Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0003434, Thu, 15 Oct 1998 17:51:08 -0700

Re: DN's Legal Challenge/LOLITA film (return engagement!) (fwd)
>From Christopher Berg
In a message dated 10/14/98 7:43:56 PM EST, Galya Diment writes:

> I happen to think that the lawsuit, while entertaining, does much
> harm to the notion and principle of artistic freedom.

Now that two others have come out to say that such lawsuits (and this one in
particular) are harmful, I will come out of my cowardly corner and agree.
Having worked in music publishing for quite some time -- where, it seems,
every use of even a single word and a pair of notes is "licensed", I have come
kto strongly believe that the notion of "fair use" (and parody has
traditionally been included in this definition) must begin to assert itself
more strongly. Yes, Ms. Pera's book may be a real stinker, but a gag order on
it will only serve to make it a cause celèbre in the history of free speech --
particularly ironic in relation to LOLITA's own struggles. And Ms. Pera is
likely to win. If her book is a bad one, why give her free publicity?

On an entirely different note, a second viewing of LOLITA (the Lyne film),
this time in the theater, brought out virtues which were harder to see on the
small screen: notably the motel sequence is much more flavorful and the murder
scene is masterfully handled (albeit practically a verbatim visualisation of
the sequence in the book -- but still, beautifully done, especially by
Langella). I still have strong reservations about the Irons performance: he is
so perfectly cast it seems a shame that his performance could not have had
something of the manic nervousness of Mason's. But that would no doubt have
meant copying Mason's performance tic for tic, and what actor would want to do
that? Ms. Swain's performance, on the other hand, is quite heart-stoppingly
beautiful, and the score seemed even better. If only the element of humor had
not been so strongly suppressed...