Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0004834, Wed, 1 Mar 2000 09:10:12 -0800

Lolita/American Beauty (fwd)
From: Barbara Wyllie <bwyllie@ssees.ac.uk>

A friendly voice in the wilderness! Thank you, Sarah, for restoring my
faith in my own critical faculties - however tenuous and volatile they may
seem! I think what I find hard to swallow is how cinema has been used in
this instance to produce nothing more than a twisted version of Beverly
Hills 90210 and that what would otherwise be considered glib posturing is
transformed, by the very fact that this is 'film', into a serious engagement
with the work of great artists like Nabokov and Hitchcock. The only good
that can come out of the intertextual debate AB has provoked is an increased
awareness of and interest in Lolita or The Great Gatsby or Rear Window...
Perhaps, in that case, it might not be such a bad thing if it won an Oscar
or two after all?

Barbara Wyllie
London University

> I've talked to several other people who agree with me and you, Barbara,
> that AB is a piece of junk. I found it very offensive and cynical. The
> characters were trivial and idiotic. The feeble attempts to invoke Lolita
> amounted to name-dropping, and the film's attempt to have it both ways
> regarding the Spacey character's infatuation had none of the paradox,
> daring, or complexity of Lolita. I thought Lyne's version of Lolita was
> much more successful as a film, though of course it could never equal any
> individual reader's experience of VN's novel.
> Dr. Sarah Herbold
> Lecturer
> Women's Studies Department
> UC Berkeley
> 3226 Dwinelle Hall
> Berkeley, CA 94720