot dissolves to the mansion interior, just before James Mason opens the door, Kubrick makes a cameo walking out of shot.
At one point Lolita mentions hanging out with friends named Rex and Roy. Both of these names mean "king" (Rex in Latin and Roy in French).
James Mason was the first choice of director Stanley Kubrick and producer James B. Harris for the role of Humbert Humbert, but he initially declined due to a Broadway engagement. Laurence Olivier then refused the part, apparently on the advice of his agents. Kubrick considered Peter Ustinov, but decided against him. Harris then suggested David Niven; Niven accepted the part, but then withdrew for fear the sponsors of his TV show, Four Star Playhouse (1952), would object. Mason then withdrew from his play and got the part. Harris denies claims that Noel Coward also rejected the role.
Errol Flynn was considered for Humbert Humbert, but died before the film was made.
Claire Quilty's role in the screenplay was greatly expanded from that of the novel.
Hayley Mills also turned down the role of Lolita. At the time, her father, John Mills was credited with the decision. Later, Walt Disney was blamed.
Although story takes place all across the United States, many of major sets and exteriors (hotel, hospitals, even residential streets), clearly look more like locales in England, where picture was actually shot.
Sue Lyon's outstanding performance as "Lolita" earned her the "Most Promising Female Newcomer" award at the 1963 Golden Globes.
Stanley Kubrick's first choice for composing the score was Bernard Herrmann, but the composer balked at having to use Bob Harris' "Theme from Lolita" in his score.
This was the first film that Stanley Kubrick produced independently in England.
According to Elstree Studios records, Lolita was filmed from Nov 1960 to Feb 1961. The studio charged £34,000 for the sound stage rentals. Sadly, the sound stages used for the film were demolished to make way for a Tesco store.
The Edgar Allan Poe poem Humbert reads to Lolita is "Ulalume." According to an ear-witness at a Poe recitation of the poem, the author pronounced the title as "You-la-loom."
In the novel, Lolita is a brunette. In the film, she is a blonde.
Tuesday Weld was considered for the title role.
The distinctive Flemish-Gothic spires of the Delaware & Hudson Building in Albany, New York can be seen in the background, as Humbert drives to Lolita's house near the end of the movie. This would indicate that she was living in or near the town Rensselaer.
First film of Ed Bishop.
Teen actress Jenny Maxwell tested for title role.


James B. Harris:  the film's producer plays Brewster.

Director Trademark 

Stanley Kubrick:  [bathroom/toilet]  The first Kubrick film in which showing a shot of a bathroom/toilet became his trademark. He would repeat this in every film since until his death in 1999.
Stanley Kubrick:  [three-way]  Humbert vs. Quilty vs. Lolita
Stanley Kubrick:  [faces]  Quilty, when he is impersonating a policeman at the hotel.


The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

One ending that was considered was to have Humbert and Lolita get married in a state that allowed young people to wed; this ending was considered in order to appease the censors.

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