A New York City doctor, who is married to an art curator, pushes himself on a harrowing and dangerous night-long odyssey of sexual and moral discovery after his wife admits that she once almost cheated on him.
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
James B. Harris and Stanley Kubrick bought the rights for a film adaptation back in 1958. According to a December '58 article, the production first suggested Charles Boyer for the role of Humbert. The actor initially accepted, but for unspecified reasons, declined some weeks later. Then, in 1960, Kubrick asked James Mason to play the part, but he initially declined due to a Broadway engagement. Laurence Olivier then refused the part, apparently on the advice of his agents. Kubrick considered Peter Ustinov, but decided against him. Harris then suggested David Niven; Niven accepted the part, but then withdrew for fear the sponsors of his TV show, Four Star Playhouse (1952), would object. Mason then withdrew from his play and got the part. Harris denies claims that Noël Coward also rejected the role. See more »
When Humbert is considering shooting Charlotte while she supposedly is taking a bath, he uncorks and drinks from a liquor bottle, tossing the cork onto the end table. Seconds later he is shown with the same cork in his left hand, which he then places on the end table. See more »
Not the two words that came to mind when I first read the book. This movie nicely handles the taboo subject matter and is tremendously funny as well. Peter Sellers was warming up for his triumph in Dr. Strangelove, Shelly Winters gave her best performance, and James Mason made us feel his pain. As Lolita, Sue Lyon is convincing although Kubrick makes her character a bit older (probably to satisfy the censors, which still slapped this with an X rating originally, much to my surprise). The movie could play on TV today with no edits. I have not seen the 1997 remake but can only imagine, given its director with a reputation of going over the top, that it's not as classy and tasteful as this one. Since this was made in 1962, the risque elements from the book were left to our imagination. And the movie scores highly because of it. The movie's story is stuck in the '60s (that bubblegum music, which played during Lolita's early scenes, will stick with you), and if you are bored with the story, or cannot believe what you're seeing, you can always get a culture lesson: Hula hoops, malt shops, pseudo intellectuals, faulty cots and gas stations where they still pump your gas.
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