Stanley Kubrick

Sog., Scen.: Howard Sackler. F., M.: Stanley Kubrick. Scgf.: Herbert Lebowitz. Mus.: Gerald Fried. Int.: Frank Silvera (sergente Mac), Paul Mazursky (Sidney), Kenneth Harp (tenente Corby), Stephen Coit (Fletcher/ capitano Peter), Virginia Leith (la ragazza), David Allen (voce narrante).
Prod.: Stanley Kubrick. DCP. D.: 72’. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

In this existential drama – which has the feeling of a waking dream rather than a conventional war film – four soldiers return to their senses after crash-landing in a forest behind enemy lines. Blindly navigating their way back to their unit, they attack an isolated cabin occupied by enemy soldiers, then apprehend a peasant woman (Virginia Leith) who is tormented by the deranged young soldier assigned to guard her (Paul Mazursky). On the verge of freedom, they discover an outpost of enemy officers, and must decide whether to slip silently past or stage a violent confrontation with their doppelgängers.
Upon the initial release of Fear and Desire, Kubrick was stung by negative audience reactions and immediately decided to tone down the philosophical aspects of the film. In a pattern repeated throughout his career, he pulled the film from release and made additional cuts, removing approximately nine minutes of material (about 12% of the film’s total length). These edits made Fear and Desire less of a metaphysical experience and more of a conventional war picture.
For decades, the 62 minute version was all that existed of Fear and Desire, which a still dissatisfied Kubrick withheld from release throughout his lifetime, and which Kino Lorber released in 2012. Recently, the Library of Congress came into possession of a 35mm element of the original 70 minute cut, which was the version shown at the Venice Film Festival on 18 August 1952, under the title Shape of Fear, and which has not been seen since its interrupted theatrical run in 1953. Now, seven decades later, audiences can finally see Fear and Desire as it was first released and witness the first awkward blossoming of a 23-yearold Stanley Kubrick’s cinematic genius.

Bret Wood

Copy From

Restored in 4K in 2023 by Kino Lorber in collaboration with Library of Congress, from the 35mm original cut negative and the 35mm fine grain master