AWARDS & HONORS
was nominated for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.
was nominated for Golden Globes for Best Director, Best Motion Picture Actor and Actress in a Drama (did they miss the point?) for James Mason and Shelley Winters, and Best Supporting Actor for Peter Sellers. Sue Lyon won the Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer.
Stanley Kubrick received a Director's Guild nomination for his work but lost to David Lean.
was nominated for an Oscar® for Best Adapted Screenplay but lost to the more family friendly To Kill a Mockingbird
The film won Mason a British Academy Award nomination.
The Harvard Lampoon
honored the "Theme From Lolita
" as the year's most obnoxious movie song and gave Sue Lyon "The Cellophane Figleaf for insisting that she is not a Lolita in real life."
The Critics' Corner: LOLITA
"'How did they ever make a movie of Lolita
?' The answer to that question, posed in the advertisements of the picture...is as simple as this. They didn't....But once this is said about the movie -- and once the reader has been advised not to expect the distractingly sultry climate and sardonic mischievousness of the book -- it must be said that Mr. Kubrick has got a lot of fun and frolic in this film. He has also got a bit of pathos and irony toward the end."
- Bosley Crowther, The New York Times
"The surprise of Lolita
is how enjoyable it is: it's the first new American comedy since those great days in the forties when Preston Sturges recreated comedy with verbal slapstick. Lolita is black slapstick and at times it's so far out that you gasp as you laugh."
- Pauline Kael, I Lost It at the Movies
"For all the sometimes sly, sometimes savage humor, there is an understanding of Humbert's moral disease at its heart, and this makes it more moral, actually, than a good many of Hollywood's so-called 'clean' pictures."
- Hollis Albert, Saturday Review
"Some elements of the film are far above ordinary. James Mason gives his best performance since Odd Man Out
. Peter Sellers is staggeringly accurate as the American Quilty and Quilty-as-a-German....Shelley Winters is wistful and hygienically slovenly as Charlotte. Stanley Kubrick, the director, has caught in some sequences (the murder, Humbert in the bathtub) an approximation in film style of the novel's style. And he has drawn from Sue Lyon, a somewhat matronly nymphet of 15, a performance that is always sound and sometimes sly."
- Stanley Kauffman, The New Republic
"Sue Lyon has the 'eerie vulgarity' and provocative whine of the novel's Lolita. That she may look 'too old' in some scenes merely emphasizes the discrepancy between the mind's eye, to which the novel is directed, and the more literal camera's eye as it registers the authentic way American adolescence annihilates the pubescent gap between childhood and adulthood."
- Alexander Walker, Stanley Kubrick Directs
"Peter Sellers is grotesquely conceited and fussy in a role that needs deadly simplicity. Shelley Winters is right and smart. Sue Lyons is not bad if you like sixteen-year-olds (which is not what the novel is about). The decision to film in Britain - when Lolita
is one of the great roaming tours of Americana - is demented. But Ossie Morris delivers a nice, gray black-and-white look that encourages one to listen to the words. Also on the sound track is a naggy, silly, cute, but actually quite enticing score...that I can never get out of my head and which I now associate with the great book."
- David Thomson, Have You Seen...?
"The director's heart is apparently elsewhere. Consequently, we face the problem without the passion, the badness without the beauty, the agony without the ecstasy."
- Andrew Sarris
"Fitfully amusing but slightly plotted and very lengthy screen version of a sensational novel in which the heroine is only twelve, which makes a difference. The flashback introduction and various comic asides are pretentious and alienating."
- Halliwell's Film & Video Guide
"...it looks better with every passing year...Picture is at times screamingly funny; the performances by Sellers (at his most manic) and Mason - talking smart yet acting like a five-year-old, displaying a sickly smile - are marvelous (although Mason doesn't fit the image one gets of Nabokov's Humbert Humbert)."
- Danny Peary, Guide For the Film Fanatic
"The journey across America, forming the central section of the film, provides the basis for Kubrick's characteristically wry observation of the rootlessness of contemporary American society."
- The Oxford Companion to Film
"Less genuinely ecstatic in its portrait of paedophiliac obsession than Nabokov's novel - Kubrick is too cold and distanced a director ever to portray happiness, it seems - but nevertheless far more satisfying than his later works... Mason is highly impressive as Humbert Humbert - all repressed passion and furrowed brow - and Winters contributes just the right amount of vulgarity as Lo's mother. Kubrick manages to handle the moral and psychological nuances with surprising lucidity, but the decision to indulge Peter Sellers' gift for mimickry in the role of Quilty tends to scupper the movie's tone. Fascinating, nevertheless.
- Geoff Andrew, TimeOut Film Guide
"...it lacks the power to shock and, eventually, makes very little point either as comedy or satire...The result is an occasionally amusing but shapeless film...There is much about the film that is excellent. James Mason has never been better than he is as erudite Humbert Humbert."
Compiled by Frank Miller