Lolita

Starring James Mason, Shelley Winters, Sue Lyon
Directed by Stanley Kubrick

Warner Home Video | June 29, 1999 | DVD

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Paedophilia and lechery don't sound like laughing matters, but somehow the late, great Stanley Kubrick handles them brilliantly. His blackly funny treatment of Lolita, Nabokov's famous story, manages to bring this touchy subject to the screen without making audiences squirm out of the theatre. Humbert Humbert (James Mason) is a wretched professor who sees the lovely Lolita and marries her mother (Shelley Winters) to get close to her. While the seduction of little Lolita Haze (Sue Lyon) is disturbing and pathetic, the whole situation lightens up with Winters' riotous character. Add Peter Sellers' playful character to the mix and you have a bawdy movie that transcends moralistic tsk-tsking and dissects desire.

Video Release: June 29, 1999

Theatrical Release: 1962

Runtime: 212

Rating: Not Rated

Studio: Warner Home Video

UPC: 012569500426

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– More About This Product –

Lolita

Starring James Mason, Shelley Winters, Sue Lyon
Directed by Stanley Kubrick

Video Release: June 29, 1999

Theatrical Release: 1962

Runtime: 212

Rating: Not Rated

Studio: Warner Home Video

UPC: 012569500426


Edition Description
  • Dolby
  • Closed Captioned
  • B&W
  • Runtime: 212 minutes
  • NTSC (Canada and USA)
  • Wide Screen
  • Originally in English
  • Released in English

Synopsis

Humbert Humbert, a middle-aged professor, becomes totally infatuated by Lolita, a nubile and flirtatious teenage girl. His infatuation grows into sexual fixation, leading him to woo Lolita's mother, Charlotte, in an effort to be near the object of his desire. Dating culminates in marriage, but Lolita's mother eventually learns the truth about Humbert's affections for her daughter. But before Charlotte can make good on a promise to leave him, death befalls her. As the teen's legal step-father and guardian, Humbert takes her out of summer camp and together they travel through America, and relocate far away from Lolita's hometown. Sadly, Humbert's idealism prevents him from seeing Lolita for who she really is.

Description

Adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov's provocative 1958 novel, about a precocious young woman and her sexually frustrated mother, gets the riotous, blackly comic treatment it deserves. When lecherous professor Humbert Humbert marries the mother to get to her child, murder and lust are the outcome. Sellers is stellar. Academy Award Nominations: Best (Adapted) Screenplay.

Notes

Film debut for actress Sue Lyon. Director-screenwriter-producer Stanley Kubrick, whose career was launched by the film "Paths of Glory," made Lolita in 1962. He did, however, have to dance around those censors up-in-arms over what they thought was the inappropriate sexual objectification of a young girl by a man many years her senior. Kubrick had to make adjustments to appease motion picture authorities. For example, he tried to mollify censors by changing the pre-teen 12-year-old girl of Vladimir Nabokov's novel, on which the film is based, to a pubescent teenager, 14 years old, albeit played by a visibly older Sue Lyon, in her film debut. Though "Lolita" engendered considerable controversy, films featuring young women as the love-objects of older men date back as far as the 1930's. Marlene Dietrich's performance in "The Blue Angel" is a case in point; the very picture which propelled her towards international stardom. In Dietrich's case however, she was an adult in a May-December romance. Additional films with this theme include: Elia Kazan's "Baby Doll" (1956); Louis Malle's "Pretty Baby" (1978); Woody Allen's "Manhattan" (1979); and Stanley Donen's "Blame It on Rio" (1984). Adrian Lyne revisited the story with his 1997 "Lolita", a film that was similarly blocked from widespread theatrical distribution. The continued re-emergence of this theme speaks to an international cinematic fascination with sexual appropriation of young women by older men. The original script, written by Nabokov, wasn't used, though it's reprinted in book form. Additional cast: Gary Cockrell; Bill Greene; Marion Mathie; James Dyrenforth; Maxine Holden; and Colin Maitland. Additional credits: Chambers & Partners (titles) and Lois Gray (assistant editor). Film was originally shot in Widescreen. Released theatrically in the USA June 14, 1962. Rated BBFC X by the British Board of Film Censors.
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