Lolita, Richmond, Virginia, and Edgar Allan Poe

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).


Okay, Lolita in Richmond, Virginia. Now, I did not know that there were location shots in Richmond, Virginia. IMDB doesn't list Richmond locations, but neither does it list South Dakota, and I found Lolita out in South Dakota both on the way to the Enchanted Hunters Lodge and when they are supposedly riding around Arizona. Anyway, I found out later, after all my searching and finding a shot in Richmond, Virginia, that this person did already know about a shot in Richmond, Virginia. But I did not know about this when I was searching for the location of shot 464, and I'm glad I didn't know about Richmond already, because when I was conducting my own search I ran into some interesting things.

Lolita

My reasoning was that I should be able to finally locate the above scene (shot 464) due the striking clock tower on what I assumed was a city hall. Eventually I came across this city hall clock tower in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which was almost an exact match. The problem was, almost. Interestingly, that city hall was on Lyon Street. Coincidentally matching up with Sue Lyon who played Lolita.

The design was close enough I thought we would be dealing with the same architect who designed the city hall seen in Lolita. So, who was the architect? Elijah E. Myers. I looked up other buildings by Elijah E. Myers and thus I came across the below, which was the building for which I was looking and was done by Myers.

Lolita

Wikipedia image, Richmond City Hall, by Katherine Wetzel

Shot 464 is located at 1001 E. Broad St., between 10th and 12th. Apparently the photo is taken from West Hospital, which is interesting as the last we saw of Humbert he was being escorted out of the hospital after his learning Lolita had left with a supposed uncle--and the hospital was filmed not in Arizona, of course, the hospital was in Albany, New York, photographed from the corners of Northern Blvd, on Route 9 and across the river from Rensselaer, New York where we ultimately find Lolita, married and pregnant and wishing to escape to Alaska. In fact, Albany Hospital is but 9 minutes from 35 Partition Street, the place of the last shot before we see Lolita's house, which is actually in England.

After finding this shot was of Richmond, Virginia, having located it via the city hall, that is when I googled Lolita and "Richmond, Virginia" and found the city hall had already been identified by two people: the post listed already to above, plus I found that a Richmond Virginia film critic, Carole Kass (now deceased), had stated there were two shots filmed in Richmond, the one of the Old City Hall, and that there was another shot filmed in Church Hill when Humbert went to visit Lolita.

Did she mean shot 465? The one below? The car traveling through a neighborhood of rowhouses?

Lolita

Or did she mean shot 466?

Lolita

So, I went to look around Church Hill on Google Maps and I saw that there is a Leigh Street in Church Hill. This was interesting, as I've written in the analysis about how so much in the book and the movie revolves around Annabel Leigh, the childhood love of Humbert, who connects with Edgar Allan Poe's "Annabel Lee".

Edgar Allan Poe. Of course. For what is in Church Hill? The Edgar Allan Poe museum in the old stone house of Jacob Ege.

Poe's association with the stone house was marginal. He once stood outside of it when taking Lafayette around, but Poe did live in Church Hill. And so it is to part of Poe's stomping grounds that Kubrick takes us as Humbert drives to Lolita. Which takes us back to shot 144 and Humbert speaking to Lolita of the "divine Edgar", and reading to her the poem "Ulalume", the twists and turns of which I've discussed in the 2nd part of the analysis. Which may be why this is shot 464, because Kubrick does sometimes do deep subtext like this, such as numbers representing a cycling or return.

As for shots 465 and 466. Where are these taken? If shot 466 is in Church Hill, I can't place it and I wonder how changed the neighborhood might be. Still, if any of these buildings remain it seems that someone from the area could place it.

Shot 465 reminds me more of Baltimore? Another one of Poe's stomping grounds. He lived in Baltimore in the household of his young cousin, Virginia Eliza Clemm, who he would later marry when she was 13. If this shot is in Baltimore, would it be recognizable today?


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