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Humbert Humbert, a divorced British professor of French literature, travels to small-town America for a teaching position. He allows himself to be swept into a relationship with Charlotte Haze, his widowed and sexually famished landlady, whom he marries in order that he might gain access to her fourteen-year-old daughter—Lolita—with whom he has fallen hopelessly in love, but whose affections shall be appropriated by a devious trickster named Clare Quilty.
|Studio :||Seven Arts Productions, Allied Artists, Transworld Pictures,|
|Crew :||Director of Photography, Editor,|
|Cast :||James Mason Shelley Winters Lois Maxwell Sue Lyon Peter Sellers|
|Genre :||Drama Romance|
A Surprisingly Unforgettable Movie!
This story has more twists and turns than a second-rate soap opera.
A daring drama, full of irony and nutty relationships. At the center would be Lolita, very well portrayed by Sue Lyon. Shelley Winters, as her mom Charlotte, sees her more as a rival than as a daughter. She jealously calls her "a homely child." On the other hand, James Mason, who could be a surrogate parent to her, wants Lolita as a lover. Charlotte's problem is that she's stuck at the same emotional level as Lolita. She says she still "feels young" but has become a pretentious bore with her "Van Gawk" Van Gogh. Humbert's relationship with Charlotte is an ironic inversion of his affair with Lolita. He could care less about Charlotte, but uses her to get closer to Lolita. As much as he adores Lolita, she uses him to suit herself.Her character can't really be faulted. She's certainly aware of the effect she has on guys of all ages; but she's a confident outgoing teen who likes to have fun with people...sometimes a little too much fun. Humbert knows exactly what he's doing, even if he doesn't know why. We don't get to see what his ex-wife was like, so we don't know why he ends up in strange relationships. He must be miserable when he's with Charlotte, and he's never really secure with Lolita either. Even if she weren't underage and technically his stepdaughter, she's so mercurial she would annoy him anyway. In some ways, though, she's the most mature one. She's a little unsure of herself, but isn't afraid to try new activities, and fits in well with all of her peers and mentors (Humbert being a special case, to say the least). Her most poignant line "I want you to be proud, really proud of me," even though it would better said to her mom instead of Humbert, shows that she feels good about herself.By the end, she's very much a young adult. She still seems cheery, even with the huge responsibility of marriage, running a house, and carrying a baby. In these rather desperate circumstances, one has the impression that she'll be fine. Strangely enough, when Humbert comes to visit, he seems to almost fit in. He's given the respect due to an older relative who's also a benefactor. But she wisely refuses to junk everything and run off with him.The one who seems out of place is Peter Sellers. He tends to throw the drama off-track with his idiosyncratic characters. The scene at the hotel when he pretends to be a cop is especially distracting. It's amusing for a few seconds, but he just goes on and on. He's a sort of grotesque foil for Humbert. I don't see the point of the frame story either. Why would Humbert kill him? Sure, he's a 'rival' of sorts; but by this point, Humbert has seen Lolita settle down permanently. Every guy but her husband is banished to the fantasyland she once lived in.Another bit I couldn't figure out was why Humbert would wait to tell Lolita that her mom was dead. It seemed unnecessarily cruel to make up a story about her being in the hospital. It's also odd that Lolita spends the total of one night grieving. Anyway, a really well-made film on a difficult topic with some fine performances.
Like the book, the film is strongest in the beginning, as Humbert Humbert (James Mason) takes a room with a widow (Shelley Winters), only after spotting her teenage daughter (Sue Lyon) lounging around in a bikini. The tension between his forbidden attraction, concealed in sly glances and little gestures, all while Winters practically throws herself at him, is fantastic. Unfortunately, after an event I won't describe to avoid spoiling it, the film drags on and gets a bit ridiculous. The point is to show how ridiculous an infatuation can make a man behave, even if it is taboo, bringing him to humiliation, but the road trip, being pursued, and the recurring character played by Peter Sellers, who is so endearing in the beginning, eventually gets over-used and annoying. The film is far too long at 152 minutes, and another screenwriter should have been used instead of Nabokov. There are several places the film suffers from the Production Code, and we never really feel the sickness of lust from Mason, but Director Stanley Kubrick does get a number of allusions in, and perhaps it's better that the majority of it was left to the imagination. It's disturbing that Sue Lyon was just 14 when filming started, but her performance is impressive, and Shelley Winters is also strong. Kubrick does reasonably well, but errs by wandering into some silly comedic moments, and should have tightened things up. There's enough here to be entertained when you're not cringing though.
Kurbrick was one of the greatest film makers of all time. His attention to detail and his meticulous style is rarely seen in films today. It was rarely seen in his day too. The down side of his perfectionist nature thought, was that he didn't make many films. Still he did make a few classics in his day. Films like A Clockwork Orange, 2001, Paths of Glory, Dr. Strangelove and The Shinning. One film that often gets overlooked though, is Lolita.This film is different. The tagline is "How Did they Ever Make a Movie Out of Lolita." The plot is this, Prof. Humbert Humbert comes to America, rents a house, meets the landlady's young nymphet daughter, falls instantly in love and purses her, rather relentlessly. So yes the plot of this story is rather unconventional. Kubrick has gone on record saying, that if he knew the kind of limitations there would be, that he wouldn't have even bothered making the movie. Basically with the censors of the day, the relationship between Humbert and Lolita couldn't be shown or talked about in any real way. Now this movie came out in 1962 and to keep things in context, you should remember that in the 1950's married couples on TV and movies were shown sleeping in separate beds at night. So the idea of showing a man in his 50's sleeping with a young girl (the actress who played Lolita, Sue Lyon was only 14 at the time) was pretty much out of the question. And while some might see this as a major problem, it really isn't. The relationship, while never out right admitted, is alluded to, a lot. They say it without actually saying it.The real strength of this movie though, is the actors. James Mason plays Humbert perfectly. His character oozes aristocratic disdain and disgust for everything around him. Especially Shelly Winters, that's the landlady. That is, until he sees Lolita. Once he sets his eyes on her, that's it. While his intentions are a little repulsive, he pursues them with such a dogged genuine determination, you do sympathize with him a bit.And Sue Lyon was absolutely perfect as Lolita. The way she carries herself, the way she talks, the way she teases Humbert. On the one hand it seems like she knows exactly what she is doing. She knows the effect she has on him and she seems to love toying with him. Although, on the other hand, she might just be a teenager fooling around. With her character it is very hard to tell. One scene, she seems wise beyond on her age and in the next she is carrying on like petulant child.And of course we have Shelly Winters, one of the most underrated actress of all time. And yes her character, Lolita's mother, is very shrill and annoying. That was kind of Shelly Winters bread and butter, but she was supposed to be shrill an annoying. An obstacle for Humbert to get past. Still, Shelly Winters brought such a wounded vulnerability to her character. This is a woman who lost her husband, is not very bright and her new tenant Humbert is uh kind of problematic. There is one scene where she breaks down and it is truly heartbreaking.This film is also filled with Kubrick's usual cinematic flair. There are so many little things hidden in the visuals that you don't notice at first but make the film much richer on repeat viewings.This film is not without its flaws however. It does drag a bit in the middle. And there is way, way to much of Peter Sellers. Kubrick was such a meticulous director with his shot and his sets and especially his actors. But for whatever reason, he gave Sellers way to much leeway. Now this did work in Dr. Strangelove, where Sellers had to play all these different characters, but here, where he just plays the character Clare Quilty, all these different voices and mannerisms he keeps using, it's just distracting. And a little annoying. Kurbrick definitely should have rained Sellers in.Besides those few flaws, this film is truly a classic. It deserves to be ranked right alongside all of Kubrick's other classic films. It's the kind of film, where one scene your laughing, the next scene your skin is crawling.That's the power of Lolita
Lolita from 1997. always was one of my very favorites, and rare example of movie better than the book. When I saw this one for the first time I was a kid and I could not stand black and white movies, but I still decided to watch it because of my love towards the book and movie from 90's. Unfortunately, 160 minutes of black and white was too much for me. 20 years later I finally watched the whole thing and I definitely recommend it to everyone who didn't see it yet. And newer one too. And the book. How could I even think that Kubrick could fail... I'm ashamed.