For the first time, I'm beginning to understand why my brother hates Stanley Kubrick so much.
Not that I hate Kubrick. He's not my favorite, but I liked Dr. Strangelove well enough, and 2001: A Space Odyssey is quite interesting in small doses, although I can't watch it too terribly often, if for no other reason than its length.
As far as his take on Lolita goes, it's a rather silly black comedy that suffers from comparison with Nabokov's actual fiction, which is unfilmable. I understand that he wrote a screenplay for this film that wasn't followed, and that he said something to the effect of the film being about as good as a movie based on his writing could hope to be, barely attempting to hide the snark beneath such a back-handed compliment. Not that this little piece of sixties era sleaze deserves any more than that, but it's funny if nothing else.
I don't really have much else to say about it, or at least there isn't much left to be said after forty five years of criticism from people more qualified than I. I just thought it would be funny to have a "review" of a Kubrick adaptation of Nabokov following my various reviews of films like Child of Peach, Orochi: The Eight Headed Dragon, and DragonBall: Evolution. (Which has been responsible for about half of the traffic for this page)
However, I do have a point to this. I have often advocated watching an otherwise terrible movie and appreciating it anyway; not laughing at it or even with it, but in spite of it. Seeing Nabokov's tale of cruel self-hatred manifesting itself in the tyranny of one person over another, told from the perspective of the tyrant turned into a work of minor perversion/transgressive humor could cause me to nerd rage all over my blog -- and if I devised any sort of slightly clever methods of insulting the film or the director the temptation might have arisen. But the cheap scoring and absurd performance from Peter Sellers, as well as what I'm assuming is a fifteen year old Sue Lyon never fail to remind that this is dopey studio film making from the sixties.
And I'm actually kind of okay with that. Like any other thoroughly awful movie, I enjoy watching it on its own terms. The bitchin' early sixties hairstyles and awful sound track help with that.
Please don't hate me too much, Kubrick fans. Surely even you lot must realize that his Lolita is a meandering, pandering mess.
It would have worked better under the title, "Pedo-a-Go-Go."