Release Plans Are Underway for Rare, 'Unwatchable' Stanley Kubrick Film

kubrick_225.jpgAt a special screening of Stanley Kubrick's 1953 debut film Fear and Desire in Los Angeles, George Eastman House curator Caroline Frick Page confirmed plans to restore the film and release it now that a negative of the film has been found in a shut-down Puerto Rican film lab(!). Only, this is the movie that Kubrick himself fought to keep out of circulation, claiming that his first foray into directing was unwatchable.

The rarely seen film, which is only available on a long out-of-print VHS or in low quality ten-minute segments on You Tube, concerns four soldiers in a fictitious war who find themselves trapped behind enemy lines after a plane crash. I assume the ensuing struggle forces them to confront their fears, and also their desires.

Despite Kubrick's insistence that the film not be seen, he doesn't actually own the copyright, so his estate's hands are tied. Page said that "efforts to restore and release Fear and Desire on DVD will move forward with as much sensitivity to the filmmaker as possible." I'm not entirely sure what that means, but I'd like to see this happen nonetheless. Kubrick was a notorious perfectionist and I'm guessing that "unwatchable" Kubrick is still better that most directors on their best day.

Plus the tag line is killer: "Trapped... 4 Desperate Men and a Strange Half-Animal Girl!"

Stanley Kubrick's Fear and Desire</> to Finally be Released on DVD? [WSJ Speakeasy]