Stanley Kubrick denied his entire life from ‘Fear and Desire’, the film with which he debuted
Among the many stories around Stanley Kubrick, is the story of the first feature film he directed, ‘Fear and Desire’, which he denied all his life and who did everything possible – without success – so that it would never be seen publicly.
Stanley Kubrick (July 26, 1928 – March 7, 1999). He was always a mediocre student, and his first two passions were chess and photography. With chess he did not make a career, but as a photographer, at 17 he was already working as a photojournalist. From 17 to 22 years old, Kubrick travels the United States from end to end, being one of the highest paid photographers in the country. At the same time, in those years, he began to be interested in cinema. During a season he begins to attend the film screenings of the MoMa in New York five days a week. He also begins to read with relish all kinds of books on filmmaking and technique.
In 1951 he entered the cinema as one of the reporters for the television program ‘The March of Time’, which included a series of filmed microspaces, of no more than 8 minutes. Kubrick enters as one of the filmmakers of those microspaces, learning to use a 35mm camera. in a morning. And it also achieves that each of these microspaces costs 3,500 euros, almost half of what they were budgeted for until then. And he also begins to shoot short films.
Finally, in 1953 Kubrick made his feature film debut with ‘Fear and Desire’, a 72-minute war film based on a text by the poet Howard O. Sackler, whose script he had written with Howard Sackler. Starring Frank Silvera, Kenneth Harp, Paul Mazursky, Stephen Coit and Virginia Leith, it narrated how, During a fictional war, in an unidentified country, four soldiers, Sergeant Mac (Frank Silvera), Lieutenant Corby (Kenneth Harp), Private Sidney (Paul Mazursky) and Private Fletcher (Stephen Coit), find themselves behind enemy lines after the plane they were traveling in crashed. They will decide to build a raft and navigate a nearby river the 6 miles that separates them from their territory. Along the way they meet a young woman (Virginia Leith) who will awaken in them their lowest desires. The nearby presence of an enemy general will only make matters worse. Someone in the group is determined to kill him at all costs.
The film is filmed amateurishly in California, with a budget of $ 33,000, set by Kubrick himself and his family, whose members he convinced to invest in him. At the time it was seen as an amateur movie, a little apprenticeship. Kubrick does everything again: administrator, operator, makeup artist, props artist, hairdresser, wardrobe manager, driver … It premiered on March 31, 1953 in New York and received good reviews, but later, when Joseph Burstyn died, The film’s distributor, Kubrick, tried to destroy all circulating copies so that no one else would see it. He did not count on the Kodak company always making an additional reproduction to keep in their archives.
It was never released in Spain (it has been seen at the Filmoteca and at film festivals), but in some Latin American countries, where it is known as ‘Fear and Desire’.
Kubrick was always ashamed of this feature film, he considered it something unimportant, a small sketch, like one of those drawings that children make and that are hung from the refrigerators and for years he did everything possible to prevent its dissemination. However, there are many scholars who do not agree and who affirm that in that first work, no matter how many limitations, there is the embryo of what would later become a great filmmaker, one of the essential names that the film has given. history of cinema. Today is a cult movie.