Stanley Kubrick begins his most creative spree as he moves to England after the debacle known as Spartacus and starts off with adapting Vladimir Nabokov's controversial novel about a man infatuated with a young teenage girl to the screen. If there was anything Kubrick was a master at, it was the ability to adapt novels to films. Here, it is never more apparent. Though I have never read the book, and though I know the film is quite different than the novel, I found this to be an absolutely engrossing picture that completely grabs you in and takes you on this disturbing and provocative journey. Yet even despite all the editing and contracting Kubrick had to do in order for this to pass the censors, I believe it only enhances the experience of watching this man as he continues down a path that can only lead to certain unhappiness and moral obscurity.
For all the controversy and trouble that came with this picture, the actors certainly did their share. James Mason does something almost uncanny with this character of Humbert Humbert, a man so slimy and paranoid, there is no reason to like him; yet Mason is able to get us to almost sympathize for this man. Shelley Winters is magnificent here as the promiscuous widow who is set for tragedy. Peter Sellers is comical, as always, but Sue Lyons really surprised me with her ability to give a rather open performance of this girl who very much had psychological problems. Of course, with Kubrick behind the camera, the look and feel of the film is sly, subversive, and completely enhancing. No matter what your feelings on the subject or the novel, you owe it to yourself to see Stanley Kubrick's Lolita.