NABOKV-L post 0004498, Mon, 18 Oct 1999 12:06:01 -0700

"American Banality" (fwd)
From: "Welch, Rodney" <RWelch@SCES.ORG>

I have to say, I am as startled by the suggestion that this film has any
association whatsoever with Nabokov as I am by its blurbs. To me, the
connection, if it exists, is slight, and only goes to show (once again) that
Nabokov's influence falls on both the worthless and the worthy.

"American Beauty" is trash. The characters are shallow, the plot is
contrived and wobbly, the dialogue is horribly stiff and "written," and the
morality is perfectly safe, conventional, and unbelieveable. It's a film
hyped up on its own precious self; Lester's rose-petal wet-dreams -- besides
serving as something of a warning about the danger of looking at
Pre-Raphaelite prints before bedtime -- sum up the film's artsy banality.

If this were a book, I can imagine Prof. Nabokov standing before his class
at Cornell uttering one page after the next of sheer purplish rubbish,
occasionally interjecting "I can't stop quoting!"

Rodney Welch
Columbia, SC

-----Original Message-----
From: Donald Barton Johnson []
Sent: Monday, October 18, 1999 11:15 AM
Subject: Re: VN Filmography: "American Beauty" (fwd)

From: Dana Dragunoiu <>
Dear Galya and List Members:

A more covert reference to VN and his work in *American
Beauty* was (perhaps) being made during the sequence
when Ricky is showing Jane his favourite cinematic moment:
the bag being "played with" by the wind, which Ricky
identifies as a benevolent force behind all visible existence.
My guess would be that the screenplay writer makes a direct
reference to *Lolita* (via "Angela Hayes") in order to signal
a wider, more subtle and generous relationship with VN and
his outlook. VN has often shown us the "beauty" that is often
hidden or travestied by vulgarians, money-grubbers, and the like,
which is precisely the governing idea in *American Beauty*.

Dana Dragunoiu