Get ready, Stanley Kubrick completists, because Kino Lorber have some very exciting news for you today. Nearly 60 years after it first hit theaters, and then subsequently disappeared, only to be seen in shoddy bootlegs, the company is finally giving the iconic director’s first film “Fear And Desire” a proper DVD and Blu-ray release this fall, in a newly restored edition of the film from the Library Of Congress.
But as Kubrick himself admitted, this was a movie that was very much from a first time filmmaker (he was 24 years old at the time). Describing it at one time as “a bumbling amateur film exercise,” the movie stars future filmmaker Paul Mazursky and Virginia Leith, and 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 (Leith) and tie her to a tree, where she is tormented by a mentally unbalanced soldier (Mazursky). Before making their escape, the soldiers determine the location of an enemy base and formulate a plot to assassinate its commanding officer.
Rumors spread over the years that Kubrick tried to buy up remaining prints of “Fear And Desire” and have them destroyed, and he definitely did his best to halt public screenings of the picture, but the film should still prove to be an interesting document of a master filmmaker finding his footing. “The ideas we wanted to put across were good…but we didn’t have the experience to embody them dramatically,” Kubrick told Alexander Walker in 1971. “It was very important to have this experience and to see with what little facilities and personnel one could actually make a film. This experience and the one that followed with ‘Killer’s Kiss,’ which was on a slightly more cushy basis, freed me from any concern again about the technical or logistical aspects of filmmaking.”
You’ll be able to check it out for yourself when it arrives on home video on October 23rd. Check out the artwork below.