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Blind Spot ’15 : Lolita (1962)

Posted on the 01 April 2015 by Ikzidna @InspiredGround

What drawn me to watch Lolita (1962) was to watch more of Stanley Kubrick films and the fact that there is a disturbing affair story between a teenage girl and an old man in the ’60s. I came to realize after watching it and reading facts about this movie, that it can never be produced and censored the same way if it would be produce today. Considering it involved an underage girl, age 12 to be exact, of course the movie should be ‘safe’ from any potential vulgarism. Oddly, it also has some comedy in it behind the drama and twisted romance.

Lolita tells about a college professor, Humbert (James Mason) who is obsessed with a teenage girl, Lolita (Sue Lyon). When Lolita’s lonely mother, Charlotte (Shelley Winters) completely forward with her feelings to him, Humbert marries him but still thinking about Lolita in mind. Charlotte isn’t exactly having a harmonic relationship with Lolita, her only daughter, so she send her to a boarding school. The night before Lolita goes to her school, she seemed to have a ‘memorable’ moment with Humbert and tells him to don’t forget about her.

“I want you to live with me and die with me and everything with me!”

Humbert thinks about murdering Charlotte, but then she died from a car accident, after feeling broken reading Humbert’s diary, which contain his real feelings to her and Lolita. Lucky for Humbert, no one ever knows his quarrel with Charlotte, so he smoothly goes to his next path to be the only legal guardian parent to Lolita.

Humbert did not immediately tell Lolita about her mother’s death but rather taking her to a hotel before ‘visiting’ her mother in a hospital. It is clear that Lolita is aware of their taboo relationship but thinks it’s not a major deal. In the hotel, a promising screenwriter who seem to fancy Lolita, Clare Quilty (Peter Sellers) keep an eye on both. He makes a conversation with Humbert saying that he is a policeman and that Humbert is ‘normal’.

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When Lolita knows about her mother’s death, she cries hard but then turn to Humbert since to her knowledge she only have him. They finally live together as ‘father and daughter’, but Humbert put a strict rules to date and her activities. Lolita is annoyed, though looked like an obedient girl, she pull some things to get her way.

I have a little bit of admiration for Stanley Kubrick to dare making this movie in the era where censorship was still high, though he said that he wouldn’t produce it if he knew there would be a lot of censor. It is understandable that due to a lot of differences from the novel, they make the 1997 remake closer to the novel version. But it’s not a major story now that the era is used to scandal and disturbing stories. But I still want to know the original version, because the 1962 version for me felt little less like a whole disturbing movie. Even so, each character has a clear background of who they are (except for Quilty, which I find annoying as a character) and therefore an obvious reasoning. We can be aware of the ‘affair’ without making it as a shock. It was also very clear why men like Humbert can be a match for a girl like Lolita.

Sue Lyon was amazing. She was very young (14) but have a mixture of devil and innocence, can be a child and also mature. She was a mystery. I suppose, she’s a real term of how woman can be an evil for a man. Man can be hopeless when they get struck with her charm. But I feel that she needed to reveal a little bit of vulnerability, considering she’s a teenager, where in the movie she’s almost look tough and together most of the time.

This version of Lolita does emphasizes more on Humbert’s angle. But, despite all of my unsatisfied view, this 1962 version still have bold elements to be a different tale, especially when it was released. I can only think the message of the story was to separate obsession or sickness to love. In the end, your obsession can own your whole life.

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