Lolita Essay

1942 words - 8 pages

LOLITA How did they ever make a movie out of Lolita? The tagline for Stanley Kubrick's 1962 film version of Lolita said it all. Films and books "inspire, but may provoke. They thrill but sometimes offend. And often the same artwork attracts both acclaim and condemnation.? In modern times, censorship refers to the examination of media including books, periodicals, plays, motion pictures, and television and radio programs for the purpose of altering or suppressing parts thought to be offensive. The offensive material ?may be considered immoral or obscene, heretical or blasphemous, seditious or treasonable, or injurious to the national security." But should one medium be more censored than another? Films are visual creations, whereas novels incorporate the imagination. In the 1930's, film industry executives formed a strict set of guidelines, the Production Code that governed movie content for twenty years. It stated that ?nudity and suggestive dances were prohibited. Criminal activity could not be presented in a way that led viewers to sympathize with criminals. Murder scenes had to avoid inspiring imitation, and brutal killings could not be shown in detail. The sanctity of the marriage and the home had to be upheld. Adultery and illicit sex, although recognized as sometimes necessary to the plot, could not be explicit or justified and were not supposed to be presented as an attractive option." So how did Kubrick film a movie based on a story with all of the above? Movies are rated and restricted to certain viewers whereas books are not. The American Library Association's guidelines state that "materials should not be excluded because of their origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation...libraries should challenge censorship." This compared to the $25,000 fines in the 1930's for theatres that ran films without a PCA seal of approval. This means, libraries are able to carry any book they like, whereas theatres are restricted to which movies are allowed to be shown. The film versions of Lolita were censored more strictly than the book due to ratings that restricted viewers, they were edited, and because of the greater awareness of child abuse in the 1990?s.The 50?s was a time when "the raciest sex manual available to the panting adolescent was 'Love Without Fear'...and even Norman Mailer, in the 'Naked and the Dead' had to write 'fug' instead of you-know-what." (Jong) Vladimir Nabakov had just finished writing Lolita in the spring of 1954 and immediately began looking for a publisher. It was first issued in 1955 in Paris after several American rejections. Maurice Girodias of Olympia Press, "condemned by some as a porn king, praised by others as the 'Lenin of the sexual revolution,' took on the book when others were too afraid of censorship to try." (Jong) Lolita was later banned by the French government for two years and retained by U.S. customs, but when it was brought to America three years later it became a "publishing...

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