Lolita Green Screen Location Shots 271-285 – Guess What, When They're on Their Way to the Enchanted Hunters Hotel in the White Mountains, They're in the Black Hills of 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.
The Haze household is in Ramsdale, New Hampshire. When Humbert picks up Lolita from Camp Climax to take her to the Enchanted Hunters Hotel, we gather from the book that this is in the White Mountains. With the exception of those in England, identified location shots early in the film stick to the northeast. Ramsdale is represented by Dover, New Hampshire, and Westerly, Rhode Island. When Humbert starts out on his drive to Camp Climax, the old toll gate we see leads to the Interstate Bridge between Kittery, Maine and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The ferry was one at Jamestown Ferry Landing at Newport, Rhode Island.
After Humbert picks up Lolita at Camp Climax we have a dramatic shift the green screens we see as they travel together to the Enchanted Hunters Hotel.
After Humbert picks up Lolita at Camp Climax, with their drive to the Enchanted Hunters Hotel it would be reasonable to assume they are still in the northeast, would it not? Instead, the green screen for the trip to the Enchanted Hunters Hotel is 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. I have been to South Dakota, and it was looking more South Dakota to me, so I trying to find any features that could help lead to an ID as to where these green screen shots were. The first one I could use was in shot 284, the sign for the Covered Wagon Resort. I looked it up and 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 knew 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 hoped would be easy to locate and I did. Compare my Googlemaps grab above with the screengrab from shot 281 and I think you'll be satisfied we are indeed in South Dakota. This is fairly near the Covered Wagon Resort, northwest of it.
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, 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 any longer. At home and at work, people are cradled in traditional sheet rock.
Still, I hoped for at least one more confirming item, and finally, I was able to identify an old building in Piedmont SD, a small town (the population is currently 222) that is just off Sturgis Road, between the Covered Wagon resort and the identifying break in the mountains. The building, briefly glimpsed, is fairly visible in the movie behind Lolita's head on screen left of it. In the movie it's observable from Sturgis Road, but things have enough changed so this is no longer the case.
This building is at Main and 2nd Streets in Piedmont, South Dakota.
If additional confirmation is wanted for the above being in Piedmont, South Dakota, we see at one point a sign for Corral Trailer Park.
I was eventually able to find an old ad for the Corral Trailer Park in Piedmont, South Dakota. And, in fact, I discovered it is still in existence at 2nd Street in Piedmont. The sign for the Corral Trailer Park was shot going down Sturgis Road at the Chestnut Street intersection. The home beyond the sign is still there in Google street view but the sign is now gone. One can also see the stone columns used for fencing in Google street view.
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.
This isn't just a matter of throwing any old stock footage behind Humbert and Lolita thinking it simply doesn't matter. Nor is this any old stock footage. As we shall see in the part on their trip through the west, location filming was done in the Badlands, the car shown in what I've identified as Scenic, South Dakota. I also identify a green screen shot as being in Hill City, where they went so far as to change a cafe sign to the Black Hills Cafe. There were several locations of the Black Hills Cafe in South Dakota at that time but none of them were in Hill City. Instead, there was a Hill City Cafe in Hill City.
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". It's when Humbert and Lolita are at the Enchanted Hunters Hotel that Nabokov, in his novel, has Humbert beginning to operate under the delusion/suspicion that his Swiss Uncle, Gustave Trapp, who had similar tastes to Humbert, has begun following them. He thinks he's seen him at the hotel. Kubrick plays with opposites, negative and positive counterparts as in the black and white squares of a chess board, and it's my reasoning that the Black Hills relate to the White Mountains in this way because the Black Hills have also been called the "Switzerland of America". The story within the story has Lolita and Humbert crossing over into the underworld, as represented by the Black Hills and the Enchanted Hotel. If we examine Kubrick's other movies we see parallel scenarios such as with the Overlook in The Shining, Somerton in Eyes Wide Shut, and the Lyndon estate in Barry Lyndon which has for one of its settings a garden that uses monuments to depict the story of Aeneas' descent into the underworld, a journey the garden visitor is intended to re-enact. I elaborate on these parallels elsewhere.
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 was 342. Humbert felt fate, like a cage, enclosing them. 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).
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. He used 24/42 in films previous to Lolita as well.
The green screens after their stay at the Enchanted Hunters Hotel are not this scenery and are perhaps indeed are in in the northeast. The area 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.
A postcard for the Covered Wagon Hotel of Piedmont, South Dakota finally appeared on the internet and it is the sign that we see in shot 284. By the time of the film the name had been changed to the Covered Wagon Resort.
Updating the above post. I've already discussed how in the green screens on the way to the Enchanted Hunters Hotel Lolita and Humbert are in the Black Hills, specifically in and outside the very small town of Piedmont, South Dakota. See post Lolita Green Screen Location Shots 271-285 – Guess What, When They're on Their Way to the Enchanted Hunters Hotel in the White Mountains, They're in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Below is a capture from the film of a building at Main Street and 2nd Street in Piedmont, seen to screen left of Lolita's head, and below it is a Google Maps screengrab of that same building today.
After staying at the Enchanted Hunters Hotel, Humbert and Lolita head to Gaslight Village. Below is a postcard of Gaslight Village circa 1960s.