Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0003262, Mon, 3 Aug 1998 09:05:24 -0700

LOLITA: film vs book
Yesterday I sent out a note prefacing Chris Berg's and Peter
Kartsev's comments that NABOKV-L was being swamped by the Lyne LOLITA --
to the detriment of more interesting things. I agreed with him and the
mail since received agrees. Two samples follow at bottom.
As I announced, NABOKV-L will carry LOLITA film news from the
media ONLY if it is of extraordinary interest. It will, however, provide a
round-up of references and E-addresses, so please send these in. I
shall lump them in a single posting every day or so. Those
interested can then proceed to the sources directly.
Postings from individual subscribers (as opposed to "attached"
media files) will be distributed on a selective basis.

Like most of you I saw the Schiff/Lyne LOLITA on SHOWTIME last
night. It is, I think, a first-rate film. The central content and much of
the spirit of the novel is there. The script, direction, and camera work
were excellent, as were all of the performances. My particular thanks to
writer Steven Schiff who managed to retain as much of Nabokov's language
as he did (although a few of the slang usages sounded distinctly post-1950
to my aging ear). (Similarly, at least one of the "period" songs dated
from the WWII years and not the fifties.)
In short, I think the film does as well by the novel as a film
could. It also illustrates how distinctly different film and printed
narrative are in their capabilities and limitations. Nabokov's prose
brings the literary language to stylistic heights rarely, if ever,
attained in English. In film, (verbal) language is of necessity secondary.
The LOLITA film can only be judged as a film and to compare it to the
novel is to do both a disservice. On its own merits, the film is a good
one. One hopes that it will encourage people to read the book.
>From Mary Bellino (iambe@javanet.com):

Apropos of Christopher Berg's remarks, a quote from ADA: "When will
film-makers reach the stage _we_ have reached?" (p. 105) (In my opinion,


>From Chaswe@aol.com Mon Aug 3 08:25:15 1998

It is extremely hard not to agree with Christopher Berg. He expresses my
sentiments exactly: with a courtesy I could never match. Thank you, Mr Berg.

Charles Harrison Wallace