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Fear and Desire: Premiere Version

Directed by Stanley Kubrick

Release: 1952
Runtime: 70
Country: United States
Language: English
Director: Stanley Kubrick

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.

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Technical Info

  • Color: B&W

playdates

Venue City Date
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Village Austin 1695528000September 24 - September 27, 2023
Alamo Drafthouse DTLA Los Angeles 1697169600October 13 - October 14, 2023
Alamo Drafthouse New Mission San Francisco 1695528000September 24, 2023
Alamo Drafthouse San Antonio San Antonio 1695960000September 29, 2023
Alamo Drafthouse Sloans Lake Denver 1695528000September 24, 2023
Alamo Drafthouse Wrigleyville Chicago 1695441600September 23, 2023
Austin Film Society Austin 1701406800December 1 - December 4, 2023
Cleveland Cinematheque Cleveland 1697083200October 12 - October 13, 2023
Gateway Film Center Columbus 1699592400November 10 - November 12, 2023
Gene Siskel Film Center Chicago 1700802000November 24 - November 30, 2023
Grand Illusion Cinema Seattle 1700370000November 19 - November 21, 2023
Hollywood Theatre Portland 1699678800November 11 - November 12, 2023
Landmark Nuart Theatre Los Angeles 1696564800October 6 - October 12, 2023
Lark Theater Larkspur 1695528000September 24 - September 25, 2023
Mayfair Theatre Ottawa 1695960000September 29 - October 5, 2023
Metrograph New York 1695355200September 22 - September 28, 2023
Philadelphia Film Society Philadelphia 1699851600November 13 - November 15, 2023
Playhouse Cinema Hamilton 1699592400November 10 - November 12, 2023
Plaza Theatre Atlanta 1699592400November 10 - November 16, 2023
Princess Cinemas Waterloo 1699070400November 4 - November 7, 2023
Revue Cinema Toronto 1695614400September 25 - September 27, 2023