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Fear and Desire [Blu-ray]

3.8 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

An existential war film that is often compared with Kubrick's PATHS OF GLORY (1957) among three Kubrick films selected for the Library's National Film Registry-and FULL METAL JACKET (1987), FEAR AND DESIRE follows a squad of soldiers who have crash-landed behind enemy lines and must work their way downriver to rejoin their unit.

In the process, they encounter a peasant girl (Virginia Leith) and tie her to a tree, where she is tormented by a mentally unbalanced soldier (future director Paul Mazursky). Before making their escape, the soldiers determine the location of an enemy base and formulate a plot to assassinate its commanding officer.

Independently financed, and shot by a skeleton crew - with Kubrick controlling almost every aspect of production - FEAR AND DESIRE was conceived as a European-style art film, cloaked in the guise of a Hollywood war picture. Kubrick described the film to distributor Joseph Burstyn as allegorical and poetic. ''A drama of 'man', lost in a hostile world-deprived of material and spiritual foundations-seeking his way to an understanding of himself, and of life around him.''

Beautifully restored and remastered in HD from an original camera negative and thanks to the preservation efforts of the Library of Congress, Kino Lorber is proud to share with the world FEAR AND DESIRE, fresh from the 24-year-old mind of the man who would become the most influential filmmaker of his generation.

BONUS FEATURE: ''The Seafarers'', A short subject film, restored and remastered in HD (for the first time) by the The Museum of Modern Art & The Film Foundation.


A literate, unhackneyed war drama, outstanding for its fresh camera treatment and poetic dialogue. --Variety

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Frank Silvera, Kenneth Harp, Paul Mazursky, Steve Coit, Virginia Leith
  • Directors: Stanley Kubrick
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Kino Lorber films
  • DVD Release Date: October 23, 2012
  • Run Time: 61 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B007K8ILUQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,602 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Fear and Desire [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By [KNDY] Dennis A. Amith TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 1, 2012
Format: Blu-ray
Stanley Kubrick, one of America's legendary filmmakers responsible for films such as "Paths of Glory" (1957), "Spartacus" (1960), "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb" (1964), "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968), "A Clockwork Orange" (1971), "The Shining" (1980), "Full Metal Jacket" (1987), to name a few.

But all filmmakers have their beginnings and for Stanley Kubrick, his first feature film would be the 1953 film "Fear and Desire".

Having created two documentaries ("Day of the Fight", "Flying Padre: An RKO-Pathe Screenliner") in 1951 and employed at "LOOK" Magazine, Kubrick quite his job to create his first feature film.

Using funds that were raised by his family and friends, Kubrick and a classmate from his old high school, Howard Sackler, would go on to create "Fear and Desire".

While not a box office hit, the film captured the attention of film critics, who took notice of Kubrick's talent.

But among the Kubrick films available, "Fear and Desire" has only been screened at very few places since it's release. One of those screenings were at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. back in 1993. The film also has not been released commercially and even was downplayed by Kubrick, when he was alive, calling the film a "bumbling amateur film exercise".

But in 2010, Turner Classic Movies aired a restored print courtesy of the George Eastman House and now, Kino Lorber will be releasing the film on Blu-ray and DVD in October 2012. The version of "Fear and Desire" presented was mastered in HD from archival 35mm elements newly restored by the Library of Congress.
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Finally the long forgotten first film by the legendary director Stanley Kubrick has been released on a home video format for the first time and it is truly a sight to behold.
There was believe it or not a time when Stanley Kubrick wasn't one of the biggest names in film history, Yes, that's right, Stanley Kubrick, a man who's Career in the industry has no equal started out as a nobody who had to raise funds from family and friends to start production on what would be his first full motion picture, and like most directorial debuts, it was a box office failure, even after having been given high praise by some notable critics at the time, audiences just didn't care for it.
It's been said many times that Kubrick was before his time, and the same can be said about this film. At a mere 60 minute's, it is by far Kubrick's shortest movie, and lest polished, but contained in it's short run time are the ideas that gave birth to the style of film making that Kubrick continued to used and hone throughout the remainder of his career.
My personal thought's about the film the first time i watched it(this was many years ago) were that of the audiences, i didn't see anything of the man that Hollywood considered one of it's best. Now Many years latter and after several reviewing's i've realized that i was so so wrong. It's easily understandable for a person to say that a older low budget film like this sucks when they've seen films like 2001: A Space Odyssey, you have to look at this film a little more deeply to see the true skill of it's creator at work.
Throughout the rest of his life Kubrick shunned this film, was embarrassed by it, he even tried buying up as many original film prints as he could find, with the plan of preventing it from ever being seen again.
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I just watched the Blu-ray of Kubrick’s first feature Fear and Desire. It’s taken me 40 years to finally see this movie (which Kubrick himself had suppressed) and I have to say it was an interesting experience. It certainly has its flaws, but it is still a fascinating piece of work and definitely ranks as a Kubrick film. Believe it or not, it’s kind of a mash up of The Thin Red Line and a Twilight Zone episode! Much of the dialogue (which was looped) is stilted and the dramatic structure is clumsy, but as a first time effort from a 24-year old, it is quite ballsy. The cinematography is stunning, which is really Kubrick’s strength here. The characters are ciphers for the most part, and the acting is a mixed bag. Frank Silvera (who would later play the villainous gangster boss in Kubrick’s next film, Killer’s Kiss) does the best work, while Paul Mazursky is the weakest playing a nutjob. Kubrick certainly got better with actors and scriptwriting (a mere ten years later he was doing Lolita and Dr. Strangelove!), but this first film is very much a flawed gem. Perhaps strangest of all is that the film has a couple of optical wipes, which I believe are unique to the Kubrick canon. I’m guessing he had to use these to get out of an editing jam. There are no extras to speak of (a pity), unless you count the inclusion of The Seafarers. Too bad they didn’t get Mazursky to do a commentary! Curiously, his character recites material from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, which the actor-turned-director went on to make as a film himself 30 years later. Not sure what to make of that! All in all, a satisfying experience. I wasn’t disappointed.
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