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Lolita (Bfi Film Classics)
Lolita (Bfi Film Classics)
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Author : Richard Corliss
Publisher : British Film Institute
ISBN# : 9780851703688
Pages : 96
Price :INR 841
Offer Price:INR 748
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Book Description

frontis., 25 b&w photos Corliss explores every facet of this complex and disturbing film. He deals in detail with casting, which included Sue Lyon as the nymphet Lolita, James Mason as her lover Humbert Humbert and Peter Sellers as the sinister Quilty.There are probably a dozen film critics as good as Richard Corliss (of Time and Film Comment fame), but none can match his verbal inventiveness--hes clever to the point of the preternatural. Others might have ably summed up Stanley Kubricks film of Vladimir Nabokovs ""nymphette"" novel Lolita in under 100 pages, as Corliss briskly does in this British Film Institute book. (In fact, a true film buff really should consider buying the entire BFI Film Classics series--theyre great little picture-filled books about amazing movies, for about the cost of a movie ticket.) No one but Corliss, however, would have dared to write his essay on 1962s Lolita in the form of a pastiche of Nabokovs 1962 novel Pale Fire, which consists of a poem followed by a mad scholars commentary on it.

Corliss gives us a lively, learned, but quite sane gloss on his own poem ""Pale Film,"" a funny but serious mediation about Lolitas perilous leap from literature to Hollywood, ""a pasture full / Of pretty creatures, barnyard words, and bull."" Corlisss style seems influenced by Nabokovs poem that begins, ""What is translation? On a plate / The poets pale and glaring head."" Here is Corliss on the novelists translation to screen: ""Here lies Nabokov: teacher, critics pet, / Daft lepidopterist (nut with a net).... And here flies V.N.s work through movieland: / A butterfly in the projector beam. / It floats, then flits away, as in a dream / Of monarchs who find freedom in a cage / With horizontal bars--lines on a page.""

Its remarkable how much gets packed into this tight package: a quick sketch of 1962 society and the state of the film biz; micro-bios of writer and director (both Nabokov and Kubrick started out playing chess for money); notions on Nabokovs own unfilmed Lolita: A Screenplay; spotlit insights into specific scenes (including the films eight kisses and Peter Sellerss four big improvisation skits); sharp insiders quotes; and dazzling critiques of acting craft. Shelley Winters (whom Kubrick almost fired mid-picture) ""dances around ... like an elephant cow in heat.... [she] virtually cha-chas as she sits.... [S]he uses the cigarette holder as a Balinese dancer would her cymbals."" Imagine how good Corliss is on the still greater work of James Mason. Corliss even has thoughts about Adrian Lynes 1996 remake (silkily, slyly read by its star Jeremy Irons on the audiocassette Lolita). Though it was not yet made when Corliss wrote in 1994, he did write, ""[Lyne] and Lolita seemed a match made in New Hollywood heaven."" --Tim Appelo


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