NABOKV-L post 0022018, Tue, 20 Sep 2011 21:30:00 -0400

The Revenge of Lolita ...


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The Revenge of Lolita
Michael Rawls | September 20, 2011 | 1 Comment
Editor’s note: On Wednesday, September 21, the Film Society of Lincoln Center begins its ten-film repertory series “American Girl: Tuesday Weld.” In the paragraphs below Cinespect contributor Michael Rawls discusses three thematically linked highlights of the series.

In March 1960, Stanley Kubrick ran Tuesday Weld by Vladimir Nabokov as a possible candidate for the title role in the Harris and Kubrick film of Nabokov’s novel “Lolita.” “Too old,” said V.N. Weld was sixteen and a half at the time, certainly too old for nymphethood. But she successfully portrayed teenagers well into her late twenties. Older men and murder were recurring plot elements, as was madness.

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In addition to the elements that I mentioned at the beginning (older men, murder and madness), other aspects of “Lolita” appear in the films discussed here. Absent or soon to be absent mothers, men exploiting underage girls and being exploited in return (reaping what they sowed), the men doing the exploiting deceiving themselves that they are somehow superior to the people around them (I’m a CIA agent, I’m better than the rest of these hillbillies, I’m a magician whatever you want I can give it to you).

Time and other constraints make it impossible for me to cover all the films in this retrospective. I have chosen these three not only because of my liking for them but also because they are representative of a good portion of Weld’s career. Typecasting may have limited her career in some ways, but it’s also provided her with some of her best roles.

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