The Stanley Kubrick Website (unofficial website)

Lolita (1962)

In 1962, Kubrick moved to England to film Lolita, his first attempt at black comedy. It was an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Vladimir Nabokov, the story of a middle-aged college professor who becomes infatuated with a 12-year-old girl. It starred Peter Sellers, James Mason, Shelley Winters, and Sue Lyon. Lolita was Kubrick's first film to generate controversy because of its provocative story. Kubrick toned down the screen adaptation to remove much of the eroticism in the novel and made it into "an epic comedy of frustration rather than lust", writes film author Adrian Turner. Kubrick was deeply impressed by the chameleon-like range of actor Peter Sellers and gave him one of his first opportunities to wildly improvise during shooting while filming him with three cameras. To best utilize Sellers' talents, Kubrick, in consultation with him, vastly expanded the role of Clare Quilty and added new material in which Quilty impersonates various other characters. Stylistically, Lolita was a transitional film for Kubrick, "marking the turning point from a naturalistic cinema ... to the surrealism of the later films", notes film critic Gene Youngblood. The film received mixed reviews, with some critics praising it for its daring subject matter, while others, like Pauline Kael, describing it as the "first new American comedy" since the 1940s. "Lolita is black slapstick and at times it's so far out that you gasp as you laugh." According to social historian Stephen E. Kercher, the film "demonstrated that its director possessed a keen, satiric insight into the social landscape and sexual hang-ups of cold war America". Kubrick had shown an affinity for liberal satire when he approached others he hoped would become collaborators: he asked comedian Lenny Bruce to work with him on a film, and did the same with fellow Bronx native, cartoonist Jules Feiffer, whom he invited to Los Angeles to work with him on a screenplay titled Sick, Sick, Sick

Quick facts

Directed by Stanley Kubrick Produced by James B. Harris Screenplay by Vladimir Nabokov, Stanley Kubrick (uncredited), James Harris (uncredited) Based on Lolita  by Vladimir Nabokov Starring James Mason Shelley Winters Sue Lyon Peter Sellers Music by Nelson Riddle (incidental) Bob Harris (theme) Cinematography Oswald Morris Edited by Anthony Harvey Production company Seven Arts AA Productions Anya Pictures Transworld Pictures[1] Distributed by Metro Goldwyn Mayer Release dates June 13, 1962 (US) Running time 152 minutes Country United Kingdom United States
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Lolita (1962)

In 1962, Kubrick moved to England to film Lolita, his first attempt at black comedy. It was an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Vladimir Nabokov, the story of a middle-aged college professor who becomes infatuated with a 12-year-old girl. It starred Peter Sellers, James Mason, Shelley Winters, and Sue Lyon. Lolita was Kubrick's first film to generate controversy because of its provocative story. Kubrick toned down the screen adaptation to remove much of the eroticism in the novel and made it into "an epic comedy of frustration rather than lust", writes film author Adrian Turner. Kubrick was deeply impressed by the chameleon-like range of actor Peter Sellers and gave him one of his first opportunities to wildly improvise during shooting while filming him with three cameras. To best utilize Sellers' talents, Kubrick, in consultation with him, vastly expanded the role of Clare Quilty and added new material in which Quilty impersonates various other characters. Stylistically, Lolita was a transitional film for Kubrick, "marking the turning point from a naturalistic cinema ... to the surrealism of the later films", notes film critic Gene Youngblood. The film received mixed reviews, with some critics praising it for its daring subject matter, while others, like Pauline Kael, describing it as the "first new American comedy" since the 1940s. "Lolita is black slapstick and at times it's so far out that you gasp as you laugh." According to social historian Stephen E. Kercher, the film "demonstrated that its director possessed a keen, satiric insight into the social landscape and sexual hang-ups of cold war America". Kubrick had shown an affinity for liberal satire when he approached others he hoped would become collaborators: he asked comedian Lenny Bruce to work with him on a film, and did the same with fellow Bronx native, cartoonist Jules Feiffer, whom he invited to Los Angeles to work with him on a screenplay titled Sick, Sick, Sick

Quick facts

Directed by Stanley Kubrick Produced by James B. Harris Screenplay by Vladimir Nabokov, Stanley Kubrick (uncredited), James Harris (uncredited) Based on Lolita  by Vladimir Nabokov Starring James Mason Shelley Winters Sue Lyon Peter Sellers Music by Nelson Riddle (incidental) Bob Harris (theme) Cinematography Oswald Morris Edited by Anthony Harvey Production company Seven Arts AA Productions Anya Pictures Transworld Pictures[1] Distributed by Metro Goldwyn Mayer Release dates June 13, 1962 (US) Running time 152 minutes Country United Kingdom United States
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