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BITCH: HUMBERT HUMBERT

Lolita is ringing bells with the dingalings - but is this a case of selective morality?

Have you seen Lolita? Did you see it in 1962? Do you think you have to see it to make up your mind? No, of course not. Having an opinion doesn't necessarily mean you have to experience the experience in question – or where would your average pundit be?

For instance, I have not been to the Himalayas, but this does not mean that I cannot offer a perfectly serviceable opinion on the good sense, or not, of climbing K2 or B1 or B2 or whatever. Climbing very big mountains is crazy. Most people shouldn't do it. And those who do shouldn't expect the rest of us to go into tragic mode when they fall off and turn into popsicles on the way down. It's not tragic, it's life. Or not.

So, the point is, I have not seen Lolita but I know that Hollywood makes movies EVERY DAY about men - old enough to put their peckers in mothballs and grow up - romancing women young enough to be their daughters - grand-daughters, even. And dingalings like John Howard and the rest of his charisma-free, sexually repellent mates, who are currently doing apoplexy over Lolita, wouldn't even blink at 60-something Sean Connery canoodling with 20-something (name your rising starlet).

Did they blanch at Robert Redford doing the hokey-cokey with Michelle Pfeiffer? Nuh, course not. And, if you're wondering, try ratchetting back the years until Michelle is 15 and Bob is (um, hang on, got to get the socks off...) 40, and you get - omigod, Lolita!!

The fact is, a lot of 15-year-old girls discover, perfectly happily, that 35-year-old men kiss a lot better and do a lot of other things a lot better than their so-called peers. This is definitely called life and a lot of it goes on. What is also life, but we never get to see it, is the switch: Sharon Stone said to me, just the other day, that she wouldn't mind being cast as Brad Pitt's love interest.

This is a sexy idea: she's 40, he's 20-something. Ooh-ooh, hubba hubba etc. But can you see it happening? No, because the gropey, droopy Humberts who run Hollywood - and whose opinion is shared by our very own gropey, droopy Humberts who're fulminating over Lolita as we speak - wouldn't dream of the scenario in their worst nightmares.

Jeez, but these blokes are boring, think I'll go write me a preamble.

Editor’s note: Anyone remember Mrs Robinson in The Graduate (1967)? She was doing a bit of switching herself, with her own daughter’s teenage boyfriend. Hate to think what’d happen if they tried to release a movie like that these days in Australia.

April, 1999

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THE BITCH is an occasional series intended to stir the possum:

The Bitch: (colloq.)
A piece of writing, often amusing, possibly satire, that contains a gripe, a criticism, a critique, a heresy, a poking of fun, an insult, a whinge, a disagreement with popular opinion, a dislike….a bitch: written by person/s unknown (except to the editor).

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