This file was generated 2002-06-09 04:23 GMT. This movie's information hasn't changed since 2002-02-10.

Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> August 2000 >> Lolita


Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
4 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
August 2000
IMDB Name:
Lolita (1962)
Stanley Kubrick
comedy, drama, romance
MPAA Rating:
Unrated (predates MPAA ratings)

How Can I Ever Write a Review of Lolita?

I suppose it's foolish of me to try to pin down a director like Stanley Kubrick. I was somehow able to see the connection between 2001 and Eyes Wide Shut. I was taken aback by Dr. Strangelove, and am more surprised by Lolita. I felt like I was watching an Alfred Hitchcock film instead of a Kubrick. Only the obviously sexual theme was enough to convince me otherwise. This was Kubrick's first film over which he had significant artistic control, so it should reek of his style. As far as I see, it doesn't. More bizarrely, and complicating the Hitchcock comparison considerably, the nature of Humbert's predicament is treated irreverently, so that the tone is often light in the face of potentially disturbing material. With this kind of conflict, what am I to say?

Patchwork Quilty

I can say without hesitation that Peter Sellers is a genius. Even with his comparatively short screen time, Sellers creates the many-faced Clare Quilty magnificently. I had to do several double-takes trying to identify Dr. Zemph, and to figure out if I was looking at a new character or a character hiding in a character. Having seen Strangelove only a few days before, I suspected that Kubrick and Sellers would've delighted in my confusion since they no doubt planned it that way.

I shouldn't discount the work of James Mason and Shelley Winters. Mason's Humbert knows detection is never far enough away, and his scheming, especially when he loses track of his stepdaughter, is superb. Winters, of whom I expected to see more, has to show that she believes the half-truths spouted by Humbert, even when she senses he's less than sincere. I imagine that layering of emotions to be difficult to do, but not for her.

Copyright 2000-2002 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.