Thursday, 9 June 2011


Last winter, I finally read Vladimir Nabokov's master piece Lolita. Ever since I've heard of this book, I had been craving to read it. However, I didn't do that until I got the book from my mother in December.
I've been absolutely fascinated by Nabokov's style of writing, it's so refined. Humbert Humbert, the main character is a terrible man, but that's exactly what differentiates this book from any other story I had read so far.
Here's a small summary for those who are unfamiliar with the book:
The European Humbert Humbert moves to America in the 1950s. He moves in with the widow Charlotte and her 12 years old daughter Dolores "Lolita" Haze and falls immediately in love with the latter. Unable to show his love to her, he decides to marry her mother in order to be close to his Lolita. When Charlotte dies, Humbert takes his chance and starts touring the States with Dolores and is absolutely obsessed with her. However, it gets harder and harder to keep her under control.

Vladimir Nabokov

Back in 1955, when this book appeared, it was a huge scandal. The prudish society was in shock: how could a book like this be published? Paedophilia was not a topic that should be talked about and captivating it on paper was even worse. It was even banned in France, the U.K., Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa, because of it's sexual content.
Nabokov was not at all impressed by all the critisism. He translated his book to Russian - his native language and also wrote the screenplay for the movie (1962).
This movie isn't as controversial as the book was. It lacks the sexual tension between Humbert and Lolita. Probably because it still was a huge taboo and simply couldn't be shown on screen.
This typical black and white movie, including all clichés - such as dramatical music and passionate embraces - is actually rather entertaining.

Although this movie is two hours and twenty seven minutes long, you rush through the story. I'm not certain if anyone who doesn't know the book will be able to understand everything. A lot of details and parts of the original story were left out and only the most important details are shown. This is, of course, understandable: 2 hours and a half is long and by expanding that, it would be hard to keep the viewer interested.
The actors are wonderful and have all done a very well job. Peter Sellers was my favourite in this movie. His role isn't very big, but he certainly stole the show and his way of speaking was very amusing.
Peter Sellers was not the only one who added some wit to the movie. There were some enjoyable parts throughout the movie too. My favourite scene was the scene in which Humbert and one of the employees of the hotel where Lolita and Humbert would spend the night tried to unfold a camp bed. This doesn't work out as well as they were hoping for and they don't want to wake up Lolita. After a lot of effort, the bed is finally steady, but when Humbert wants to sleep on it, the bed crashes and Humbert has to sleep on a crashed camp bed, which is practically the same as on a mattress on the floor.

Sue Lyon as Lolita and James Mason as Humbert

This movie isn't the only filmed version of Nabokov's book. In 1997, another film appeared starring Jeremy Irons as Humbert Humbert. I haven't watched this version yet, but I'll certainly do so in the future.
Expect a review of that one too when I've seen it!


  1. another Lolita fan!
    ik vond de film, uit 1997 echt een teleurstelling, dus die raad ik af! Alles is zoveel explicieter daarin, terwijl het boek en de eerste film juist alles impliceren, wat ik de kracht ervan vind.

  2. Haha, oké. Heb het momenteel ook iets te druk om hem te kijken, ben ik bang, maar als ik me ooit eens verveel ga ik het toch eens doen, ben er wel benieuwd naar, ondanks dat ik gehoord heb dat hij minder goed is dan de oudere versie.