Often we hear stories about directors who think less of their early work, but no filmmaker was more critical of his foray into cinema than the perfectionist otherwise known as Stanley Kubrick. The obsessive director reportedly tried to destroy all copies of his 1953 debut feature, Fear and Desire. The “amateur” film, as Kubrick described it, was almost lost to the cinematic ether when distributor Joseph Burstyn died and Kubrick discouraged any commercial distribution.
The rarely screened film underwent a major restoration process and made its television debut in 2011. Kino Video followed up with a DVD and Blu-ray release in 2012. The antiwar drama is now available online, preceded by a brief 1966 interview with Kubrick.
Fear and Desire centers on four soldiers who are trapped behind enemy lines during the Second World War. They must confront their fears and desires in the high-stakes environment where they also encounter a mysterious woman. “There were giggles in the wrong places, and it all seemed overdone and overwrought” for audiences during the preview screenings, but the existential picture has since been lauded as a striking debut.
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