Adapted from Vladmir Nabakov's acclaimed 1955 novel, Stanley Kubrick's 1962 Lolita tells the twisted, depraved, and often comical story of Prof. Humbert Humbert (James Mason), a European academic who becomes sexually obsessed with a teenage American girl (Sue Lyon) and takes up lodging with her mother (Shelly Winters) just so he can be closer to her. Nabakov originally wrote the screenplay, and even though Kubrick reputedly hacked it apart by eliminating many of the more sordid details, much of his editing allows for both a lighter tone and some very black comedy humor so dark at times that you may be surprised by your own involuntary laughter. Mason's performance is effortlessly two-faced as the professor who mixes with respectable society while his obsessive paedophilia rages within. Winters delivers one of her best performances as Charlotte Haze, the insecure, sex-starved widow who despises Lolita, her own daughter, for her youth and beauty, and Sue Lyon, as little Lo, is so fetching that your identification with Humbert's lust for her will make you that much more uncomfortable. Peter Sellers appears in a supporting role as smooth-talking American playwright Clare Quilty who also has his eyes on Lolita and his goofy performance, combined with the unpleasant nature of the whole affair, makes Lolita an excellent lead-in to Kubrick and Sellers' greatest achievement, the 1964 Dr. Strangelove. Warner's June 2001 DVD re-release of Lolita, which replaces their June 1999 edition, offers a transfer of their "2000 digital master" restored print. The original disc featured an attractive source, with the sort of minor flecking and wear one can expect from a film of its age, and as such that disc is still good value. However, for those who don't own Lolita on DVD (or want to upgrade), the new print is nearly flawless, with barely a hint of dust or scratches throughout and plenty of vivid, strong detail it's hard to imagine this film looking any better than it does here. Beyond the picture, the features are identical to the first disc, with the original monaural audio (DD 1.0), the amusing theatrical trailer ("They made a film of Lolita?"), and an "awards" supplement. Snap-case.
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