Trapped . . . a Desperate Man and a Strange Half Animal Girl!

Fenster writes:

. . . . is the tagline for Fear and Desire (1953), Stanley Kubrick’s first feature.

fear and d

The poster makes Kubrick’s first out to be some sort of hot noir.  In fact, it is Kubrick’s attempt at making some sort of odd art-house film, exhibiting in early, amateurish form some of the aridity that would highlight/plague many of his later works.  Four soldiers in a nameless, highly abstracted war are trying to get out from behind enemy lines but mostly just run through the woods pronouncing and emoting.

As Ty Burr commented in the Boston Globe just this morning:

“Fear and Desire,” recently released on DVD after years in obscurity, is the work of a visually gifted, fatally earnest young artist burning to Say Something. An hour long drama about a squadron of soldiers behind enemy lines in an unnamed war, the film features “poetic” dialogue (written by Howard Sackler) out of an adolescent’s journal and an awesomely terrible performance by the young director-to-be Paul Mazursky. More than anything, “Fear” plays like a student production of Terrence Malick’s later “The Thin Red Line.”

Over time, I’ve gone back to see all of Kubrick but never was able to catch this.  Kubrick himself didn’t favor its wide release.  It’s recently been restored by the Library of Congress and committed to DVD.  It’s also making the rounds, including at an upcoming Kubrick retrospective at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.  So it’s around if you are a completist like I am, but caveat spectator.

Now if you are in the market for a visually arresting first film by a director who went on to more famous works, The Duellists, Ridley Scott’s first, is now out on Blu-Ray.  I suspect many here will have seen it, and I myself have seen quite few times, mostly for the visuals.  I’ll see it again, I am sure, on Blu-Ray.


About Fenster

Gainfully employed for thirty years, including as one of those high paid college administrators faculty complain about. Earned Ph.D. late in life and converted to the faculty side. Those damn administrators are ruining everything.
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1 Response to Trapped . . . a Desperate Man and a Strange Half Animal Girl!

  1. There wasn’t much about Fear and Desire at the Kubrick show I wrote about earlier. If you look at this montage you can see a little bit of it in the lower-left picture. The coolest thing that I learned about it was that the movie was filmed in the San Gabriel Mountains, which are right near where I grew up.


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