BLU-RAY/DVD REVIEWS

003641Reviews & Counting
SEARCH BY TITLE # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Lolita
BLU-RAY disk
4 years ago By: Chris Bumbray
Lolita order
Director:
Stanley Kubrick

Actors:
James Mason
Peter Sellers
Shelly Winters
Sue Lyon

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

star Printer-Friendly version
comment
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Humbert Humbert (James Mason), a middle-aged British academic, comes to the town of Ramsdale, New Hampshire for a summer of rest before taking up a fellowship at Beardsley College in Ohio. He rents a room from Charlotte (Shelley Winters), a frisky divorcee, and Humbert becomes obsessed with her fourteen year-old daughter, Lolita (Sue Lyon). In order to be close to Lolita, he marries Charlotte, who conveniently perishes in an auto accident, leaving Humbert alone with Lolita, who`s also attracted the attentions of Clare Quilty (Peter Sellers), a lascivious playwright.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
LOLITA was Stanley Kubrick`s follow-up to SPARTACUS, the epic which finally gave him some bank ability after his previous films, THE KILLING, and the brilliant PATHS OF GLORY failed to connect with audiences in a big way. LOLITA was a very daring project for 1962 (still daring today in fact), with it being an adaptation of the Vladimir Nabokov novel- although confined by the screen conventions of the time, Lolita`s age was advanced from 12 to 14, with the older than her years Sue Lyon getting the part.

Kubrick also had to tread lightly around Humbert and Lolita`s sexual relationship, which one could say is non-existent in the film (although Kubrick seems to suggest otherwise in certain scenes). One might wonder why Kubrick bothered adapting the novel if he had to tone it down so much (in fact, Kubrick later said he wouldn't have bothered making it had he known how little the censors would let him get away with), but LOLITA is still a milestone film. It's certainly a different animal from Nabakov`s book, but is brilliant in it`s own way, thanks to Kubrick`s incredible direction (I wager he never made a bad film, EYES WIDE SHUT included), and two knockout performances from James Mason and Peter Sellers.

I don`t think people realize what a risky role this was for Mason at the time, with him being best known to American audiences at Captain Nemo is Walt Disney`s version of 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA. Humbert is a complex role, and Mason really embraces the more unseemly aspects of the character, which helps this adaptation come off as more than a watered-down version of the book. Even if we don`t see Humbert molest Lolita, we know that his intentions are the worst one could imagine, and this is a brave role which could have destroyed his career had Kubrick not been able to make the film as tasteful as he did.

As for Sellers, this came right at the beginning of his golden period, with THE PINK PANTHER being a year away. Quilty really plays to all of Sellers' gifts,, with him making him a somewhat satanic figure at times, although his death scene is so pathetic, one almost has sympathy for him- which should have been impossible given the role. Sellers and Kubrick really were a match made in heaven (artistically at least) with this leading right in to DR STRANGELOVE less than two years later- guaranteeing immortality for the both of them.
THE EXTRAS
Only a trailer Boo. This certainly merited AT LEAST a documentary on the intense controversy surround the film's release. A missed opportunity.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
LOLITA is truly Kubrick at his best, and if you haven't seen it by now, you must pick it up immediately. The considerable 152 minute runtime whizzes by, and while I probably prefer his later films like A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, and THE SHINING, LOLITA isn't any less great, and a must-see for anyone serious about cinema.
Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

JoBlo's T-Shirt Shoppe | support our site... Wear Our Gear!