Fear and Desire: Premiere Version

NR / 1hr 10min


Lark Theater Sun, Sep 24, 2023 5:00 PM
Lark Theater Mon, Sep 25, 2023 4:00 PM
Film Info
Event Type:Classic Film Series
Release Year:1952
Genre:Drama, Thriller, War
Production Country:USA
Cast/Crew Info
Director:Stanley Kubrick
Cast:Frank Silvera, Kenneth Harp, Paul Mazursky, Stephen Coit, Virginia Leith, David Allen
Screenwriter:Howard Sackler
Music By:Gerald Fried






Fear and Desire: Premiere Version (1952)
Directed by Stanley Kubrick, Cinema Re-Release

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

“Fear and Desire has a certain fierceness that's hard to shake."
- Nick Schager, Slant Magazine

“It's an unconventional but compelling film as four soldiers find themselves trapped behind enemy lines during an unspecified war.”
- Henry Northmore, The List

SYNOPSIS: 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.

Recently, the Library of Congress came into possession of 35mm elements of the original 70 minute cut, which was the version shown at the Venice Film Festival on August 18, 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 tentative blossoming of 23-year-old Stanley Kubrick’s cinematic genius. 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. Restored in 4K by Kino Lorber in collaboration with the Library of Congress, from the 35mm original cut negative and the 35mm fine grain master..