The Shadow Electric presents LOLITA (1962)

31 Jan

BY ELEANOR COLLA

It has been many years since I last saw Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Lolita’ (1962), and even longer since I read Nabokov’s classic text. Needless to say I am thrilled that The Shadow Electric has given me a chance to re-watch a masterpiece this Saturday, February 4.

I feel slightly redundant in summarising the plot for you all as I believe everyone surely knows the roots of the term ‘Lolita’, ‘nymphet’ and the basic story. But for those who don’t, it is as follows. British Professor of French Literature Humber Humbert has moved to America and takes up a lodging at Charlotte Hazes’ house in New Hampshire. Humbert is instantly infatuated with Haze’s daughter Lolita who floats through life seemingly without realisation of the affect she has on many around her. Humbert eventually marries Charlotte in order to stay close to Lolita, yet his plans are foiled when Charlotte sends Lolita off to summer camp. Depressed at the turn of events Humbert is granted freedom when Charlotte unexpectedly dies, allowing him to move Lolita to another town and start life afresh as the all-innocent father and step-daughter relationship. Yet, social pressures and Lolita’s own will cause Humbert to lose control over his life once again and when Lolita disappears he is left a broken man, desperately seeking revenge on who he thinks is responsible for ending their relationship.

Part of Kubrick’s talent as a director was his ability to take something- often well known in its own right- and make it his own. This is very much the case with Lolita. Here, due to censorship and classification restrictions, he was forced to leave out much of the sexual misconduct of the novel, leaving most of it up to the viewers’ imagination. He also changes the sequence of events around in an effort create further suspense over the illicit relationship and Humbert’s final actions, whilst setting the film in contemporary times.

Filmed throughout America and England, the film features a strong cast; James Mason as Professor Humbert Humbert, Shelley Winters as Charlotte Haze, Peter Sellers as Clare Quincy, and the fourteen year old Sue Lyons as Dolores ‘Lolita’ Haze. The image of Lyons in a bikini, heart-shaped sunglasses on and lollypop in mouth has become an iconic one, just as the repetitive song she listens to has.

Doors open at 6pm and I suggest you purchase some food for the film runs in at 2.5 hours.

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