Fear and Desire (1953)

Fear and Desire (1953) Front Cover DVD

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Fear and Desire (1953) Back Cover DVD

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Fear and Desire opens with an off-screen narration by actor David Allen who tells the audience:

There is a war in this forest. Not a war that has been fought, nor one that will be, but any war. And the enemies who struggle here do not exist unless we call them into being. This forest then, and all that happens now is outside history. Only the unchanging shapes of fear and doubt and death are from our world. These soldiers that you see keep our language and our time, but have no other country but the mind.

The story is set during a war between two unidentified countries. An airplane carrying four soldiers from one country has crashed six miles behind enemy lines. The soldiers come upon a river and build a raft, hoping they can use the waterway to reach their battalion. As they are building their raft, they are approached by a young peasant girl who does not speak their language. The soldiers apprehend the girl and bind her to a tree with their belts. The youngest of them is left behind to guard the girl. He starts to talk to her, but as she doesn't understand him, he talks always more as a delirium; when he unbelts her, believing she will embrace him, she tries to escape and the young soldier shoots her dead. Mac, another of the four soldiers, persuades the commander to let him take the raft for a solo voyage, in connection with a plan to kill an enemy general at a nearby base. The remaining two soldiers successfully infiltrate the base, and the enemy general is killed. They talk and eat with their own general, and return to the river to await Mac. Sitting there, they philosophize about war and how no man is made for it.

This movie is the feature film directorial debut of Stanley Kubrick. In the years following its release, Fear and Desire seemed to have disappeared. Distributor Joseph Burstyn died in November 1953 on a trans-Atlantic flight, and his company went out of business. There were stories that Kubrick had spent years acquiring all known prints of the film, with the plan of preventing it from ever being seen again. However, some prints of the film remained in private collections.

Fear and Desire had its first retrospective screening at the 1993 Telluride Film Festival.[16] In January 1994, the Film Forum, a nonprofit art and revival theater in lower Manhattan, announced plans to show Fear and Desire on a double bill with Killer's Kiss. Although the film?s copyright lapsed and the property was in the public domain, thus allowing it to be shown without fear of legal actions, Kubrick tried to discourage it from gaining an audience. Through Warner Brothers, Kubrick issued a statement that severely downplayed the film?s value, and he called Fear and Desire "a bumbling amateur film exercise". In 2010, an original copy of the film was discovered at a Puerto Rican film laboratory


David Allen as Narrator
Frank Silvera as Sgt. Mac
Kenneth Harp as Lt. Corby / The General
Paul Mazursky as Pvt. Sidney
Steve Coit as Pvt. Fletcher / The Captain
Virginia Leith as The Girl

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