This letter seems funny until you read Canon Collins’ Wikipedia entry. Not a good look, Stanley. Then again, there was no Wikipedia when Kubrick dictated this letter, and he seemed pretty focused on his own work (like having every doorway in London photographed). I did enjoy the acerbic use of quotes around ‘Sunday Pictorial.’
March 23, 1961
Canon, John Collins
Chairman, Christian Action
2 Amen Court
Dear Canon Collins,
Regarding your letters of the 1st and 15th of March, I appreciate your concern about the making of ‘LOLITA’ into a film, because of the sensational publicity which has been attached to the novel. Knowing the sincerity of your intentions, I can only register a certain degree of surprise at your willingness to pre-judge a motion picture (which, by the way, has already been filmed) before you see it. The air of sensationalism which has surrounded ‘LOLITA’ from the beginning has been completely beyond our control, and we have done everything possible to avoid it and to detach ourselves from its implications. Wouldn’t you say that it gives some cause for thought on your part, when you consider the calibre and reputations of the people involved in the picture, notably James Mason, Peter Sellers and Shelly Winters. I hesitate to add (but your letter enforces me to), that a quick look at the films I have made in the past, might also imply a certain dedication to film making, rather than to the exploitation of ‘unwholesome’ subjects. I must say, that I do not think that you will find the motion picture in any way deleterious to the morals of any segment of society.
By the way, the photographs you referred to in the ‘Sunday Pictorial’ were stolen from the laboratory and mis-captioned, and, as a result, gave a completely distorted impression.
Very truly yours,