A Few Words About A few words about...™ Fear and Desire -- in Blu-ray

Robert Harris

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I've got to be honest.

Stanley Kubrick's 1953 Fear and Desire, from Kino via a restoration by the Library of Congress, is for Kubrick completists only. It's an interesting little film, but the reality of the situation is that interest will come from those who seek to see how it fits into his growth as a filmmaker, and how it relates to later productions.

The overall quality is quite astounding. The resolution, shadow detail and other cinematic attributes are front and center. Keep in mind that this is an analogue restoration, which means that occasionally minus density if par for the course.

Also included is The Seafarers, a 28 minute documentary, also directed by Mr. Kubrick. It appears via preservation by The Museum of Modern Art, with funding from The Film Foundation.

For Kubrick fans, this is the stuff that dreams are made of.

Image - 4.5

Audio - 5

Highly Recommended.

RAH
 
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Paul Thrussell
The fact that Kubrick's attempts to suppress this early effort haven't stopped it from seeing release, not too many years after his passing, gives me hope for the eventual re-release of the original unadulterated Star Wars films. That being said, I don't believe Kubrick owned the rights to this film, nor did he have his own personal empire in the Lucasfilm vein to preserve his intentions for the future, but the (very small) optimist in me is still hopeful. :)
 

Mark Cappelletty

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I was hoping that DAY OF THE FIGHT and FLYING PADRE would be included on this set. FEAR AND DESIRE isn't that great of a movie -- I saw it at the Egyptian a couple of years ago -- but it's interesting enough and would make for the bottom third of a good triple bill with Sam Fuller's THE STEEL HELMET and Anthony Mann's MEN IN WAR.
 

Russell G

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Originally Posted by Mark Cappelletty /t/324784/a-few-words-about-fear-and-desire-in-blu-ray#post_3994908
I was hoping that DAY OF THE FIGHT and FLYING PADRE would be included on this set
I was hoping this too. The odds of them getting a separate release is slim to none. I will still be grabbing this though of course.
 
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Paul Thrussell said:
The fact that Kubrick's attempts to suppress this early effort haven't stopped it from seeing release, not too many years after his passing, gives me hope for the eventual re-release of the original unadulterated Star Wars films. That being said, I don't believe Kubrick owned the rights to this film, nor did he have his own personal empire in the Lucasfilm vein to preserve his intentions for the future, but the (very small) optimist in me is still hopeful. :)
Speak of the devil! Very curious to see what Disney decides to do now, assuming their hands aren't tied.
 

mikeyhitchfan

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I'm one of those Kubrick fans and had to get this to complete the collection on BD.

Also looking forward to going to the Kubrick exhibition in LA this weekend. It has been touring the world for 6 years and now it's at the LACMA until June 2013.
 

WinstonCely

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mikeyhitchfan said:
I'm one of those Kubrick fans and had to get this to complete the collection on BD.
Also looking forward to going to the Kubrick exhibition in LA this weekend. It has been touring the world for 6 years and now it's at the LACMA until June 2013.
As soon as I get this one, I'll have everything except Spartacus on BD. I'm still waiting on Criterion to release the BD of that..... Hurry up guys!!! Granted, I just watched the SD DVD Criterion I have, and it still looks pretty damn good, even compared to some of my HD BD's I've got!
 

EddieLarkin

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Masters of Cinema announced this morning that they have managed to get the other two shorts for their release, completing Kubrick's filmography on Blu-ray
 

EddieLarkin

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Moe Dickstein said:
For those with Region B capable players...
Naturally. Americans still have us beat by quite a long shot though, having Killer's Kiss, The Killing and Paths of Glory exclusive to Region A. What a joke this region coding nonsense is, especially when it's so easy subvert.
 

Moe Dickstein

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Also Kino is pretty terrible when compared to MoC. Where's our commentary on Metropolis?
They charge an arm and a leg but don't go the extra mile in most cases.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Not a great film, but one I was very happy to finally pick up. For years, all I had was a very battered looking bootlegged VHS, so it's nice to have this on my shelf in something quite a bit better than that.
It almost played like one of those hour-long Twilight Zone episodes crossed with the middle section of All Quiet On The Western Front.
 

JoeStemme

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Kubrick legendarily disowned his first feature film and did the best he could to keep it hidden. Other than some private print showings, it largely went unseen after its brief theatrical run until the early 90s. Kubrick kept up the battle of downplaying its value until he passed away in 1999. It didn't get a home video release until 2012 (it's in the public domain). For all of that, FEAR AND DESIRE is an interesting piece. Written by future Pulitzer Prize winning Playwright Howard Sackler, it's about four soldiers only known by single names (Mac (Frank Silvera), Corby (Kenneth Harp), Sidney (Paul Mazursky) and Fletcher (Stephen Coit)) trapped behind an unnamed enemy's lines during an unnamed war. As they try to wander back to safety they bicker among themselves before coming upon a foreign girl (Virginia Leith) and, eventually, a pair of small enemy encampments. An unseen narrator (David Allen) pities their plight with some often pretentious disdain. It's very much like something that Rod Serling would later do on The Twilight Zone, infused with some Jean Paul Sartre existentialism. Little over an hour long and with an almost amateurish production that was shot mostly without synch sound (the dubbed voices combined with the abundant narration further give it an air of artificiality), Kubrick has to rely on his instinctive visual eye to give the film some shape and flow (he was also the Cinematographer). Surprisingly for a semi-pro production, most of the cast went on to have substantive enough careers with Paul Mazursky, of course, going on to become a major Director himself (despite Kubrick getting a 16 year head start, Mazursky ended up Directing more features!). Gerald Fried did the score and would continue to do so for the next three Kubrick feature films (along with one of his shorts). Kubrick would go on to Direct three more overt war pictures (PATHS OF GLORY, DR. STRANGELOVE, FULL METAL JACKET) over his remaining dozen movies, plus SPARTACUS and BARRY LYNDON with significant battle scenes. And, his unrealized dream project was Napoleon. The theme here was of obvious interest to the filmmaker, even if limited here. Still, one can see in some of the compositions and a certain 'God's eye' view of the pitiable soldiers a certain connection with his future films. Kubrick's fascination with dualities within people are at play here, with some obvious dual symbolism. FEAR AND DESIRE is more of a learning exercise than an accomplished debut, but, it's still valuable as such.
 
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