Lolita, from 1962, stars James Mason, Shelley Winters, Peter Sellers and Sue Lyon and was nominated for an Academy Award and 4 Golden Globes.
It was based on the controversial novel by Vladimir Nabokov, and due to the highly charged subject matter, several well-known stars turned down roles in the film.
Cary Grant & Laurence Olivier were both offered the lead and refused it. David Niven accepted the part but then changed his mind, afraid that the sponsors of his TV show would object.
Hayley Mills and Joey Heatherton both turned down the role of Lolita. Close to 800 girls auditioned for the part of Lolita. Newcomer Sue Lyon was chosen and she was picked in part because of the size of her breasts.
The censors had warned Kubrick that they didn’t want anything close to a suggestion of pedophilia and Kubrick felt they might object to a ‘less-developed’ younger-looking actress. So he picked Lyon, who was still a young girl but whose ’attributes’ made her appear older.
This was Lyon’s first film and her performance earned her a Golden Globe as the "Most Promising Female Newcomer". She also had a hit single titled Lolita Ya Ya, from the movie.
Miss Lyon was 14 when the movie was made and she went on to have a decent career, appearing in 25 films and TV shows. She had a turbulent personal life and was married and divorced 5 times.
She married one of her husbands while he was in prison for robbery and murder. It was a short marriage though - she divorced him soon after he was paroled when after he committed another robbery.
Director Stanly Kubrick only directed 16 films but is considered one of the greatest directors of all time. He was nominated for 6 Oscars and won one for 2001, A Space Odyssey.
He started out as a photographer in New York City, he taught himself film production and directing. He went on to direct, produce and write all or part of the screenplays for almost all of his films.
He was a perfectionist and was known for shooting multiple takes during filming, sometimes doing the same scene 50 times or more. His early films were made on a shoestring budget until he made his first Hollywood blockbuster, Spartacus.
While making Spartacus, there was a lot on behind-the-scenes intrigue and he grew disillusioned with Hollywood. He soon moved to England, where he spent most of the rest of his career living and working.
Many of his films broke new ground in cinematography, with innovative visual effects and scientific realism. He used lenses developed for the space program so he could film scenes under low light and he was one of the first directors to use a Steadicam for stabilized tracking shots.
Kubrick was also notoriously private and hated being photographed. In fact, in his later years, he was seen so rarely that a British man successfully impersonated him for years.
His last project was the film A.I.-Artificial Intelligence. But he died in 1999 before he could finish and his friend Steven Spielberg took over as director and completed the film.
Peter Sellers play Clair Quilty and Kubrick was one of the first to let Sellers improvise and adopt a variety of disguises throughout a film. Early in the movie, Sellers appears as Quilty, then he’s an inquisitive policeman, then the psychologist Doctor Zempf, then a photographer backstage at Lolita's play and later as an anonymous phone caller conducting a survey.
An interesting fact about Sellers: in April of 1964, he was the first male to appear on the cover of Playboy.
James Mason was a prolific British actor who appeared in over 150 films including North by Northwest, Heaven Can Wait, Lord Jim, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and others. His son Morgan is married to Belinda Carlisle, lead singer of the Go-Gos.
The music for the film was composed by Nelson Riddle, who composed, arraigned and produced music for dozens of films and TV shows.
Some of his works included TV shows Route 66, The Untouchables, Newhart, The Smothers Brothers, and films like Guys & Dolls, High Society, Paint Your Wagon and The Great Gatsby. He was nominated for 5 Oscars and won one for 1974 version of The Great Gatsby.
Lolita was made again in 1997 by Adrian Lyne, and was widely publicized as being more faithful to the novel than tonight’s film. But it wasn’t as well received as Kubrick's, and was a box office bomb.
And the famous heart-shaped sunglasses that Lolita wears on the posters appear only in the publicity photos; in the movie she wears different sunglasses.