NABOKV-L post 0001476, Thu, 21 Nov 1996 16:29:28 -0800

The current NEW YORKER (25 Nov. 1996, p. 50) has a "Town of the Town"
item by Mark Danner called "Guardian Angels." It concerns censorship in
the media and concludes on the new film LOLITA . Noting that, despite the
Nabokov's fame and the emminence of its director and stars, the film had
yet found no American distributor, Danner writes:

"I called the press agent, who denied that there was a problem. But I
wasn't convinced, so I called an old friend in Hollywood--a wily
producer. I was advised to calm down. "Yes," she said, "the climate is
different--you could certainly argue that today's audience is more
bluestocking, very sensitive to the exploitation of minors. But,
frankly, perverts have never been a huge factor in opening a movie."
"She went on the speculate that the real reason "Lolita" hasn't
yet found an American distributor is that "dirty movies don't work--they
don't 'open.' I mean, look at the record: 'Showgirls' tanked,
'Striptease' tanked--and that had Demi Moore. And what's Adrian got? An
unknown fifteen-year-old girl. Believe me, if some distributor was
convinced "Lolita' would open, they would be all over it.
"The problem is an unknown fifteen-year-old girl? I couldn't help
but wonder what Nabokov would say to _that_. After all, he saw himself in
the tradition of Dante and Poe, taking on a perennial subject of
art---obsessive love. I think he would have just shaken his head and

D. Barton Johnson
Department of Germanic, Slavic and Semitic Studies
Phelps Hall
University of California at Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
Phone and Fax: (805) 687-1825
Home Phone: (805) 682-4618