Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0021512, Thu, 7 Apr 2011 21:29:12 EDT

Re: [NABOKOV-L][QUERY] Kubrick's Lolita - more portraits
I saw Kubrick's film many times in my misspent youth, and never noticed a
picture of Nabokov, although I noticed small details like the hotel's name
being changed to "The Hunted Enchanters". But that does not prove the
picture is not there.

Anthony Stadlen

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In a message dated 08/04/2011 02:21:46 GMT Daylight Time, jansy@AETERN.US

In "Selling (Out) Nabokov: A humorless new Lolita mistakes satire for
tragedy." (originally published in the October/November 1998 issue of Boston
Review), Alan A. Stone states that: "Kubrick had the sly wit to put a
conspicuous but unidentified picture of Nabokov on the wall in the scene of the
fatal confrontation between Quilty and Humbert. This is exactly the kind of
literary allusion that Nabokov worked into every page of his novel. And
like most of Nabokov's readership, James Mason as Humbert does not get it. In
a supremely Nabokovian touch, Kubrick's camera moves in on Humbert as he
quizzically eyes the photograph, obviously failing to recognize who it is. To
enjoy the humor of this moment, you must know Nabokov's face. But, then,
it is a stretch for most people to recognize any humor at all in a movie
about a middle-aged man having a sexual relationship with his 12-year-old

JM: I watched the DVD with the scene where there should be a "conspicuous
picture of Nabokov on the wall". Unless my copy has been edited and
Kubrick's original movie altered, there is no picture of Nabokov anywhere in this
sequence. Can anyone confirm A.A.Stone's information?

Checking other reviews I found a 1962 review ("Great Films") by Tim Dirks.
According to him, Nabokov's picture hangs on Charlotte's wall, above the
urn with her husband's ashes. He describes the events: "She points toward
her husband's picture [a serious portrait which looks like a photograph of a
young Nabokov, the novel's author] - and her prized materialistic
possession: "He was a lovely human being. A man of complete integrity....(Humbert
touches a black vase beneath the picture, not realizing that it is Mr. Haze's
cremation urn.)...Those are his ashes." Humbert recoils his hand away."
I photographed the scene and got a closer look at Mr. Haze. I could find
no similarity with the man in the portrait and young Nabokov from the other
photographs of Nabokov that I've seen.

A.A.Stone is so positive about his vision and adds to it such an important
place in his commentary that I'd be thankful if some Nab-L participant
could confirm or deny his assertion.

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