Lolita Green Screen Location Shots 271-285 – Guess What, When They're on Their Way to the Enchanted Hunters Hotel They're in South Dakota
Go to Table of Contents of the analysis (which has also a statement on purpose and manner of analysis and a disclaimer as to caveat emptor and my knowing anything authoritatively, which I do not, but I do try to not know earnestly, with some discretion, and considerable thought).
Above is a screengrab from shot 284.
Above is a screengrab from shot 281.
I've already identified location shots for Humbert traveling from "Ramsdale" New Hampshire to wherever it is that Camp Climax is, the old toll gate leading to the Interstate Bridge between Kittery, Maine and Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and the ferry having been the Jamestown Ferry Landing at Newport, Rhode Island. Now, Humbert and Lolita are traveling from Camp Climax to the Enchanted Hunters Hotel, and it would be reasonable to suppose they're still in the northeast.
The green screen for the trip to the Enchanted Hunters Hotel is instead all definitely South Dakota with the exception of shot 286 which I can't identify.
"How do you figure that, Juli?"
Well, I first recognized that the landscape didn't look very northeast to me–not that I'm familiar with the northeast because I'm not really, I've only been through parts of it once, but I have been around out west and to South Dakota. Then I found in shot 284 the sign for the Covered Wagon Resort. I looked it up and seems that the Covered Wagon Resort was (and is) in the Black Hills of South Dakota on Sturgis Road. I could find no mention of a Covered Wagon Resort in the northeast in the 50s or 60s or at all. The Covered Wagon Resort is now even on the National Park's Service Register of Historic Places.
I figured people wouldn't be satisfied with that (just as I wasn't, I wanted confirmation) so I sought to identify the landscape. The background mountains had a long break in them which I figured would be easy to locate and I did. That's what you see in Googlemaps and it is fairly near the Covered Wagon Resort, northwest of it. Compare my Googlemaps grab with the screengrab from shot 281 and I think you'll be satisfied we are indeed in South Dakota.
There are other features like houses and such that it seems we'd be able to locate, but that's not going to happen. The deep countryside is like very big cities in some respects. The more time has passed by, the more likely an area has changed to such a degree it's barely recognizable. Old towns have been gutted, their streets lined with modern facilities. The countryside isn't dotted with old farmhouses. At home and at work, people are cradled in traditional sheet rock. Unless there was intense historical interest, the old structures weren't worth saving.
But I was able to identify this old building on Main Street, Piedmont SD which is just off Sturgis Road (between the Covered Wagon resort and the identifying break in the mountains). It's fairly visible in the movie behind Lolita's head on screen left and looks close to Sturgis, but things have so changed that it's no longer visible from Sturgis Road.
The address for the Covered Wagon Resort is HC 80 Box 424, Piedmont, SD. Kubrick has been working with 242 and 24 and it may be here again with 424. Or it may be coincidence, but it's actually something Kubrick would do, though it would seem to be only for an audience of one, namely himself. But sometimes discreet information on locations does seem to offer deep subtext.
Nabokov had the Haze household as 342 and many synchronicities occurring in Lolita involved this 342, such as the room they stayed at in the Enchanted Hunters Hotel. Kubrick changed the Haze household number to 242 and the room that they stayed in at the Enchanted Hunters Hotel was also changed to this. He has the ambulance which picked up Charlotte's dead body having the license 42Q which brings in the spectre of Quilty in combination with this (he being called Q, and Camp Climax in the book was also called Camp Q).
Why the Black Hills? Was it simply to make it unlikely for the audience to pinpoint locations rolling by outside the windows, Humbert and Lolita traveling a fictional nowhere land not to be brought to earth by recognizable features? Placing them in an area far beyond the northeast would certainly do this, but there may have been other factors at play.
My reasoning is that the Enchanted Hunters Hotel has been presented as being possibly in the White Mountains of New Hampshire due happenings in Nabokov's novel. Because of the White Mountains, New Hampshire used to be known as the "Switzerland of America" and it's when Humbert and Lolita are at the Enchanted Hunters Hotel that Nabokov has Humbert beginning to operate under the delusion/suspicion that his Swiss Uncle, Gustave, who may have had similar tastes to Humbert, has begun following them. He thinks he's seen him at the hotel. Kubrick plays with opposites, with dividing lines, negatives and positives, and I was wondering if the Black Hills related to the White Mountains in this way because the Black Hills have also been called the "Switzerland of America". Sorry, that's the best I can do for now.
The green screens after their stay at the Enchanted Hunters Hotel are not in South Dakota and perhaps indeed are in in the northeast. The motel they stay in the night after they leave the Enchanted Hunters Hotel is identifiable and certainly in the northeast.
But Kubrick later returns us to the Dakotas. And he sticks with the 24/42 theme as he will have Humbert and Lolita on highway 240. Which I will deal with in another post this week.
Below, if you go into screen view, facing north, on the green marker that reads 44, you'll see on the left the landscape feature I've imaged above. If you continue south in about a mile you'll come to the Covered Wagon Resort.