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Lolita

3.9 out of 5 stars 256 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Lolita (1962) (B&W) (DVD)

Stanley Kubrick directs an all-star cast in Vladimir Nabakov's screenplay of his own once-shocking, now-classic novel, Lolita. When worldly, middle-aged professor Humbert Humbert (James Mason) rents a room from widowed Charlotte Haze (Shelly Winters), he quickly becomes obsessed with her young daughter, Lolita (Sue Lyon). Humbert goes so far as to marry Charlotte to be close to her daughter, but when Charlotte discovers her husband's secret lust, the knowledge leads to her death. Now free to pursue his obsession with his willing, under-aged stepdaughter, Humbert seduces Lolita, unable to control a lust that will destroy him.

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Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: James Mason, Shelley Winters, Peter Sellers, Sue Lyon, Marianne Stone
  • Directors: Stanley Kubrick
  • Writers: Vladimir Nabakov
  • Producers: James B. Harris
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: October 23, 2007
  • Run Time: 154 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (256 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000UJ48VI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,946 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Lolita" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Devoted as I am to Vladimir Nabokov's novel of Lolita, and as much good as there was in Adrian Lyne's more accurate interpretation of it, I must confess that Stanley Kubrick's 1962 film version functions better than either as social commentary. Nabokov's novel was radically subjective - not a thing happened unfiltered by its hero's own vision. Transliterated as it was by Adrien Lyne, the result was claustrophobic. Kubrick's film, by contrast, invited us to stand outside and look in at the strange behavior of mid-20th century America's "progressive" middle-class. That was the right approach. By not asking us to relate to an obvious pedophile, or any of the other characters, Kubrick allowed us to fully absorb the ethical and emotional consequences of their interactions.
The oddly named Humbert Humbert (James Mason in, perhaps, his finest performance), comes to America from some unspecified European country. Looking for lodging, he crosses paths with Dolores "Lolita" Haze (Sue Lyon), and her mother Charlotte (brilliantly played by Shelley Winters). What follows is a black comedy swirling giddily around a host of sexual taboos - pedophilia chief among them, as Humbert finds himself sexually obsessed with the teen-aged Lolita. Had this been a TV-movie of the week, Lolita would have been the saintly victim of the villainous Humbert. Instead, Kubrick and Nabokov's Lolita is a precocious manipulator - awakening to her sexual identity and the strange power she can exert over members of the opposite sex. The difference, of course, is that she is a child and doesn't know any better; Humbert is an adult and damn well should.
So, for that matter, should Clare Quilty, Humbert's rival for the attentions of the young nymphet.
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Format: DVD
First, I would like to correct some mistakes read on these reviews : Lolita was shot before Strangelove, not after ! It is as masterful as Kubrick other movies. Sue Lyon is perfect in the role, and Nabokov has not been put apart by Kubrick. He wrote the screenplay, Kubrick filmed it (the way he wanted, it's his film), and it is to be said that Nabokov liked the film (unlike Stephen King who hated Shining). The character of Peter Sellers will be an unforgettable memory for all viewers, and I believe he's even funnier and brillant that in Strangelove. Besides, unlike 2001 (with compression problems, impossible to watch!), Lolita is the best master and image quality of the Kubrick DVD Collection. I would give a big A for the image which is simply perfect. This DVD could easily be selected as a Criterion edition. Buy it, you won't regret it. it's full of wit, subversive, humor, slapstick (in the hotel room), disguise, perversity, immorality and brillant acting (Shelley Winter is so perfect that we all want to kill her !). A MUST !
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Format: DVD
This is the third DVD release of Kubrick's masterpiece, and it is still not given an anamorphic transfer. How can this happen in 2007, considering Warner's reputation as a studio that cares and the classic status of the film? Incredible. And not a trace of any new extras or bonuses except the trailer we've seen before. A huge boo to Warner! Words fail.
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Format: DVD
As much as I appreciate a new release of this classic film, I am at a loss to understand why they would give it a widescreen treatment and not enhance it for widescreen televisions. All of the two-disc special editions in the new Kubrick boxed set are enhanced, and yet this one (not part of the set, but released at the same time) is not. If you're a Lolita fan you should stick with the original 1:33 version. This one will only frustrate you.
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Format: VHS Tape
Kubrick may not have faithfully rendered his source material, but the story of an obsessive male falling for a woman who is far too young to fulfill his expectations is engrossing nonetheless. I was surprised to see how closely the track of this doomed relationship follows the scenario of that between alcoholic adults. This film is interesting when taken as a cautionary tale about the inevitabilities of any relationship between two immature people, blurred boundaries, selfishness, infidelities, lies and all.
LOLITA is well-made in some ways, frustrating in others. The shock value is largely gone today, since the film contains very little beyond innuendo. We know precisely what happens and when, of course, but it's all done in a very 50s-repressed filmic style. James Mason's Humbert Humbert is a neurotic when we first meet him, and whatever elements of his past have set him up to fall for Lolita at first sight are never really explained. We meet Lolita in the only lascivious shot of the movie, sunbathing in her back yard. Sue Lyons plays a younger teenager (a couple years older than the Lolita of the novel, actually) with a very accurate child-woman-like combination of boredom, pouting, self-absorption, giggling and see-sawing between moods. Shelley Winters is annoyingly right as the needy, pitiable mother, and Peter Sellers is good in a rare serious role as Lyon's other elder love interest who has no ethical compunction about interfering with Humbert's pursuit of Lolita.
Had Mason simply rented the room from the mother in order to dally with the underage girl, the story would not be nearly as disturbing, though perhaps just as controversial.
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