LOLITA Add To My Top 10
Who Says It's Art?
Release Date: January 01, 1970
Runtime: 134 minutes
Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Co. & Showtime
Director: Adrian Lyne
Producer: Mario Kassar & Joel B. Michaels
Writer: Steven Schiff
Address Comments To:Matthew C. Blank, President & CEO
Showtime Networks Inc.
10880 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1500 & 1600
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Samuel Goldwyn Jr.
Goldwyn Entertainment Company
10203 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90067
What has director Lyne added?
First, the sexuality between the characters is more strongly implied and now includes overt prostitution. Secondly, the erotic shots of a teenage actress playing a 12-year-old girl are more revealing. Thirdly, Lyne has inserted total male nudity in one brief scene and in a much longer scene. Last, but certainly not least, the two main actors in the movie engage in some passionate kissing, hugging and lap-sitting that probably violates American laws against pedophilia and pornography.
News reports have indicated that the film has been edited to achieve its R-rating and to win distribution in the United States. Until recently, though, the movie failed to get a distributor for American audiences. The national Cable TV network called Showtime, however, has begun a new effort to increase ratings by televising more "adult" material, so it bought the rights to show the movie in early August. Both Showtime and the Samuel Goldwyn Co. held a week-long screening of the film in a packed Los Angeles movie theater so that the actors and Lyne can qualify for Academy Award consideration.
LOLITA has gotten mixed reviews by critics. Some have said that they consider the movie to be quite tame. One critic said in fact, "This LOLITA is not prurient and not meant to be." MOVIEGUIDE begs to differ. Although there is no graphic fornication or other overt sexual activity in the current version of this movie and although the movie seems to say at several points that the relationship between the two main characters, sexual and otherwise, is sick and destructive, the movie more often than not takes pleasure in the sexual escapades and erotic behavior of the story's pedophile and his 12-year-old stepdaughter. Thus, those viewing the new LOLITA will see passionate kissing between these two, as well as erotic shots of the 15-year-old actress playing the stepdaughter, all to the tune of pleasing, lyrical music by talented composer Ennio Morricone. LOLITA clearly contains, therefore, soft pornography for sex offenders. Some male viewers who aren't sex offenders will be enticed to indulge in sexual fantasies about underage women. If this doesn't violate American laws against such pornography, what does? In fact, why aren't state and federal officials, including the judicial branch, taking action to remove such filth from the public airwaves and public theaters?
For those not familiar with the story, LOLITA is a about a staid literature professor, Humbert Humbert, who develops an insane crush on a 12-year-old American girl, the daughter of a woman from whom he rents a room. Humbert's desire for young girls, and the sexually aggressive Lolita, allegedly stems from an encounter during his early teenage years with a 14-year-old girl in France. The two develop an intense puppy love for one another, but the girl suddenly dies from typhus. "The shock of her death froze something in me," Humbert narrates in the movie. "I kept looking for her. The passion was in the wound, and the wound wouldn't heal."
Eventually, Humbert marries Lolita's mother while Lolita is away at camp so that he can stay close to Lolita, who seems to share a strong attraction for Humbert as well. The mother finds out about Humbert's longing for her daughter but dies in an unexpected car accident before she can tell anyone else about Humbert's "problem." Humbert goes to pick up Lolita from the camp, telling her only that Mom is sick in hospital. Lolita is clearly happy to see him and gives him more passionate kisses like the one she gave him when she left for camp. Within 48 hours, the two have off-screen passionate sex. When Lolita asks to call her mother at the hospital, Humbert tells her the truth. Lolita understandably gets upset, but the two soon make up and begin an extensive vacation traveling and fornicating across America. As Humbert narrates, "She had nowhere else to go.... I was in paradise."
Their age difference between the "happy" couple soon begins to destroy their relationship. Back at home in New England, Lolita realizes her power over Humbert's mind and emotions. She blackmails him for small teenage favors, in exchange for sex. When he learns that she has skipped out on some piano lessons, the ensuing argument results in Humbert slapping Lolita on the face. Further recriminations occur, but Lolita suddenly asks Humbert to take her on another long vacation trip across America, but only if she is the one who decides where they go.
Humbert soon suspects they are being followed. He even catches her talking to a mysterious dark-haired stranger whom we barely can see. Lolita makes up a story about the conversation, but Humbert still suspects something. Finally, when Lolita must stay at a hospital overnight because she is sick with the flu, Humbert finds the next morning that she has gone. The hospital authorities tell Humbert that "Uncle Gustav" took Lolita to Grandpa's house and asked Humbert to meet them there. Of course, there is no Uncle Gustav, no Grandpa either. Three years later, a pregnant and married Lolita tells Humbert the truth. Humbert gives her the money she requests and, when she refuses to go with him, he goes off to murder the mysterious older stranger, another pedophile and an actual purveyor of pornography, the only man Lolita says she ever truly loved.
This pathetic, disgusting story is handled in a poetic manner by the filmmakers. One of the reasons why the novel became so popular, allegedly selling 14 million copies in America, is because of original novelist Vladimir Nabokov's artistic handling of the story, especially his use of vivid language to get inside of Humbert's crippled, unreliable soul. This movie version seems to be an adequate adaptation of Nabokov's work, but Jeremy Irons' narration fails to capture some of the apparent passion in Nabokov's use of language. When Irons quotes Nabokov's famous passage, "Light of my life...my sin, my soul, Lolita," his flat, dispassionate reading does not seem to convey the fire that Nabokov's words appear to intend. However, who knows what Nabokov or his fans might say?
There is one thing about this novel's reputation, though. Recently, America's left-wing intellectual elite named LOLITA the fourth greatest novel written in English. To which one can only reply, "You can dress up horse droppings with pretty bows and ribbons, but if you step in it, your shoe is still going to stink, and you have a mess to clean." It is time to clean up the mess. Seek first the Triune God and His goodness and justice!
With only moderate foul language, this movie contains some explicit nudity and plenty of erotic scenes filled with implied incest, pedophilia and even acts of prostitution between a pedophile and his stepdaughter. This pathetic, disgusting story may appeal to sexual offenders and America's left-wing intellectuals who think LOLITA is among the top five English novels ever written. The story is handled in a poetic manner by the filmmakers. One of the reasons why the novel became so popular, allegedly selling 14 million copies in America, is because of original novelist Nabokov's artistic handling of the story, especially his use of vivid language to get inside the main character's perverted soul. This movie seems to be an adequate adaptation of Nabokov's work, but it fails to capture the fire that Nabokov's words sometimes intended. The question is why aren't government officials taking action to remove such filth from the public airwaves and public theaters