Eureka Entertainment announced today for release as part of its world-renowned and award-winning Masters of Cinema Series a glorious presentation of Stanley Kubrick’s rarely-seen first feature film, FEAR AND DESIRE, in a new restoration carried out by The Library of Congress in conjunction with Kino Lorber, Inc. This is the first time the film will officially appear on home video in the United Kingdom, and will be released in Blu-ray and DVD editions in late January 2013.
This edition will mark the first wide-release of the only other Stanley Kubrick film which has remained nearly impossible to see in the United Kingdom — since the 1999 re-release of the notorious A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, following the director’s death.
The film tells the story of a war waged (in the present? in the future?) between two forces… In the midst of the conflict, a plane carrying four soldiers has crashed behind enemy lines. From here out, it is kill or be killed: a female hostage is taken on account of being a potential informer; an enemy general and his aide are discovered during a scouting mission… What lies in store for this ragtag group of killers, between their perilous landing in the forest, and the final raft-float downstream… this is the tale of Kubrick’s extraordinary picture.
Ron Benson, Managing Director of Eureka Entertainment stated “It is an unbelievable privilege to be able to make this thrilling film available in such an extraordinary restoration as carried out by Kino Lorber and the Library of Congress, and to present it in a form which will ‘do right’ by Kubrick — that director whose exacting standards, more than any other, warrant a conscientious and superb presentation.”
A little bit about Fear and Desire
Independently financed with contributions from Kubrick’s family and friends in an era when an “independent cinema” was still far from the norm, FEAR AND DESIRE first saw release in 1953 at the Guild Theater in New York thanks to the enterprising distributor Joseph Burstyn. Its exhibition led Kubrick to the dazzling career and near-complete artistic freedom which to this day remains unparalleled in the annals of Hollywood history.
Stanley Kubrick said of FEAR AND DESIRE: “The entire crew […] consisted of myself as director, lighting cameraman, operator, administrator, make-up man, wardrobe, hairdresser, prop man, unit chauffeur, et cetera. The rest of the crew consisted of a friend of mine, Steve Hahn, who was an executive at Union Carbide and who took his holidays with us and knew something about electricity; another friend, Bob Dierks, who was the studio assistant at LOOK Magazine, helped me set up the equipment and put it away, and did a thousand other jobs; my first wife, Toba, who tried to cope with all the paperwork and minor administration; and three Mexican labourers who carried the cases around. Particularly in those days, before the advent of film schools, Nagra [sound-recorders], and lightweight portable equipment, it was very important to have this experience and to see with what little facilities and personnel one could actually make a film. Today, I think that if someone stood around watching even a smallish film unit, he would get the impression of vast technical and logistical magnitude. He would probably be intimidated by this and assume that something close to this was necessary in order to achieve more or less professional results. This experience and the one that followed with KILLER’S KISS, which was on a slightly more cushy basis, freed me from any concern again about the technical or logistical aspects of filmmaking.”
“The time has come for Kubrick’s first film to be seen by the movie public at large. This gorgeous restoration, which can at last be widely circulated, stands as a forceful affirmation of the picture’s qualities and historical importance. All of Kubrick is already present, even in nascent form, in FEAR AND DESIRE. It’s a film that will electrify Stanley Kubrick’s millions of fans who are likely to find it of a piece with his astonishing body of work, even as it throws down the gauntlet for young filmmakers in its demonstration of everything that might be achieved at the service of a unique artistic vision and determination against all logistical odds. It is an honour to be involved in producing an edition of this debut feature by Kubrick, the master — a filmmaker who has counted among my greatest heroes in the cinema art-form, from the time I first saw 2001 as a teenager, up through the projection on its opening day in 1999 of his soul-shaking final masterpiece EYES WIDE SHUT. Perhaps more than any other director, Kubrick achieved a perfection that is as ruthless as it is open-ended — and endlessly rich. FEAR AND DESIRE is at the entrance to his vision.” — Craig Keller, Producer of The Masters of Cinema Series