“Fear and Desire” (1953)

fear and desire         “Fear and Desire”  (1953)

    Stanley Kubrick’s feature debut (after three short subjects) as photographer, editor, producer and director, “Fear and Desire”, is an extremely low budget war drama with art house pretensions. It is a failure as a movie, but in the context of a collective lauded career, it is an interesting early hint of a young filmmaker’s desire for elitist stature as an auteur serving up pseudo- profundity in the form of unforgiving criticism on the human condition. The film follows a quartet of soldiers (introduced in one of those pretentious and unnecessary voiceovers favored by the young Kubrick) who represent not real soldiers, but a kind of universal abstraction favorable to overly zealous emerging pseudointellectual “artists” who may manipulate their characters not as true representatives of human drama, but as cogs in a grand machination furthering the director’s greater thematic designs. Even at this formative stage of the game, Kubrick’s interests clearly lie more with ostentatious abstraction than people.

To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/the-concession-stand-quick-snack-reviews/


About chandlerswainreviews

I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pauper, a poet, a pawn and a king, not necessarily in that order. My first major movie memory was being at the drive-in at about 1 1/2 yrs. old seeing "Sayonara" so I suppose an interest in film was inevitable. (For those scoring at home- good for you- I wasn't driving that evening, so no need to alert authorities.)Writer, critic and confessed spoiler of women, as I have a tendency to forget to put them back in the refrigerator. My apologies.
This entry was posted in art house cinema, Boston, movie reviews, Movies, Reviews, Stanley Kurbick, war movies, women, writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to “Fear and Desire” (1953)

  1. tashpix says:

    I’ve never seen “Fear and Desire,” and never have had much desire to. As much as I respect Kubrick and acknowledge his influence on both my films and my thinking, I’m always glad to see someone approach his work with the objectivity that should be the measure of any critical seriousness. Thanks for your frank dislike; it beats adulation any day.

  2. beetleypete says:

    I tried to watch this film for most of my adult life, but never found it showing anywhere, and it was not sold on VHS in the UK either. I had just added the recently-released restored DVD to my Amazon wish list, when I noticed it was being shown on a free film channel (Film 4) here.
    Talk about disappointment. Yes, it was ‘photographed’, but it was (as you said) pretentious, clumsy, and badly cast too. Low budget perhaps, but painful to sit through. I was pleased that I didn’t buy it.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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