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‘Fear and Desire,’ Stanley Kubrick’s First Feature Film, Due on Blu-ray Disc Feb. 27 Media Play News

Fear and Desire (RKO Radio Pictures photo)

February 22, 2024

Kino Lorber on Feb. 27 will release on disc the 1953 existential drama Fear and Desire, the first feature film by legendary director Stanley Kubrick.

The film, directed by Kubrick when he was just 23 years old, will be available in its original 70-minute form, as well as a 62-minute theatrical edit, on both 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc and on regular Blu-ray Disc.

Fear and Desire follows four soldiers as they 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 who is tormented by the deranged young soldier assigned to guard her. 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.

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Upon the film’s initial release, Kubrick was stung by negative audience reactions and immediately decided to tone down the philosophical aspects of the film. These edits made the film less of a metaphysical experience and more of a conventional war film. For decades, this 62-minute version was all that existed of Fear and Desire, until the Library of Congress discovered a 35mm element of the original 70-minute cut, which has not been seen since its interrupted theatrical run in 1953. 

Both versions of the film are included on the triple-layered UHD100 disc, with transfers from new HDR/Dolby Vision masters from 4K restorations of the 35 mm original camera negatives.

The standard Blu-ray Disc also includes both cuts of Fear and Desire from 4K restorations of the 35mm camera negatives on a dual-layered BD50 disc.

Bonus features include new audio commentaries from film historians Eddy Von Mueller (on the 70-minute cut) and Gary Gerani (on the 62-minute cut), along with three Kubrick shorts, Flying Padre, Day of the Fight and The Seafarers.

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