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Stanley Kubrick's Lolita - extended VHS version. Anyone else seen it?

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Stanley Kubrick's Lolita - extended VHS version. Anyone else seen it?

Old 04-07-06, 12:41 PM
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Stanley Kubrick's Lolita - extended VHS version. Anyone else seen it?

I was thinking about posting this on imdb.com, but I trust the informed lot on this page could better shed light on this. Before I owned Kubrick’s Lolita on DVD, I had rented it on VHS. I had an English class where I was doing a presentation on Vladimir Nabokov, who wrote the book and co-wrote the screenplay of the movie. I rented the movie again on VHS to show the famous hotel room scene to the class, highlighting the dialogue between Humbert and Lo. I cued up the tape and played it in class. I was surprised to notice the scene went on much longer than how I remembered it and had more dialogue in it (no, no skin or any such thing—just more talk). I knew it wasn’t my imagination because another student in the class asked me where I got the video because he never saw the scene extended like that. I was clueless and thought that it was because it was a newer version of the video (it was the reissued 2001 release with the white cover). When I finally bought it on DVD it was the same old version, I remembered before coming across this mysterious extended version, which I had long returned to the video store (unfortunately a Hollywood Video that has since liquidated its stock). I tried hunting down another VHS of this version and bought three different copies and came across the old familiar cut. This was a real fluke occurrence and not my imagination. I did a very lucid, sober presentation and I had a witness that noticed the same thing I did. We were focused on the dialogue in the scene, so it came as a clear surprise to us. Can anyone here shed light on the existence of two different cuts of this movie on VHS? As far as I know it does not exist on DVD (I’m sure someone here would have commented on this by now if it did).
Old 04-07-06, 12:58 PM
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very interesting. I have no comment on the veracity of your claim. But I do have a VHS of Lolita which was the only way I've viewed the film (aside from seeing it in the theater once as part of a Kubrick retrospective, and I certainly made no note of any extended/cut sequence).

Specifically, which hotel scene between Humbert and Lolita are you referencing? (weren't there a few scenes in hotel rooms?)
Old 04-07-06, 04:42 PM
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Was it this scene?
taken..from imdb.com
The scene where Lolita first "seduces" Humbert as he lies in the cot is a good 10 seconds longer in the British cut of the film. In the U.S. cut, the shot fades as she whispers the details of the "game" she played with Charlie at camp. In the U.K. print, the shot continues as Humbert mumbles that he's not familiar with the game. She then bends down again to whisper more details. Kubrick then cuts to a closer shot of Lolita's head as she says "Well, allrighty then" and then fades as she begins to descend to Humbert on the cot. The British cut of the film was used for the Region 1 DVD release

This version was what I saw on TCM and they mentioned the sequence being 'too hot' for the censors in the U.S. at the time. I have'nt seen the dvd though,so I don't know if it's included or not.
Old 04-07-06, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Julie Walker
Was it this scene?
taken..from imdb.com
The scene where Lolita first "seduces" Humbert as he lies in the cot is a good 10 seconds longer in the British cut of the film. In the U.S. cut, the shot fades as she whispers the details of the "game" she played with Charlie at camp. In the U.K. print, the shot continues as Humbert mumbles that he's not familiar with the game. She then bends down again to whisper more details. Kubrick then cuts to a closer shot of Lolita's head as she says "Well, allrighty then" and then fades as she begins to descend to Humbert on the cot. The British cut of the film was used for the Region 1 DVD release

This version was what I saw on TCM and they mentioned the sequence being 'too hot' for the censors in the U.S. at the time. I have'nt seen the dvd though,so I don't know if it's included or not.
Hi, Julie. That is the scene I'm talking about, but it is on the DVD like that and on the other videos I saw, just like that, except of course this rental VHS that I used in class-- there was much more dialogue that extended the scene. It was not just at the end of it. It's like they continue talking to get to the point of the fade out. There's more build up, you know what I mean?
Old 09-30-19, 06:02 AM
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re: Stanley Kubrick's Lolita - extended VHS version. Anyone else seen it?

Bump. I'm still curious about this. I'd like to know before VHS players get even harder to get.
Old 09-30-19, 10:32 AM
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's Lolita - extended VHS version. Anyone else seen it?

Hmmmm. Interesting stuff. It seems that the "British Cut" is the one we all have seen on DVD or Blu-ray. But slowcloud, you're saying there's a version with a much longer conversation there. I know it's been nearly 20 years, but would you say it came to less than a minute longer, or maybe more? Just wondering if there's a way to search eBay or elsewhere to specifically look for a copy with a longer runtime.
Old 09-30-19, 10:50 AM
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's Lolita - extended VHS version. Anyone else seen it?

Originally Posted by Dan View Post
Hmmmm. Interesting stuff. It seems that the "British Cut" is the one we all have seen on DVD or Blu-ray. But slowcloud, you're saying there's a version with a much longer conversation there. I know it's been nearly 20 years, but would you say it came to less than a minute longer, or maybe more? Just wondering if there's a way to search eBay or elsewhere to specifically look for a copy with a longer runtime.
Thanks for responding to help consider it through. It is possible the conversation was only a few seconds longer, but it was distinctive enough to be noticed by another student in class, assuring me I did not hallucinate it. I even had a chance to ask Leon Vitali about this, and he didn't know anything about it. Anyone who knows him knows he is super into quality control about what cuts go out there on video or in theaters.
Old 09-30-19, 11:12 AM
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's Lolita - extended VHS version. Anyone else seen it?

It's really fascinating!

One thing I thought of - and this is a huge longshot - is that, at that time, Canadian and US releases of films on VHS and DVD may not have been made from the same prints. Also, although your mysterious copy was a rental, I wonder if it was specifically a rental-only tape, which was still kind of a thing at that time. There's a chance (slim as it may be) that if the tape was either Canadian OR rental-only, that it maybe wasn't struck from the same print/master as the US retail release. I don't think this kind of thing was well-documented at that time, either, so it's pure speculation on my part.

What you're talking about reminds me of the recent 2001 4K where the first one that went out didn't have the same fade as the proper "official" cut in one spot. That version was recalled/scrapped and replaced with the correct version (other than the lucky few who have the alternate one). It's different in the sense that it's not extended as much as it is missing a fade out that was meant to be there. Maybe this mysterious Lolita cut is the same sort of thing; except in this case maybe it's a few seconds longer because of how it was cut differently.

So if you can find a rental-only OR a Canadian tape, that might (as unlikely as it is) lead to what you're after.
Old 09-30-19, 11:45 AM
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's Lolita - extended VHS version. Anyone else seen it?

Wow, kudos to the OP who resurrected his own 13 year old thread. Usually it's some random bot who has 2 posts max.
Old 09-30-19, 04:08 PM
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's Lolita - extended VHS version. Anyone else seen it?

Originally Posted by Dan View Post
It's really fascinating!

One thing I thought of - and this is a huge longshot - is that, at that time, Canadian and US releases of films on VHS and DVD may not have been made from the same prints. Also, although your mysterious copy was a rental, I wonder if it was specifically a rental-only tape, which was still kind of a thing at that time. There's a chance (slim as it may be) that if the tape was either Canadian OR rental-only, that it maybe wasn't struck from the same print/master as the US retail release. I don't think this kind of thing was well-documented at that time, either, so it's pure speculation on my part.

What you're talking about reminds me of the recent 2001 4K where the first one that went out didn't have the same fade as the proper "official" cut in one spot. That version was recalled/scrapped and replaced with the correct version (other than the lucky few who have the alternate one). It's different in the sense that it's not extended as much as it is missing a fade out that was meant to be there. Maybe this mysterious Lolita cut is the same sort of thing; except in this case maybe it's a few seconds longer because of how it was cut differently.

So if you can find a rental-only OR a Canadian tape, that might (as unlikely as it is) lead to what you're after.
I appreciate your thoughtful consideration on this. I do recall trying at least one other rental and not finding the same cut on it. lol. I also recall the packaging being very similar to the commercial version. By this time the rental only copies weren't as distinctive, but they could have had an early version that wasn't recalled should that have been the case. All I did was cue it up to the scene for the class presentation and never watched the tape fully, so who knows what differences there may have been.

lol, E Unit. I was finally re-prioritizing my subscriptions on here, and felt this one worth looking into again. But no VHS has become even more scarce, but maybe because of that this might generate some more concentrated interest.
Old 10-01-19, 08:12 AM
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's Lolita - extended VHS version. Anyone else seen it?

So this scene?

I don't see how that scene could be extended further, since it's just one long shot until the very end.

I think it was very likely that the VHS was of the British cut and only the 10 seconds or so longer. It's still a significant enough change to be noticeable, and sometimes when first watching something new, it seems longer than it actually is. Now that the British cut has come to be the primary version on home video, you're looking for a difference that just isn't there anymore.
Old 10-01-19, 02:18 PM
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's Lolita - extended VHS version. Anyone else seen it?

Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
I don't see how that scene could be extended further, since it's just one long shot until the very end.

I think it was very likely that the VHS was of the British cut and only the 10 seconds or so longer. It's still a significant enough change to be noticeable, and sometimes when first watching something new, it seems longer than it actually is. Now that the British cut has come to be the primary version on home video, you're looking for a difference that just isn't there anymore.
It was extended at the end. I remember wanting to stop it at some point, around the "allrighty, then." There was something more explicit said between them.


Old 10-01-19, 03:06 PM
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's Lolita - extended VHS version. Anyone else seen it?

Originally Posted by slowcloud View Post
It was extended at the end. I remember wanting to stop it at some point, around the "allrighty, then." There was something more explicit said between them.
I don't think that's likely, as it would undercut the point of the whispering, which was likely a dodge around censors.

Note that you can hear the first few words of the second whisper ("you have to play..."), and that second whisper wasn't in the US cut. It's possible just that little bit, and especially that shot of Lolita sliding down towards Humbert at the end, was notably more provocative to you the first time you saw the change, but on the second viewing it seemed more tame, and you had already built up what had actually happened in your mind to something more than it was.
Old 10-01-19, 03:57 PM
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's Lolita - extended VHS version. Anyone else seen it?

Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
I don't think that's likely, as it would undercut the point of the whispering, which was likely a dodge around censors.

Note that you can hear the first few words of the second whisper ("you have to play..."), and that second whisper wasn't in the US cut. It's possible just that little bit, and especially that shot of Lolita sliding down towards Humbert at the end, was notably more provocative to you the first time you saw the change, but on the second viewing it seemed more tame, and you had already built up what had actually happened in your mind to something more than it was.
Well, that's what struck me about it that the dialogue was more explicit. And recall I remember it as the scene you shared. The scene I saw was striking in that it was more overt about the sexuality. Like I said, someone else noticed in the class. So maybe someone else may have noticed it here.
Old 10-01-19, 06:40 PM
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's Lolita - extended VHS version. Anyone else seen it?

Originally Posted by slowcloud View Post
Well, that's what struck me about it that the dialogue was more explicit. And recall I remember it as the scene you shared. The scene I saw was striking in that it was more overt about the sexuality. Like I said, someone else noticed in the class. So maybe someone else may have noticed it here.
Do you know who the other person in class was? Can you get in touch with them? Because I think you're likely misremembering the whole thing, including what the other person noticed.

There's two known versions of the scene in question, and one of them is more overt about the sexuality, although very tame by modern standards. If you first saw the US cut, then saw the UK cut in the class, the UK scene might've stuck out to you and your classmate. However, when you later rewatched the movie, again with the UK scene, it didn't seem as shockingly overt as you remember it being, because at this point your brain had overwritten the original US cut of the scene with the UK scene. But instead of thinking, "oh, it wasn't as overt as I thought it was," you're thinking there must be a completely unknown third cut of this scene out there. It's not entirely out of the realm of possibility, but it seems unlikely, especially after this long, and Occam's Razor dictates that the simplest answer is the most likely, and it's simpler to assume you're mistaken than there's third cut of the scene floating around that nobody else has ever noticed.

Believe me, it's hard to admit you're mistaken. I've had this occur myself with another film where I specifically remember a scene when I saw it in theaters that doesn't appear in any version of the film on home video. The most likely explanation is I'm misremembering, but the memory feels so real to me. It's the Mandela Effect, but on a personal level.
Old 10-01-19, 06:59 PM
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's Lolita - extended VHS version. Anyone else seen it?

Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
Do you know who the other person in class was? Can you get in touch with them? Because I think you're likely misremembering the whole thing, including what the other person noticed.

There's two known versions of the scene in question, and one of them is more overt about the sexuality, although very tame by modern standards. If you first saw the US cut, then saw the UK cut in the class, the UK scene might've stuck out to you and your classmate. However, when you later rewatched the movie, again with the UK scene, it didn't seem as shockingly overt as you remember it being, because at this point your brain had overwritten the original US cut of the scene with the UK scene. But instead of thinking, "oh, it wasn't as overt as I thought it was," you're thinking there must be a completely unknown third cut of this scene out there. It's not entirely out of the realm of possibility, but it seems unlikely, especially after this long, and Occam's Razor dictates that the simplest answer is the most likely, and it's simpler to assume you're mistaken than there's third cut of the scene floating around that nobody else has ever noticed.

Believe me, it's hard to admit you're mistaken. I've had this occur myself with another film where I specifically remember a scene when I saw it in theaters that doesn't appear in any version of the film on home video. The most likely explanation is I'm misremembering, but the memory feels so real to me. It's the Mandela Effect, but on a personal level.
Is the scene you shared the UK scene or the US scene?
Old 10-01-19, 09:14 PM
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's Lolita - extended VHS version. Anyone else seen it?

Originally Posted by slowcloud View Post
Is the scene you shared the UK scene or the US scene?
Based on the description Julie Walker quoted 13 years ago above, that Youtube clip is the UK scene. The US scene would've faded out at about the 2:22 mark, which means the UK scene is about 30 seconds longer.

Wikipedia corroborates Julie's quote, although I think both have the length of the extension wrong (only 10 seconds).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lolita...rnate_versions
Old 10-01-19, 10:29 PM
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's Lolita - extended VHS version. Anyone else seen it?

Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
Based on the description Julie Walker quoted 13 years ago above, that Youtube clip is the UK scene. The US scene would've faded out at about the 2:22 mark, which means the UK scene is about 30 seconds longer.

Wikipedia corroborates Julie's quote, although I think both have the length of the extension wrong (only 10 seconds).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lolita...rnate_versions
That might have been it, then! Thanks. It just made me wonder if the rest of the tape had other extended bits like that.
Old 10-02-19, 01:09 PM
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's Lolita - extended VHS version. Anyone else seen it?

Originally Posted by slowcloud View Post
That might have been it, then! Thanks. It just made me wonder if the rest of the tape had other extended bits like that.
From the research I was doing, that was the only change made to the US cut of the movie. The film passed through UK censors without any cuts, but the UK, which implemented a rating system well before the US, rated it "X", which according to their rating system meant "16 and over only".
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histor...0%E2%80%931970

The US didn't have ratings yet, but was instead under the Hays Code, which meant every movie released had to be appropriate for a general audience. So since the US censors objected to the scene, it had to be cut, otherwise it wouldn't be released in the US at all. As it was, the US release was delayed due to issues with the censors.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lolita...lm)#Censorship
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motion...roduction_Code
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motion...system#History


This isn't the only Kubrick film to have alternate cuts. Spartacus has had different cuts over the years, including at least one scene that was cut due to censors (the snail eating scene). The Shining US cut is longer than the International Cut because Kubrick re-edited the movie after the US release. Kubrick actually re-edited the US cut mid-release, quickly excising a scene from the end of the film about a week into The Shining's general release. Projectionists just cut the scene out of their reels and sent it back.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sh...(film)#Release
https://lostmediaarchive.fandom.com/..._Ending_Scene)

The original US cut of A Clockwork Orange had a 30 second cut in order to earn an R rating. The original version has since been restored and rated R, and so is the version on current home video releases:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Cloc...nd_controversy

Kubrick cut 19 minutes from 2001 after its premiere before it started its "roadshow" distribution.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001:_...(film)#Release

For Eyes Wide Shut, after Kubrick's death, WB didn't cut anything, but did digitally add in figures to block some of the more explicit stuff in an orgy scene in order to get an R rating. Other countries got the uncut/unaltered version, and the US eventually got it too as the "unrated" version on home video
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eyes_W...classification

Kubrick is one of those directors that some people obsess over, so things like alternate cuts are pretty well known and documented.

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