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Lolita Details


"How did they make a movie out of ?" teased the print ads of this Stanley Kubrick production. The answer: by adding three years to the title character's age. The original Vladimir Nabokov novel caused no end of scandal by detailing the romance between a middle-aged intellectual and a 12-year-old nymphet. The affair is "cleansed" ever so slightly in the film by making Lolita a 15-year-old (portrayed by 16-year-old Sue Lyon). In adapting his novel to film, Nabokov downplayed the wicked satire and sensuality of the material, concentrating instead on the story's farcical aspects. James Mason plays professor Humbert Humbert, who while waiting to begin a teaching post in the United States rents a room from blowzy Shelley Winters. Winters immediately falls for the worldly Humbert, but he only has eyes for his landlady's nubile daughter Lolita. The professor goes so far as to marry Winters so that he can remain near to the object of his ardor. Turning up like a bad penny at every opportunity is smarmy TV writer Quilty (Peter Sellers), who seems inordinately interested in Humbert's behavior. When Winters happens to read Humbert's diary, she is so revolted by his lustful thoughts that she runs blindly into the street, where she is struck and killed by a car. Without telling Lolita that her mother is dead, Humbert packs her into the car and goes on a cross-country trip, dogged every inch of the way by a mysterious pursuer. Once she gets over the shock of her mother's death, Lolita is agreeable to inaugurating an affair with her stepfather (this is handled very, very discreetly, despite the slavering critical assessments of 1962). But when the girl begins discovering boys her own age, she drifts away from Humbert. One day, she leaves without warning. This is humiliation enough for Humbert; but when he discovers who her secret lover really is, the results are fatal. We are prepared for the ending because the film has been framed as a flashback; what we are not prepared for is Stanley Kubrick's adroit manipulation of our sympathies and expectations. An incredibly long film considering its subject matter, is never dull, nor does it ever stoop to the sensationalism prevalent in the film's ad campaign. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi


Awarded by
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Peter Sellers Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture 1962 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Vladimir Nabokov Best Adapted Screenplay 1962 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association James Mason Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama 1962 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Stanley Kubrick Best Director 1962 Nominee
Directors Guild of America Stanley Kubrick Best Director 1962 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Sue Lyon New Star of the Year - Female 1962 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Shelley Winters Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama 1962 Nominee


James Mason
as Humbert Humbert
Shelley Winters
as Charlotte Haze
Peter Sellers
as Clare Quilty
Sue Lyon
as Lolita Haze
Marianne Stone
as Vivian Darkbloom
Diana Decker
as Jean Farlow
Jerry Stovin
as John Farlow
Suzanne Gibbs
as Mona Farlow
Gary Cockrell
as Dick Schiller
Roberta Shore
as Lorna
Shirley Douglas
as Mrs. Starch
Roland Brand
as Bill
Colin Maitland
as Charlie
Cec Linder
as Physician
Irvin Allen
as Hospital Attendant
Lois Maxwell
as Nurse Mary Lore
James Dyrenforth
as Beale Senior
Terry Kilburn
as Man


Stanley Kubrick
James B. Harris
Vladimir Nabokov
Book Author
Vladimir Nabokov
Oswald Morris
Nelson Riddle
Composer (Music Score)
James B. Harris
Anthony Harvey
Bill Andrews
Art Director
Gene Coffin
Costume Designer
Rene Dupont
First Assistant Director
Denys Coop
Camera Operator
George Partleton
John Siddall