Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0003104, Mon, 11 May 1998 12:52:45 -0700

Lolita in the UK (fwd)
Adrian Lyne's movie opened in London at the end of last week to considerable
publicity. Reviews run a gamut from strongly condemnatory to very enthusiastic.
Only (as far as I can tell) the 'Daily Mail''s reviewer, Christopher Tookey, is
actually calling for the film to be banned. Most other reviews accept the film
is harmless and well-intentioned, but disagree about its quality. Richard
Williams (in 'The Guardian') writes "The new Lolita has all the subtlety of a
lingerie ad....Although often faithful to the novel, Lyne has distorted and
coarsened the broader themes in a way that exposes him to a charge of exploiting
the text for his own ends.....[Irons & Swain]'s performances are the film's
saving grace, along with Melanie Griffith as the girl's lubricious
mother....Almost everything about the film testifies to Lyne's empty
craftsmanship.....The truly shocking thing about his Lolita is its banality."
This is balanced with the appearance a few pages later in the same issue of a
two-page story on and interview with Dmitri Nabokov in which DN is very
enthusiastic about Lyne's movie.

In 'The Sunday Times' the reviewer, Tom Shone, again gives a reserved opinion of
the movie. For Shone, Lyne's faults are exactly complementary to Kubrick's, and
he suggests tongue-in-cheek that a certain amount of cloning with DNA spliced
from Stanley K and Adrian L might lead to someone capable of producting the
perfect Nabokovian movie rendition of Lolita, one which exactly balances comedy
and tragedy, substance and surface.

To celebrate the appearance of the movie here in the UK, Channel 4 is
broadcasting an hour-long TV documentary on the history of Lolita, from VN's
writing and publication problems onwards, next Saturday night at 10pm. (This may
be a co-production, in which case I'll forward any details.) And this will be
followed at 11.50pm by a transmission of Kubrick's Lolita for those of us who
haven't seen it lately, enabling us to make a comparison when Lyne's film makes
it to our local cinemas.

|* Dr. Jerry Goodenough *|
|* Philosophy Sector Tel: +44 (0)1603-592095 *|
|* School of Economic & Social Studies Fax: +44 (0)1603-250434 *|
|* University of East Anglia E: j.goodenough@uea.ac.uk *|
|* Norwich NR4 7TJ England *|