"I haven’t missed you. In fact, I’ve been revoltingly unfaithful to you."
– Lolita Haze (Sue Lyon)

"Looks better with every passing year. Sellers and Mason are marvelous."

Stars: James Mason, Shelley Winters, Peter Sellers, Sue Lyon

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Fast Facts:

  • Vladimir Nabokov’s controversial, sensational novel Lolita was originally published in France in 1955, making its official U.S. debut three years later.
  • Kubrick and his producing partner, James B. Harris, purchased the rights to the novel for $150,000, a large amount at that time.
  • Their first attempt at a screenplay adaptation, written by Calder Willingham, ended with Humbert and Lolita getting married, a concession to the censorship standards at that time.
  • However, no one liked this ending and Kubrick decided to try to be as faithful to the book as the standards would allow. The major change was to make Lolita a young teenager, older than the twelve-year-old in the book.
  • Among the actors considered to play Humbert were Laurence Olivier, David Niven and James Mason, who eventually won the part.
  • Sue Lyon, a 14-year-old actress from Iowa, was cast as Lolita, after Kubrick had looked through photos of over 800 young girls.
  • Peter Sellers, heavily booked at the time, shot all his scenes as Quilty during 14 days around Christmas of 1960.
  • The film was a hit when it was released in June of 1962, garnering acclaim for Kubrick’s direction and the performances of James Mason, Peter Sellers and Shelley Winters.

Newly arrived in Ramsdale, New Hampshire, European émigré Humbert Humbert is smitten. He plans to marry Charlotte Haze. That way he’ll always be close to his dear one — Charlotte’s precocious daughter!

Filmmaker Stanley Kubrick explores the theme of sexual obsession (a subject he would revisit 37 years later in Eyes Wide Shut) with this darkly comic and deeply moving version of Vladimir Nabokov’s novel. James Mason plays devious, deluded Humbert: wedded to needy Charlotte (Shelley Winters); rivaled by the ubiquitous Clare Quilty (chameleonlike Peter Sellers); and enraptured to his gelatinous core by the blithe teen (Sue Lyon) with that "lovely, lyrical, lilting name" — Lolita.



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