June 1998


Maybe it's because it has languished for almost two years without landing a U.S. distribution deal. Or maybe it's because of its explosive subject matter (a middle‑aged man's sexual obsession with a l2‑year‑old girl). But Adrian Lyne's film version of Lolita, starring Jeremy Irons and Dominique Swain (above), has managed to raise almost as much of a ruckus as Vladimir Nabokov's novel did when it was first published in 1955. The film's handlers complain bitterly of timid studio executives and prudish American audiences, while industry insiders counter that Lolita is unlikely to earn back its hefty asking price ($25 million for U.S. rights). Meanwhile, critics ‑ those who have seen the film during its run in Europe ‑ haven't helped much by offering up decidedly mixed reviews. And now, the latest debate in Hollywood: Will Lolita's young star, who was 14 when the movie was made, be above the age of consent when it is finally released here?