Fear and Desire

Movie Information

In Brief: Very few people have seen Stanley Kubrick's feature directorial debut Fear and Desire (1953), and for good reason — the director hated this early work so much that he tried to have every print destroyed. Luckily for us, he failed. While it's by no means a great film, Kubrick's criticism of his own work was unduly harsh. Elements of what would become his auteurial signature were already in place despite his extreme youth (Kubrick was only 24 when production began), and I've always been of the opinion that he was just upset that he didn't come out of the gate with something equal to Citizen Kane, which Orson Welles directed at a similar age. Kubrick's gripes aside, there's plenty of interesting material to be found in his story of four military pilots of indiscriminate nationality in an unspecified conflict who crash behind enemy lines and must make there way back to safety. There are some intriguing metaphysical overtones and anti-war sentiments that Kubrick would revisit in later films, albeit in a less obtrusive light, and many of his visual flourishes were evident from the very beginning. Remembered today mostly as a curiosity for Kubrick completists, I've always felt that Fear and Desire deserves a critical reevaluation.
Genre: War Drama
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Starring: Frank Silvera, Paul Mazursky, Kenneth Harp, Stephen Coit, Virginia Leigh
Rated: NR

The Asheville Film Society will screen Fear and Desire on Tuesday, Aug. 22, at 7:30 p.m. at The Grail Moviehouse, hosted by Xpress movie critic Scott Douglas.


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