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
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. See more »
Charlotte Haze's house is obviously British in architectural style as is the street in front of her home, although the location for her house is New Hampshire, USA according to the voice over in the film. Much of the film was shot in the UK. See more »
The credits are played over footage of Lolita's toenails being painted. 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 »
I think Stanley Kubrick was the only director who had any ideas of how to tackle a film version of Lolita. I also believe that he was the only director who could have succeeded, and I believe he did succeed. This film was everything I could have expected it to be, and maybe even a little more.
Shelley Winters' performance was wonderful! James Mason delivered a strong effort in a very difficult part to play. Peter Sellers was Peter Sellers, four or five times throughout the movie, but that's Peter Sellers, and that's why I am really starting to admire his work. The real surprise performance in this movie, however, came from Sue Lyon in the title role. Her intensity was incredible. She seemed perfectly natural as a teenage girl enjoying the attention of older men, or just men in general. You could really see the wheels turning in her head as she schemed her way from one situation to the other. Some have criticized that her Lolita was "too old" in comparison to the novel's Lolita. One could make that judgment, however, what twelve year old actress would have been able to provide the emotional depth required for the part? Let's face it, in literary adaptations, some license must be allowed. All in all, I thought it was a very good movie, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys the work of Stanley Kubrick and/or Peter Sellers.
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