Having finished the book I'd say you are right that it doesn't come close to the book. I really don't even think this movie is nearly as close to being as good as any of his later movies. I have not seen any of his earlier movies beyond this one but I just didn't think it was up to his standards as far as style and content. The former being of bigger concern to me as a fan than the latter. Though his changes to the material should be attributed to him in the long run you have to remember what types of censorship pressures he had to deal with. He moved from the US and cut himself off from the Hollywood machine for the rest of his career because of this film. I've only seen bits and pieces of the 90's Lolita but I think they also had an actress that looked much more mature than the 12 year old she was supposed to be. Even though the novel keeps the lewdness to a minimum and is about many other things I still felt wrong reading about fucking prepubescent girls... But ultimately the movie was watered down and had a tenth of the wit and sarcasm of the novel. The style is what threw me the most about the film. It felt like it could have come from any number of random directors of the time. It had a real 50's feel to it, not a Stanley Kubrick joint. Pacing, scene changes, score, visual style, all standard fare for the time. The only thing that stood out was the acting. I always loved Shelly Winters being a fan of The Poseidon Adventure. She did well capturing Mrs. Haze as she was portrayed in the book. I also give the girl playing Lolita credit for creating a good performance for a character that was changed heavily from the book. As far as Peter Sellers, in the one scene that is taken from the book, at the beginning instead of end, he did a great job of what I thought the book portrayed as Clare Quilty. In the end, the book is much much better.