Kubrick’s camera stares at the nymphet Lolita with a regard that mingles the director’s love of the material, the male character’s tragic desire for the girl, and society’s outrage at a taboo subject handled by one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century, Vladimir Nabokov. The project was born into controversy, and Kubrick did not shrink from it but instead produced a film with a complicated nature. “Lolita” (1962) opens with a murder, establishing an air of black comedy that permeates the film. Varieties of style continue: it is a noir road movie, a truly modern love story, a mirror that returns the gaze.
On the set Kubrick played music selected for each member of hs cast and encouraged the actors to improvise, using the dissimilarities in their performances as part of a precarious landscapes. Sue Lyon, thirteen at the time the film was made, was plunged into the spotlight and received the Golden Globe for best new actress. Although there was a disagreement about the adaptation of the novel, in the end Nabokov called “Lolita” a first-rate film.