Lolita

Lolita

DVD - 2007
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Humbert, a divorced British professor, travels to small-town America for a teaching position. He allows himself to be swept into a relationship with Charlotte, whom he marries in order that he might pursue her 14-year-old daughter, Lolita.
Publisher: Burbank, CA : Distributed by Warner Home Video, [2007]
Edition: Widescreen ed.
ISBN: 9781419863721
141986372X
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (153 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in.

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t
tkondaks
Jul 13, 2017

A passable version...however, it pales in comparison to the 1997 Adrian Lynne version which is far superior.

d
danrothschild
Apr 26, 2017

Let me preface this by saying: Lolita is a film you absolutely should see if you've any interest at all in great American cinema of the early 1960s.

I find the harsh rhetoric directed against Kubrick and Lolita entirely, and unjustly, misplaced, and quite frankly ignorant. Bear in mind that Nabokov published his controversial (and almost universally-acclaimed) novel about the obsession of a middle-aged professor (Humbert Humbert) with a 12-year-old girl (Dolores Haze, the eponymous Lolita) and their sexual relationship in 1955. It is a miracle, and a testimony to Nabokov's genius, that a novel which dealt with such explosive subject matter was ever published in the United States to begin with.

Today's viewer should bear in mind that, again, it is a miracle that Kubrick's film—shot in 1961, and released in 1962—ever reached the big screen, particularly with such an A-list cast of some of the great cinematic actors of the period. Bear in mind that, upon the film's 1962 release, the MPAA rating system was still six years away and all movies released in the US (both foreign and domestic) were subject to the notorious Hays Code dating back to the '30s. Censorship tied Kubrick's hands substantially, and Kubrick later commented: "[B]ecause of all the pressure over the Production Code and the Catholic Legion of Decency at the time, I believe I didn't sufficiently dramatize the erotic aspect of Humbert's relationship with Lolita. If I could do the film over again, I would have stressed the erotic component of their relationship with the same weight Nabokov did."

Despite these obstacles, the film is (rightfully) regarded as one of world cinema's great classics, appearing perennially on critics' and directors' '100 best' lists.

Nelson Riddle's memorable score complements the film superbly, building up to and underscoring the piece's most dramatic scenes. Oswald Morris' cinematography is breathtaking—an altogether appropriate admixture of (at times) misty impressionism and (at other times) hard expressionism (see also Ingmar Bergman's 1966 masterpiece of Deconstructivist cinema, Persona).

James Mason turns in yet another outstanding performance (in a career filled with them) as the nymphet-obsessed Professor Humbert Humbert, tormented by his desires past the brink of madness. Peter Sellers delivers a tour-de-force performance as Claire Quilty, a hack television and film writer unburdened with either conscience or a soul.

Without a doubt the star of the film, the actress who absolutely steals the show (which is saying something, given her casting opposite James Mason, one of world cinema's all-time greats) is the late, great (and criminally underrated) Shelley Winters. Ms. Winters delivers one of the cinema's greatest-ever performances as the sexually-frustrated, grasping, annoyingly garrulous, intellectually and culturally aspirational-and-pretentious, not-terribly-bright upper-middle class widow, Charlotte Haze. Had her performance in 1951's A Place in the Sun not secured her place in the pantheon of world cinema's great actresses, Lolita most assuredly would have. Winters's Charlotte Haze is a revelation, a master class in the art and craft of cinematic acting—and not to be missed.

But perhaps the film's biggest flaw is the casting of then-newcomer Sue Lyon as the film's eponymous character, Lolita. Ms. Lyon turns in what can charitably be called an uneven performance. To be sure, there are moments in the film (such as Humbert's initial sight of Lolita in Charlotte Haze's garden) where she manages to (sort of) hold her own in scenes with greats like Winters and Mason. Ms. Lyon's performance is so uneven that one finds oneself frequently pondering the question, "Besides the temptation of forbidden fruit, why on earth would the worldly, sophisticated, handsome Humbert Humbert be attracted to an ignorant, unsophisticated, spoiled teenage brat?"

f
Fuzzy_Wuzzy
Sep 19, 2016

And just like 2005's "Hard Candy" - 1962's "Lolita" also featured a very precocious and viciously calculating underage girl of just 14 who (though she was being wantonly pursued by men old enough to be her father) turned out to be (in my opinion) an even more despicable "predator" than they were. It's true.

I can't begin to tell you how much this gutter-level, white-trash, Stanley Kubrick production made my skin crawl with total revulsion. And, out of all of the characters presented in this story, there wasn't even one who was in the least bit likable.

It was especially Sue Lyon's haughty portrayal of the slutty, demanding, snot-nosed Lolita character (as well as Peter Seller's slimy, quirky and totally irksome Clare Quilty character) who definitely lost this contemptible picture some significant points in my books.

d
Derringer
Sep 13, 2016

Yep. If ever there was a particular motion picture that has made me lose total respect and admiration for its highly-regarded director - That motion picture would have to be, none other than - Stanley Kubrick's detestable "Lolita".

Had this 1962 film presented the Lolita character in a more favourable light, and not as a despicable, snot-nosed, demanding, 14-year-old slut, then, yes, I would have definitely reconsidered my initial opinion of film-maker, Kubrick.

But here I found myself absolutely loathing the young (but not naive) Lolita about 10x more than I did the men who were clambering to seduce this white-trash tart.

In other words - Lolita certainly deserved everything that she got from these lusting old farts.

And, come to think of it - I seriously believe that that's exactly the point that Kubrick was trying to get across here in Lolita's sordid, little story.

He was clearly telling all the horny males in his audience that paedophilia was OK in his eyes, especially if the "under-aged-one" was, in fact, a total bitch (as was the case here).

t
trotter73
Jan 16, 2015

well acted movie based on a novel about a controversial subject matter that would never get made into a movie in today's PC society

g
garycornell
Aug 15, 2014

I will admire the courage of Director Stanley Kubrick. He takes on controversial subjects. In Lolita, he even takes a controversial subject and adds humor to it with the character of Peter Sellers. Although, not much is made of Peter Sellers character, he is the heart of the movie. He was a brilliant actor and he shows it in "Lolita". If your a fan of Sellers, then this is a must see movie for you. As with all Kubrick movies you can count on an excellent cast in James Mason, Shelley Winters and Sue Lyon. The script is tightly written and of course the cinematography is excellent. Watch the camera when it look into the face of Peter Sellers. Kubrick could do it all. Lolita because of its subject matter may not be for everyone. Never the less, it is great film making.

p
petercorell
May 31, 2014

If you haven't seen Lolita this is a supurb Peter Sellers movie. James Mason acts in love with one woman only to take advantage of romancing her daughter. This is truly one unique movie, which is what you expect from Director Stanley Kubrick.

A fairly interesting film though I found that Peter Sellers' character detracted from my enjoyment of the film though usually he is an actor that I enjoy. His humour - such as it was - and the different characters he played and ultimately the manner he used throughout the film were not in sync with the tone of the film, in my opinion.

Shelley Winters' character is one who you want to feel sympathetic towards - especially when her advances are initially rejected then taken advantage of by the male widower.

The young woman is initially appealing in her strength and weakness but once she has deserted the step-father then she is revealed for being little more than someone who uses others.

m
Monolith
Aug 24, 2013

A bizarre movie. Absorbing, but bizarre. Kubrick was forced to water down the provocative content of Nabokov's novel by the "Legion of Decency". The portrayal of the ephebophile Humbert Humbert (Mason) felt strange, as he was refined, debonair, and even sympathetic. The actors, including Mason, were first rate, across the board. There was only one Peter Sellers - just a comic genius. His manner, his timing, just his face cracks me up. Dr. Zempf WAS the predecessor of Dr. Strangelove, though. Same character, no difference. Shelley Winters was successfully unlikable as Lolita's man-hungry mother. And 14 (!) year old Sue Lyon gave a remarkable depiction of the young jailbait nymphet, very mature. Kubrick, and some other directors of the time: Elia Kazan, Otto Preminger, Billy Wilder... I think they enjoyed testing (or were frustrated with, or both) the rigid boundaries of the 'morality squad'. Not the typical milquetoast drivel.

h
Heyst
Nov 10, 2012

fantasy that children are asking to be raped is somewhat out of date

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m
Monolith
Aug 24, 2013

Charlotte Haze: "Do you believe in God?" Humbert Humbert: "The question is, does God believe in me?"

m
Monolith
Aug 24, 2013

Humbert Humbert (to Lolita): "I want you to live with me and die with me and everything with me!"

m
Monolith
Aug 24, 2013

Humbert Humbert: "Quilty! ...Quilty!?" Clare Quilty (hungover, under a sheet covered chair): "Ah, wha'...? Who's there?" Humbert Humbert: "Are you Quilty." Clare Quilty: "No, I'm... Spartacus. You come to free the slaves or sumpin'?"

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