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Lolita (1962)

  Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
Written by: Stanley Kubrick, Vladimir Nabokov
Starring: Sue Lyon, James Mason, Peter Sellers, Shelley Winters
Links: Lolita on the IMDb, Buy on DVD, Buy on Video, Buy the Book
Genre: Drama

This movie gets: 8.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

Lolita (1962) is also mentioned in timchuma's review of Oldboy (2003).

"I can't fault it" - a review by pearly

The story of Lolita is a fairly straight-forward one, and though it contains some quite controversial topics, it is executed in such a way that it wouldn't raise too many eyebrows today. I'm betting this wasn't the case at the time of its release though. It's the story of a man named Humbert Humbert (a pretty super name, I'm sure you'll agree), played by James Mason, who becomes so besotted with a young girl named Lolita (Sue Lyon), that he marries her mother Charlotte (Shelley Winters) just so that he can remain close to her.

From here, things get a more and more complex as the film goes along. It is, for a director like Stanley Kubrick, quite an accessible story. It's easy to follow, and there are lots of little twists and turns along the way which hold the viewer's interest. But this is not what has kept people watching this film forty plus years after its release.

What makes Lolita more than just an everyday film is Kubrick's passion for his craft. The whole look of the film is something to behold, and there are many memorable looking scenes. Who can forget the image of Lolita in that feathered hat when she first meets Humbert? Even though the film was shot in black and white, Kubrick manages to capture the audience's attention with the angles and so on that he chooses to shoot things - there's always something interesting in a shot.

But more than this, there are the performances. Mason is brilliant as the uptight man with the terrible secret, and he plays off both Winters and Lyon brilliantly. And then, of course, there's Peter Sellers, who plays Clare Quilty, a dubious man who Charlotte thinks the sun shines out of, and who drops in and out of the story at various points, much like Sellers' characters do in other Kubrick films. Sellers steals the show as per usual, with his whacky antics and over-the-top mannerisms.

Lolita is a great film to watch as it deftly walks along a tightrope, implying things but never quite revealing its hand. You can tell while you're watching it that there is a skillful filmmaker at the helm, guiding it along its merry way. There is nothing glaringly annoying about the film, it's got most everything right. I didn't, however, find it to be mind blowing, but I could appreciate it for what it is.

pearly gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Wed 29 Jun 2005

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