When it is resorted to that films like the ones before are no longer made because of a supposed dictatorship of political correctness, it is frustrating because 1) it is missing the shot, the failure of adult cinema is that the public is progressively abandoning it in theaters movies and studios take note and 2) it is disrespectful to the times where there was real and pernicious censorship.
The times of McCarthyism carrying out the witch hunts in Hollywood, the aggressive impositions of the Hays code. That was the true artistic limitation, which made it difficult to make certain ideas explicit or want to touch on certain thorny issues for a supposed moral degradation of the spectators. They were true limitations because they were active, and the authors had to find how to make bobbin lace to carry out tricky projects. Projects that are prohibitive in principle, such as ‘Lolita’.
How to make a ‘Lolita’ movie
Nowadays we talk about science fiction when we refer to unadaptable novels. In 1962, Vladimir Nabokov’s novel did he was really unadaptable, for its defiant and disturbing story that shows the perspective of a pedophile. An interesting practicable exercise from the limits of the novel, but difficult to replicate in a film format. Stanley Kubrick was in charge of directing this complicated adaptation, available on HBO Max, after his successes with ‘Paths of Glory’ and ‘Spartacus’, which gave him some leeway to continue doing ambitious and personal projects within the system of studies.
When it was released, it was sold on the poster with the slogan “How could they make a Lolita movie?”, which suggested provocation by the subject it addresses. But it could also allude to the intricate challenge of trying to dodge the restrictions of the Hays code that made it almost impossible to hint at the pedophilia that defines the character of Humbert Humbert (here an imposing James Mason) and make explicit some of the most disturbing corners of the novel.
Kubrick, in collaboration with Nabokov himself as a screenwriter (although he practically gave him an impossible script, by extension almost equivalent to the complete novel, Stanley had to think about it a lot), finds the spaces in which to suggest to the attentive and willing viewer to give the benefit of the doubt. the filmmaker twist the codes of romantic melodrama with a rather caustic and twisted humor, palpable in several of Humbert’s interactions and especially in the character of Shelley Winters.
‘Lolita’: facing the public
They are also in Peter Sellers’ Clare Quilty, who does here another of his fun games with various faces and characters, only here they are centered on the same name to help emphasize the enigmatic and opposite character with Humbert. However, Kubrick and Nabokov make the interesting decision to show their fate in the opening bars of the film with two clear intentions.
On the one hand, introducing the story through the funny charisma of the actor. On the other, tint the story with a certain tragic and black air (a style that Stanley led to excellence in films like ‘Perfect Heist’), adding depth and sleaze without making them obvious. the film hints an interesting duel between Humbert and Quiltyat least moral because of how they aspire to the same thing but present themselves in opposite ways in society, one buried under a thick mask and the other making frivolity his disguise).
They are details that manage to maintain the spirit of Nabokov’s masterly work, although I can not transfer some of the things that make it so interesting. Even imperfect (her pacing becomes lethargic at times, and she can’t manage to be light enough not to remember that it’s two and a half hours into the movie), it’s an interesting career achievement for someone who always found a way to win and get away. with yours.
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