NABOKV-L post 0017127, Wed, 1 Oct 2008 00:19:49 -0700

Subject
Re: Never-Before-Seen footage -- Dominique Swain - Screen Test
for 'Lolita' ...
Date
Body
I vociferously disagree that Swain was more Lolitish than Sue Lyons. While she had close to the right look, her tone of voice was much too modern; also I don't think she showed any of the shrewdness of the character that Lyons did. True, she was a good deal less energetic than the tomboyish creature of Nabokov's novel, but Lyon's ironic "Cha-cha-cha." when she catches Humbert being made love to by Shelly Winters, or Lolita's rolled eyed "Zeig Heil" on the stairs, or the way she says "You must be crazy" at The Enchanted Hunters seems far closer to Nabokov's far out satiric cultured tone than the dreadful treacly "erotic" seriousness of Lynne's god awful film. That terrible horrible scene where Swain runs back up the stairs before going off to summer camp and jumps slow-motion style into Humbert's arms, his hands cradling her slowly joggling buttocks, is so crudely wrong I was never able to watch the film a second time. Even details that come
straight from the book don't work, such as Lolita picking the dress out of her crotch when they arrive at The Enchanted Hunters or the moment where Humbert, leaving the house after seeing lolita for the last time, imagines the girl she used to be and, in the movie, sees a cheesy little girl version of her twirling around a porch post. In fact I would say Lyons version of the last scene between Humbert and Lolita is a thousand times better than the limp unaffecting Swain turn, even though Lyons with her corny plain-girl glasses doesn't exactly look ruined. In fact there was only one idea in the second version of the movie I thought truly in the spirit of Nabokov's novel. On the morning of the Enchanted Hunters, Lolita decides to show Humbert the special games she learned at Summer camp and, before starting, removes her retainer! I loved that. Which makes it sad sad Swain flubbed Lo's best lines in the scene the night before: "The word for it is
incest." Lyons, however, totally nailed the line, "Because my dahling, when my dahling mother finds out she'll divorce you and strangle me." Swain lacks all of Lolita's snazz; plus I never got over that first scene of her reading a book directly under a sprinkler! done just so her dress can become moistly molded to her body! That's as bad as having Lolita pose naked in a naked light. I hate, hate, hate that version of Lolita!

--- On Tue, 9/30/08, James Twiggs <jtwigzz@YAHOO.COM> wrote:

From: James Twiggs <jtwigzz@YAHOO.COM>
Subject: Re: [NABOKV-L] Never-Before-Seen footage -- Dominique Swain - Screen Test for 'Lolita' ...
To: NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU
Date: Tuesday, September 30, 2008, 4:50 PM






----- Original Message ----
From: Sandy P. Klein <spklein52@HOTMAIL.COM>
To: NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU
Sent: Tuesday, September 30, 2008 6:56:35 AM
Subject: [NABOKV-L] Never-Before-Seen footage -- Dominique Swain - Screen Test for 'Lolita' ...

 Screen test & script reading with Dominique Swain and Jeremy Irons:
 
  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwVgjxV3lSo&feature=related   
 
=====
From Jim Twiggs:


Despite the billing, this is not Never-Before-Seen footage. It's been available on the dvd from the beginning, along with some scenes that were cut from the movie. What's new on YouTube, and very much worth following for a while, is the argument that unfolds in the comments section. My own opinion is that although Swain was already too old for the part, she's much better in the screen test--much more Lolita-ish--than in the movie itself. And, for that matter, far more Lolita-ish than Sue Lyon as well. 


In this connection, I once again recommend Justine Brown's 1998 Salon piece on Lolita. A fast little article it is, and one of the best things ever written about the novel. It's referred to, and parts of it quoted, on page 220 of Graham Vickers' new book, Chasing Lolita, which also contains some interesting passages about Lyon. Here's the link to Brown's entire essay: 


SALON 
LUSTING AFTER "LOLITA"

ONLY A NYMPHET MYSELF WHEN I FIRST MET NABOKOV'S LOVE CHILD, MY PASSION FOR "LOLITA" IS STILL GOING STRONG TODAY.
BY JUSTINE BROWN

http://archive.salon.com/mwt/feature/1998/07/31feature.html











 
 




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