7.6/10
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Lolita (1962)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 21 June 1962 (West Germany)
Trailer
1:00 | Trailer
A middle-aged college professor becomes infatuated with a fourteen-year-old nymphet.

Director:

Stanley Kubrick

Writers:

Vladimir Nabokov (screenplay), Vladimir Nabokov (novel)
Reviews
Popularity
1,297 ( 123)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Mason ... Prof. Humbert Humbert
Shelley Winters ... Charlotte Haze
Sue Lyon ... Lolita
Gary Cockrell ... Richard T. Schiller
Jerry Stovin ... John Farlow
Diana Decker Diana Decker ... Jean Farlow
Lois Maxwell ... Nurse Mary Lore
Cec Linder ... Physician
Bill Greene Bill Greene ... George Swine
Shirley Douglas ... Mrs. Starch
Marianne Stone ... Vivian Darkbloom
Marion Mathie Marion Mathie ... Miss Lebone
James Dyrenforth ... Frederick Beale Sr.
Maxine Holden Maxine Holden ... Miss Fromkiss
John Harrison John Harrison ... Tom
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Storyline

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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The daring novel that became a most provocative screen play. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Marlon Brando, Rex Harrison and Peter Ustinov were considered for the part of Humbert. See more »

Goofs

Punctuation error in the opening credits: a line reads, "Miss Winter's costumes by Gene Coffin". It should be "Miss Winters' costumes by Gene Coffin". See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Humbert Humbert: Quilty! Quilty?
Clare Quilty: Ah, wha? Who's there?
Humbert Humbert: Are you Quilty.
Clare Quilty: No, I'm... Spartacus. You come to free the slaves or sumpn?
Humbert Humbert: Are you Quilty?
Clare Quilty: Yeah, yeah, I'm Quilty, yeah, sure.
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Crazy Credits

The credits are played over footage of Lolita's toenails being painted. See more »

Alternate Versions

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 »

Connections

Referenced in What's My Line?: Sue Lyon (1964) See more »

Soundtracks

Put Your Dreams Away
(uncredited)
By Paul Mann
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User Reviews

 
A delicious, adult meditation on youth, obsession and sex.
16 August 2005 | by ags123See all my reviews

This film remains my all-time favorite. It's a delicious, adult meditation on youth, obsession and sex. While not entirely faithful to the novel, it captures the book's spirit and is nonetheless a masterpiece on its own terms. To fully appreciate what Kubrick has done, compare this version to Adrian Lyne's anemic remake.

Kubrick chose his cast wisely for the most part. James Mason conveys both the tormented inner soul and the outwardly polite gentleman with such charm that you simply can't despise him for his treachery. Shelley Winters was never better as the shrill, man-hungry shrew. Sue Lyon is enormously credible in a complex role - physically attractive, childish at times in her behavior, but quietly calculating and manipulative. The weakest link is Peter Sellers, who Kubrick found amusing enough to let him run on too long. Sellers was a brilliant performer, but just not right for this film. As Quilty, he's fine. When masquerading as others, he's mostly intrusive and tends to alter the tone of what's going on.

The need to tread carefully around the censors in 1962 actually works in the film's favor. There's a sophisticated subtlety that counterbalances the lurid subject matter. In fact, I even prefer the edited-for-television version of the scene in which Humbert and Lolita first have sex. Here she merely whispers in his ear before a suggestive fade-out. In the complete version of the film, the scene continues with them discussing a silly game played at summer camp. The less said, the better.

"Lolita" has aged remarkably well. Its topic is relevant today, and the careful craftsmanship that went into this production holds up beautifully. I think it's Kubrick's best film - they tended to get more self-indulgent as time went on. This one's a gem. Not to be overlooked are the aptly provocative title sequence and Nelson Riddle's luscious piano score.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | French | Spanish | German

Release Date:

21 June 1962 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Lolita See more »

Filming Locations:

Buckinghamshire, England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,631
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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