This Kubrick fan had never seen the brilliant filmmaker's first feature film until last evening. Fear and Desire is not bad. And certainly not as bad as Kubrick thought it to be.
While his next feature film, Killer's Kiss, is a big leap up, and establishes the Kubrick we know today, Fear is an attempt to have some smarts along its 61 minutes. Philosophical meanderings from young people, make no mistake, but ideas are already at the core of a philosopher who went on to make Dr. Strangelove and 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The front-and-center score for Fear and Desire was composed by Gerald Fried. I could imagine watching the film upon its release in 1953 and thinking, "this composer is going to go somewhere". (He did just that. And he worked with Kubrick until Paths of Glory. Until his friend decided to go, for the most part, with existing music.)
As I said to a friend this morning, with Fear and Desire I suspect that Stanley Kubrick "got all of his Super-8 films out of the way".
The above article first appeared on September 23, 2017.