"West Side Story," "The World of Suzie Wong," "The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone" and "Gigot."
As Humbert, James Mason plays a role at the opposite end of the pole from his recent comedy role in "The Marriage Go-Round." Shelley Winters also has played an infinite variety of roles on stage and screen and won an Academy Award for her portrayal in "The Diary of Anne Frank."
The part of playwright Clare Quilty called for laughs as well as suspense. It was considered ideal for Peter Sellers, whose comedy hits include from the early 60s include "I'm All Right Jack" and "Only Two Can Play."
Casting the title role in Lolita presented special problems. Hundreds of applicants were interviewed. Among them was beautiful, red-haired Sue Lyon. When she was tested in a scene opposite James Mason, she was not only signed on the spot but was given a seven-year contract by Harris arid Kubrick.
When the producer and director discovered Miss Lyon, they determined to
keep her strictly away from the public. This worked very well when the picture was being filmed in England, where the studio was closed to all visitors. But when Lolita was finished, the second phase of the dilemma arose.
Sue went back to California with her mother, and the family moved to another part of greater Los Angeles. No one asked any questions until word got around the film capital with great speed that the film not only was great, but that its new young star was a sensation.
Reporters and columnists tried vain-1)7 to get to Miss Lyon. One enterprising New York journalist hired a detective agency, and a Hollywood columnist reported that others had done the same thing, but still Sue seemed safe from the probing eyes of fame.
Then, one clay, a columnist ingeniously picked up a lead which led him straight to the door of the home where the Lyons family was living. Fortunately, for the plans involved, Sue did not happen to be home. Subsequently they found another hiding place.
"Sue Lyon is going to be one of the biggest personalities in Hollywood," Kubrick declares, "and it is going to happen the moment the first critics see the film."
In portraying the title role in MGM Seven Arts' Lolita Sue Lyon has burst upon the entertainment scene in a flash which, if not totally unprecedented, is unique enough to guarantee this girl stardom of the highest order.
By the time Sue was chosen for the part, the film's producer, James B. Harris, and Director Stanley Kubrick had interviewed hundreds of applicants. But they were so far from feeling that anyone they had seen would match up to the role that they had more or less decided to postpone the scheduled start of shooting.
Sue herself had no great hopes of getting the part. "I was in a lighthearted mood," she recalled, "and rather downed my way through the interview. When it was over I thought, well, I've had a good laugh today but I won't get that role."
They had, in fact, liked her a lot more than she had imagined, but they still didn't know how well she could act. The interviews of applicants went on. Then, one night, Kubrick saw Sue on television, doing a bit part in the Loretta Young Show, and began to think that Lolita had been found at last.
Harris and Kubrick interviewed Sue again, had her read for them, and arranged a test for her in a scene from the film opposite James Mason, cast as Humbert. The scene they chose was one of the most dramatic and difficult, Lolita's quarrel with Humbert as to whether she can be in the school play. To see how well she could perform when under pressure, they gave her the impression that she was one of several girls being tested. She passed the test with flying colors.
Sue was born in Davenport, Iowa, on July 10, the youngest of five children. Her father, a heating and air-conditioning contractor, died when Sue was ten months old, and her mother, who is becoming known as Sue Lyon, Sr., took the family to Dallas, Texas, and three years later back to her home town of Los Angeles.
While Mrs. Lyon worked to support her brood of five, Sue went to Micheltorena Elementary School and then to Starr King Junior High School. When she was thirteen, her sister, Maria, suggested that Sue should take up acting and introduced her to artists' manager Glenn Shaw. Shaw's associate, Mrs. Pat Holmes, took Sue under her wing and arranged for her to take acting lessons.
Within a month, Sue was asked to play a small part for a television show and subsequently did several other small bits for various shows, including a number of appearances on the Loretta Young Show.
Then, in 1960, Mrs. Holmes took her to see the Lolita casting director, who sent her on to be interviewed by Harris and Kubrick. And so her first big break turned out to be one of the most sought-after juvenile parts in movie history.
The role gave Sue her first opportunity to travel outside the United States, and the winter in England, where Lolita was filmed, as well as trips to Paris are highlights of her life, even though she had to attend school while not before the cameras.
While in England, Sue took equestrian lessons and became an avid horsewoman. She also loves swimming, dancing, pop music and movies.
Sue says she loves the demands of film acting, which is fortunate indeed, because Harris and Kubrick are so convinced of her stellar potential they have signed her to a seven-year contract.
Lolita is a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presentation in association with Seven Arts Productions.