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View Full Version : How [i]did[/i] they make a movie like Lolita??


Bear_Nenno
01-07-2001, 01:08 PM
Ok, in the movie Lolita, was the girl as young as the actress she played? Or was she just "young looking"? Am I evil if I think she was hot?


-Thanks in advance.

Bear_Nenno
01-07-2001, 01:11 PM
Grrr.... That should of course be "as young as the character she played"...

yabob
01-07-2001, 01:56 PM
No. According to http://imdb.com, Dominique Swain would have been 16 or 17 when the movie was filmed, which is a world of difference from the character's age of 12. I haven't seen the movie, but most reviewers comment on both the faithfulness to the Nabokov novel, and the explicit nature of some of the scenes. I would guess they would have had a difficult time making the movie with a more age-appropriate actress.

Duck Duck Goose
01-07-2001, 01:58 PM
Unless of course he's talking about the 1962 version, http://us.imdb.com/Title?0056193
with Sue Lyon.

If you think Sue Lyon was hot, you probably need more help than we can give you here at the Straight Dope. :D

yabob
01-07-2001, 02:21 PM
If you think Sue Lyon was hot, you probably need more help than we can give you here at the Straight Dope.

One of the reasons I assumed the OP was talking about the new one.

Sue Lyon was born in 1946, so she was 15 or 16 when she made the movie, also post-, rather than pre-pubescent. Probably also to allow for less controversy in shooting the subject matter.

If somebody had guts, they should have done the thing in 1997 with Amanda Bynes from Nickolodeon, who WOULD have been the right age, looked right for the role, and had established herself as a capable performer. Imagine the public controversy THAT might have generated. Her agent probably wouldn't have let her touch it, anyway.

Ringo
01-07-2001, 02:37 PM
Wasn't Brooke Shields pretty young when she made Taxi Driver? There weren't any truly explicit scenes (as close as I remember was her dropping to her knees), but the subject matter must have caused a second thought or two.

Still, how is it a minor can be in a suggestive (or more, considering Lolita) movie?

silent_rob
01-07-2001, 02:44 PM
Originally posted by beatle
Wasn't Brooke Shields pretty young when she made Taxi Driver?

Yeah, if Brooke Shields were actually in it, she would have been 10 or 11! Though, she wasn't, but Jodie Foster was still pretty young. She was 14, though I don't recall anything too explicit that she did in it.

yabob
01-07-2001, 02:47 PM
Brooke Shields was 11 when Taxi Driver was made, but a more relevent piece of information might be that Jodie Foster was 13.

(Brooke Shields' controversial performance at a young age was "Blue Lagoon")

silent_rob
01-07-2001, 02:52 PM
I've got to apologize, beatle. Looking back at my post, it might have come off as pretty sarcastic. Sorry about that.

yabob
01-07-2001, 02:57 PM
Mine had about the same tone. Hard to resist being a wiseass in cases like this. Likewise, no insult intended.

Bear_Nenno
01-07-2001, 03:11 PM
Where was the movie Lolita shot, though?? If a man his age makes out with a 16 year old like that in Florida, he would be arrested. (Legal for a man my age though... woohooo!!) Anyway, were there any legal problems with his tongue being in the mouth of a minor.

RealityChuck
01-07-2001, 03:11 PM
Re: Brooke Shields -- her role in "Blue Lagoon" was predated by her role in "Pretty Baby," which was released when she was 13, and filmed when she was 12. Shields played the daughter of a prostitute in a whorehouse and appeared nude as she was auctioned off to the highest bidder. She also was in scenes of other people having sex. The movie was actually fairly well received (arguably her best), probably because it was directed by Louis Malle, who had the ability to make movies on edgy themes (incest, Nazi collaboration) and get away with it.

Boris B
01-07-2001, 03:15 PM
I think Brooke Shields' controversial performance was Pretty Baby, but given how confusing this thread is, it could have been The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington for all I know.

One of the weird things about Lolita debates is that no one seems to have seen the movies. Which is guess tells you something. Even if you could find one at a video store (and maybe you can; I can't find anything at a video store), there's no guarantee it wouldn't be edited. Which could create some humorous confusion: "Dude, I saw Deepthroat and it was totally tame. And pretty expensive for a 25-minute film."

I found the "X-rated" version of Barbarella at a big video chain (Blockbuster or Hollywood, I don't remember). I thought, "Now I'll see what all the fuss is about! What did pass for an X rating in the 60s, anyway?" Then I found that it was only the box that was X-rated. The movie itself was PG. Hmm.

The point is, the Lolita movies were made, but they are under legal and moral sanction in some areas, as the novel is and was.

Bear_Nenno
01-07-2001, 03:17 PM
She also was in scenes of other people having sexWas she actually there??? Or did they use camera angles and editting tricks to make it appear she was there. If she was actually there, that too would be illegal in Florida. It's got to be illegal in Hollywood. Do they just make exceptions for thesbians?

Ringo
01-07-2001, 03:17 PM
My brain fart for the day. No offense taken, guys.

The two Chuck mentions are good examples (I knew I'd seen Brooke in something young and risque).

Bear_Nenno
01-07-2001, 03:25 PM
One of the weird things about Lolita debates is that no one seems to have seen the movies. Ummm... it has been on cable a few times in the past couple months. (Not nearly as much as Superman 2, but enough for me to have watched it twice)
I'm talking about the new one though. You might be talking about the old one. Was there worse scenes in the old one? I dont think anything was that bad in the new one, except for the fact that the old bastard was making out with a 16 year old.

Boris B
01-07-2001, 03:56 PM
Originally posted by Bear_Nenno
Ummm... it has been on cable a few times in the past couple months....
I'm talking about the new one though. You might be talking about the old one. Was there worse scenes in the old one? I dont think anything was that bad in the new one, except for the fact that the old bastard was making out with a 16 year old.
Okay, well I'm partly full of crap then. I'd have thought the subject matter alone would be enough to keep it off cable.

On the other hand, are you sure it's an unexpurgated version that's making it onto cable? I heard of a seen in the new one where Lolita pulls her retainer out of her mouth before doing something very intimate to Humbert. Obviously there needn't be any nudity for there to be sex (and I think that is way beyond "suggestive", but I realize that word has a vague definition).

As to the older one, yes, I think there are some racier seens in it. Kubrick seems to have liked making sexual movies. <- understatement Again, "racey" is in the eye of the beholder. If every film which is child pornography which merely admits the existance of sex between an over-18 and an under-18, then hooooee that's a lot of banned movies.
All I'm saying is, we aren't going to know why people get freaked out about Kubrick's Lolita unless they discuss in plain language all sorts of things that make people squeamish to talk about in plain language.

Does an under-18 actress appear on screen in a state of undress which would get her arrested if it were in public?

Is she portraying an under-18 character and in similar states of undress?

Did she engage in actual sex acts (not counting kissing or anything else that straight French guys do to each other; getting felt up, various intercourse acts, etc. would count) on-screen?

If the answer to these questions is no, then I guess that means it's just the subject matter which offends people. I can relate to being offended by it, but I can also see why the courts would be reluctant to treat it as illegal. If somebody makes a documentary of interviews with sex abuse survivors, they're going to deal in exactly the same subject matter. You wanna ban them too? That is why most child pornography standards try to be objective and deal with stuff like on-screen nudity, rather than whether a film tries to be erotic or not.

(If the answer to the above questions is yes, then I too am wondering how Kubrick got away with it. I'm not going to rush down to the raciest video store in town to find out, though.)

Speaker for the Dead
01-07-2001, 04:22 PM
IIRC, Maxim said Dominique Swain was 15 during the making of Lolita, but she was 18 at the time of the issue, which is almost a year old now, so I'd imagine she's 19 now.

Bear_Nenno
01-07-2001, 04:35 PM
The seen in the bedroom where she takes out her retainer was in the new one. They just showed her take it out, smile, and then go down. They really didnt show anything else. Was there more?

And what I am so curious about, is not what was 'suggested' but what actually did occur. I think you just said this movie was filmed in France, so I guess that explains most of my Qs. But in the US (at least FL) just kissing a minor in the manner he did in the movie is a felony. I was not really bothered by the movie at all. Maybe a little jealous is all. I was just curious how they could get away with those things.

RickJay
01-07-2001, 04:39 PM
Dominique Swain is 20 (b. 12/8/1980) The movie started production in 1995, IIRC, so she was 15 when it was made, 17 when it was released in the U.S.

ianzin
01-07-2001, 04:41 PM
Kubrick's 1962 version was pretty much what you would expect for that era. It's a very literary adapatation apart from indulging Peter Sellers's desire to showcase his chameleon talents - not as multiple characters, exactly, so much as one character (Clare Quilty) who adopts different guises. It is not an explicit film - everything is suggestion rather than depiction.

At what is arguably the most risque scene of all - the morning after Lolita and Humbert Humbert have stayed the night in a motel room together - Lolita suggests to HH that she has an idea, then she cups her hand to his ear and whispers something, and then it fades to black.

In the 1997 version there is precisely one brief scene which coveys some sort of sexual tryst between Lolita and HH, but it offers little or nothing for the soft porn aficionados of the video pause button. It all takes place in very arty, shadowy deep blue lighting with lots of quick cuts and strange angles. Quite frankly, for all that you can see, it could be two Teletubbies playing cards.

Bear_Nenno
01-07-2001, 05:12 PM
Wait a minute. I was just reading the imbd... I had no idea she was Jamie Archer from Face Off... Interesting. BTW, she is only a year younger than me, so I dont feel so evil now!

handy
01-08-2001, 12:19 PM
American Beauty was far better & is about the same thing sort of & it also won lots of awards.

Johanna
01-08-2001, 12:40 PM
I would love to see a movie of Lee Siegels 1999 novel Love in a Dead Language, which riffs off of the Lolita theme. It's about an American Sanskrit professor who becomes sexually obsessed with one of his students, an Indian girl named Lalita. (Lalita is a genuine Hindu name.) His plans to seduce her are all scripted according to the Kama Sutra, and the plot of the novel itself is interwoven with the professor's ongoing translation of the Kama Sutra. The novel has Nabokov allusions liberally sprinkled all through it. Including a projected CD-ROM version of the Kama Sutra with a translation into Zemblan.

jonas
01-08-2001, 12:58 PM
I saw both the old version and the new version. I didn't like either. I struggled through the old one but had too turn the new one off about halfway through. The only thing I was offended by was the film making and the acting. Forget the movie......Read the Book!!

Ukulele Ike
01-08-2001, 01:15 PM
I halfway agree with jonas...the novel is pretty damn amazing, and completely impossible to film accurately.

On the other hand, what's the point of filming a novel accurately? I love Kubrick's film version...I'm a sucker for James Mason and Peter Sellers and Shelley Winters. But it has about as much to do with Nabokov's book as John Huston's MOBY-DICK (which I also love) has to do with Melville's.

mazzer
01-08-2001, 02:00 PM
The best part is that Nabokov's novel was about a butterfly, not a little girl. Seriously. It was.

jonas
01-08-2001, 02:32 PM
Ukulele Ike,

Your right, I'm ussually too hard on movies based on books I like. (oddly enough, Steinbeck's books translate really well on the screen). I always expect too much. Like I said I did watch the old version and I thought it was alright. I guess if they did want to make an accurate recreation of the novel it would illegal and about 50 hours long.

Ivar
01-08-2001, 03:17 PM
Originally posted by chriszarate
The best part is that Nabokov's novel was about a butterfly, not a little girl. Seriously. It was.

Um, did you read the same book? Or am I seriously missing something?

Please explain.

jonas
01-08-2001, 04:06 PM
Originally posted by chriszarate
The best part is that Nabokov's novel was about a butterfly, not a little girl. Seriously. It was.

I'm curious about this too. In the introduction he talks about where he got the idea for the book. He said he first started thinking about writing the book after seeing an article about a monkey who was taught to draw and the first thing he drew was the bars of his cage

mazzer
01-08-2001, 04:48 PM
Well, to be fair, I suppose I should say that Nabokov's book was about a butterfly or a little girl. Nabokov was, in fact, a lepidoptrist, and his fascination of butterflies was exceeded only by his love of sneaky double entendres, especially in his writing.

I tried searching online, but could not find the article I read as an undergraduate (it was titled "Lolita Lepidoptra," I believe). If you reread Lolita with this in mind, it becomes obvious that Nabokov's descriptions of Lolita are in fact descriptions of a butterfly.

mazzer
01-08-2001, 04:51 PM
The introduction, jonas, by the way, is a total fabrication, designed mainly to misdirect those eager to take offense to the subject matter.

mouthbreather
01-08-2001, 04:54 PM
A couple things here -- first, one of my sisters friends was scouted to be the body double for Lolita in the newer version. She is uber-hot but is only about 5 foot 1 and very petite figure. She could have easily passed for 12 or 13 if you didn't have a clear look at her head.

I agree with the opinions that both Lolita's were pretty bad, and neither hold a candle to the book.


second (and apologies for the hijack),

Jonas:Your right, I'm ussually too hard on movies based on books I like. (oddly enough, Steinbeck's books translate really well on the screen).

If you're talking about Of Mice and Men, I guess I can agree. If you're talking about the James Dean abortion of a movie East of Eden, me and you's gonna hafta step outside. East of Eden is my favortie book of all time, and that movie sucked eggs (to put it in nice GQ terms...Although I could devote a whole pit thread to that steaming pile of .... nevermind...grrrrr)

Cartooniverse
01-08-2001, 07:45 PM
Originally posted by RickJay
Dominique Swain is 20 (b. 12/8/1980) The movie started production in 1995, IIRC, so she was 15 when it was made, 17 when it was released in the U.S.

BOY- talk about cross-pollination. There's an active thread right now about child porn, and about half of this thread relates to it. So, here goes.

Her birthdate is irrelevant. If she was underage at the time the film was shot in the state it was shot in, then she was working as a minor in a film that might, or might not constitute pornography. Interesting- I don't know where the film was shot. I do know that I now know MUCH more about Frank Langella than I EVER wanted to know. So yes, I did watch the entire thing.

Cartooniverse

Milossarian
01-08-2001, 08:39 PM
Never saw the newer version, but I saw the old "Lolita" once years ago. I remember it being pretty good, and pretty tame. It probably shocked the sensibilities of people in its day, though.

I worked at a video store back in the mid-to-late '80s when they had to take all of the Traci Lords videos out of the adult section, when it was discovered she was 16 and 17 during the making of those films.

I recall her being one of the best X-rated stars at the time. I had to watch those movies to be an informed video clerk, of course. :D

Badtz Maru
01-08-2001, 11:29 PM
I saw the old Lolita last year, have not seen the newer one or have read the book (though I read a Cliffs Notes-type summary of the novel and want to read it now). I thought the original film was pretty racy for it's time, but it was not explicit at all, and I believe they changed the age of Lolita in it to 15 or 16.

Stoid
01-09-2001, 02:27 AM
I thought the most erotic and startling scene in the new one was where she was reading the comics while, ahem, "sitting" on his lap. It is very subtly done, but pretty unmistakable, as we see Irons naked, looking transported by ecstasy, and she is obviously riding him-including a shot of her going up on tip toe and down again, then throwing back her head in pleasure.

And I disagree that the new one sucked. The first one was perfectly awful, but I think that had a great deal to do with the limitations they were struggling with. I thought the new one was pretty good. But I'm a big Irons fan...


stoid

galt
01-09-2001, 05:00 AM
Her birthdate is irrelevant. If she was underage at the time the film was shot in the state it was shot in, then she was working as a minor in a film that might, or might not constitute pornography.


I don't understand your point. How is her birthdate irrelevant if her age was an issue?

jonas
01-09-2001, 08:20 AM
Originally posted by chriszarate
The introduction, jonas, by the way, is a total fabrication, designed mainly to misdirect those eager to take offense to the subject matter.

My mistake, I was thinking of an essay he wrote called On a Book Entitled Lolita written in 1956.
Nabakov writes: As far as I can recall, the initial shiver of inspiration was somhow prompted by a newspaper strory about an ape in the Jardin des Plantes, who, after months of coaxing by a scientist, produced the first drawing ever charcoaled by an animal: this sketch showed the bars of the poor creature's cage.

Spoke
01-09-2001, 10:46 AM
I'm with Stoidela. I thought the newer version did about as good a job as could be done translating the book to film. (Short of using an actual 12-year-old, of course.) The cinematography in the film was magnificent (the best I've seen recently), and I thought Irons was perfect as Humbert. Those who don't like this film: what's your beef?

I didn't care too much for the earlier (Kubrick) version.

Zebra
01-09-2001, 12:22 PM
Originally posted by RickJay
Dominique Swain is 20 (b. 12/8/1980) The movie started production in 1995, IIRC, so she was 15 when it was made, 17 when it was released in the U.S.

The new version was never released in the US. No US distributor would touch it. It was shown on Showtime.

The new version does not have Dominic Swain nude. The most explicit thing is her sitting on HH lap in a rocking chair. Her skirt cover the point of contact and he has on a robe and a shirt that we can see. The only nudity is from Frank Langella. He runs straight at the camera in an open bathrobe and he is bouncing away.

I really liked Jermey Irons as HH and I thought Donimic was good as well. I want to get the book on tape of Jermey Irons reading it but it was 80 dollars.

The problem with making this book into a film is they have to cut something and they cut the second year of the relationship and the second trip across America. This totally changes the story.

I always tell people that Lolita is about trying to have sex with an underage girl the same way that Moby Dick is about whale hunting.

jonas
01-09-2001, 12:48 PM
I guess if I never read the book or if it was an original screen play, I might have liked it. But I thought that the humor was a bit forced, I don't think it captured the dark humor of the novel. It has been a while since I watched it but I didn't really like Jeremy Irons. Maybe if I gave it another chance I would change my mind, he is roughly what I would picture HH to look like. But I don't think that the girl who played Lolita looked the part (in my opinion). I didn't picture lolita as a 11 year old who looks older. She was a little girl, HH did not like when nymphets turned 16 so why would he fall in love w/ a girl with boobs. I know that they had to gloss over the ugliness of HH in order to make a movie, but part of his ugliness was that he liked children, not teenagers.
Also I agree, it is not stricly about sex w/ an underage girl. I worked at a bookstore, and I heard a girl call it pornography. On a certain level, I don't think she read the same book as me.
(on an unrelated note, one movie that succeeded w/ the same type of dark humor was Happiness, and without glossing anything over. Not recomended for sensitive types.)

Spoke
01-09-2001, 12:57 PM
The new version was never released in the US. No US distributor would touch it.

Huh? I saw it at the Plaza Theater in Atlanta. It may not have been widely released, but it was released.

Cartooniverse
01-09-2001, 03:20 PM
Originally posted by galt

Her birthdate is irrelevant. If she was underage at the time the film was shot in the state it was shot in, then she was working as a minor in a film that might, or might not constitute pornography.


I don't understand your point. How is her birthdate irrelevant if her age was an issue?

Oops. Well. I meant that her actual DATE of birth didn't matter. All that mattered was her age when those scenes were shot. Not the film's date of begin of Principal Photography, not the date of release. Just how old she was when scenes that might be objectionable under law were actually filmed.

Cartooniverse

galt
01-09-2001, 08:36 PM
cartooniverse said:

galt said:

cartooniverse said:

Her birthdate is irrelevant. If she was underage at the time the film was shot in the state it was shot in, then
she was working as a minor in a film that might, or might not constitute pornography.

I don't understand your point. How is her birthdate irrelevant if her age was an issue?

Oops. Well. I meant that her actual DATE of birth didn't matter.

Are you consistenly mis-typing this, or do I just not understand you at all?

Cartooniverse
01-10-2001, 07:55 PM
I can't bear to quote your quote of my quote of your quote of me.
What I mean, and am apparently paralyzed with here, is the following.
Someone gave the date of her birth. ALL I was saying <sob, gasp> is that giving her specific date of birth didn't matter. All that mattered was whether or not she was an underage minor at the time, etc etc.

I sweah to you all, I won't come back to this. Out ! Out, foul thread !!!

Cartooniverse

p.s. Scary to think that I passed out of Freshman Comp at Penn State with an eloquent essay written with no prep. God. I'm old, and inarticulate. <sniffle>.

Danielinthewolvesden
01-10-2001, 11:23 PM
OK, you 2 are confused. The actual DOB does matter- but only as applied to the date shot, not the date of release. Ie, if she was 16 when the film was shot, it matters not that she was 20 when the film was released.

And, the "real" reason why it is not "kiddie porn" is that it is "art", ie it has "socially redeeming meaning".

bwk
01-11-2001, 02:59 AM
Originally posted by Zebra
The only nudity is from Frank Langella. He runs straight at the camera in an open bathrobe and he is bouncing away.

Okay, I haven't read the book or seen any of the movies, but this made me laugh so hard and so suddenly that I spit all over my screen.

Not sure why I had to share that, but I did.

Back to the naughty nymphet discussion.

warmgun
01-12-2001, 03:20 AM
Originally posted by Bear_Nenno
Where was the movie Lolita shot, though?? If a man his age makes out with a 16 year old like that in Florida, he would be arrested. (Legal for a man my age though... woohooo!!) Anyway, were there any legal problems with his tongue being in the mouth of a minor.

warmgun
01-12-2001, 03:26 AM
I did not make the above post.

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