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
Just as in the novel, there are many double-entendres, and humorous references - both verbal and visual - throughout the film. A couple of such references happen when Humbert's first seen at the office of Lolita's camp, to pick her up. The shot show's Humbert standing there, as all these nubile young girls come in and out of the room, whilst Humbert stands there, with a tennis racquet, and a stuffed beaver. The name of the camp? 'Camp Climax'. Further still, the name of Lolita's friend who has been attending Camp Climax since she was 10 years old is: Mona. See more »
A bottle seen standing on the piano bench in Quilty's house is no longer there when Quilty sits to play at the piano. 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 »
Kubrik's version of Nabokov's tale of a middle-aged professor's self-destructive obsession with a young schoolgirl. Making a film that dealt with underage sex was considered impossible in 1962 due to the strict censorship regulations. Kubrik manages to get round this by merely alluding to sexual encounters and subtle wordplay and symbolism creeps into several scenes. He also raises the girl's age from 12 in the novel to 14 in the film. Lolita is also rich in Kubrik's trademark dark humour.
The three central characters of the novel are all portrayed more than adequately in the film; James Mason as the smitten professor, Shelley Winters as the suburban widow with pretensions of culture and Sue Lyons as the young nymphet. However, it is Sellars' performance as the creepy eccentric Clare Quilty (a relatively minor character in the book) that steals the show and, ultimately, makes the film. The opening scene (which is the ending of the film) is an outstanding testament to his talent and versatility. The said scene gives the film the same "circular structure" used by David Lean in "Brief Encounter".
My favourite moments include; Quilty's re-introduction to the film at the school's summer ball as the camera pans across the dancefloor and subtly reveals a look of comic ambivalence on his face as he dances with his lover, Humbert awkwardly trying to book the only remaining hotel-room at the police convention and Humbert again trying to teach the cynical Lolita the joys of Edgar Allen Poe's poetry.
I thoroughly recommend this film. My only complaint is the length - the final third seemed to drag a bit.
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