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on 31 May 2013
I have to say I am really pleased that this alomost unknown Kubrick debut has finally got a mainstream release and with the unexpected inclusion of his three documentaries this makes this an important part of the Stanley Kubrick collection. I had a very poor quality bootleg copy which I bought mainly just so I could see the film rather then to keep it. I was, therefore in no rush to buy it again. But when I saw the contents and realized this is not just Fear And Desire but the full Kubrick back catalog I decided it was worth it. The booklet and the video discussion are nice touches too that add value to the package. So all in all it is worth the investment if your a Kubrick enthusiast.
However, the film itself is rather dull in places and-as James Naremore says in the booklet included-if it wasn't made by the great Stanley Kubrick it would probably have been-rightfully-forgotten a long time ago. It has hints of inspiration and some good performances by some of the cast (and not so good from some others) but you can literally see Stanley learning his craft as you watch. Indeed I consider his next piece, Killer's Kiss to be his first film and this more like the product of some board (thou never the less quite talented) students looking for a project to pass the time. Killer's Kiss-unlike Fear and Desire-is a very promising piece, despite its faults, and I notice throughout hints of almost all Kubrick's later movies from Full Metal Jacket to 2001.
As for the documentaries, Day Of The Fight and Flying Padre are entertaining enough, they are informative, well put together and to the point. The Seafarers has a tendency to ramble on and I feel it is a little too keen to make us love the SIU-even if I didn't know already, I think I would have guessed that this was a subject Kubrick was employed to make a documentary about as opposed to choosing the subject himself-but still has some nice moments.
All in all I would recommend this to the Kubrick completest like me, but to the casual Kubrick fan I wouldn't go out of your way.
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on 6 January 2013
I was lucky enough to see this in the cinema this weekend, and before the film all three of Kubrick's short films were shown - and a projection error revealed that they were all being screened directly from this disc. While the American release saw only The Seafarers as a special feature we also get Day of the Fight and Flying Padre. After Day of the Fight the projector wasn't blocked off quickly enough and it flicked back to the disc menu, it was clearly this release of the film.
As for the restoration, it's absolutely wonderful, the detail is magnificent and a real surprise for a film of this age and budget, it looked great on the big screen. Whilst far from a Kubrick classic there's still a lot to be interested in here, and Kubrick's eye for photography serves him very well. The acting and script leave a lot to be desired, though there are some interesting ideas toyed with, if the rumours of Kubrick trying to track down and destroy prints are true then you can see why, his next film was streets ahead of this.
I'm very keen to get my hands on the release, but I certainly enjoyed what I've seen of it so far.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 24 December 2015
Made in 1954 this was Stanley Kubrick’s first film and shortly afterwards he tried to disown it and not deciding not to re-release the print. However, it was processed by Kodak and they had a policy of making a spare copy for their archives and this is the version we see today. It is set during a fictitious war with fictitious armies and no explanation as to why they are at war.

Four soldiers are lost behind enemy lines and have to get back to their side. On the way they encounter the locals, the enemies air base and have to face up to a few demons of their own – not always successfully.

Now some have panned this film, whilst fans still rave about its authenticity etc. The main characters wear German WW II helmets with camouflage on them and are American – the enemy also speak English and are white American looking. The acting is very one dimensional with no one writing an Oscar acceptance speech. The concepts of fear and desire are examined but in a way that is far from in depth, but it still is watchable but is not a film I will be recommending to friends unless they are a massive Kubrick fan.
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on 10 November 2014
I had been taught that Kubrick's first feature film had been lost, and only a couple of production stills had survived. So I was rather excited actually being able to watch it in high defdinition and the Blu-ray transfer reveals again that access to the original camera negatives makes it possible for almost any film to look as if it had just been shot yesterday in black & white.

Of the three Kubrick short films included (standard definition), I found "Day of the Fight" most interesting because it seemed to constitute part of the blueprint for Kubrick's next feature film "Killer's Kiss" which curiously suffers from some inadequacies Kubrick avoided in "Fear and Desire", IMHO (e.g. the sound in the train station opening scene does sound fake and I still wonder how Frank Silvera's goons managed to drag the main character's manager from crowded Broadway to that deserted back alley).

Unlike Mr. Kubrick I would consider "Fear and Desire" to be his superior film, because it addresses timeless issues how war can drive a man insane and to what extent some people would go (even if it meant their own demise) if only it gave their mundane lives a sense of a higher purpose. I felt this was truly the raw and essential "Kubrick Stuff", the beginning of the red thread running through his films according to which at the end of each there are no heroes, only survivors.

Indeed, casting two actors as protagonists but also as the enemies' staff officers they ambush and kill, had an eerie, almost "Twilight Zone" touch to it and certainly "Fear and Desire" has all the qualities you'd expect from an episode of this renowned science fiction TV series.

I did consider it a rewarding film experience, I can only recommend to any fan or friend of his films. And it's rather impressive what Kubrick made with the minuscule production budget at his disposal.
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on 11 August 2013
A complete package with every hard to find Kubrick short in it other than the full lenght movie. This is really great and you may want this if you are s Kubrick fan. Wonderful.
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on 9 April 2013
Kubrick's first film, fear and despair, is a twilight zone-like nightmare with some uneven yet compelling performances. He attempts to show how minds are twisted on the battlefield and it plays a bit like coppola's apocalypse now. It's a must see for any Kubrick fan or serious student of film theory.
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on 23 August 2013
A great and enlighting experience to watch Stanley Kubricks first masterpiece. This edition is above par with some extras, including Kubricks short-movies.
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on 14 September 2015
for a 21 year old first time Director it was very interesting, very assured . It now comletes my Kubrick collection
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on 23 November 2015
Essential early Kubrick. Lots of extras: Day Of The Fight (1951) / Flying Padre (1951) / The Seafarers (1953).
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on 28 February 2013
Great remastering work for the first SK movie.
Good job for the short film too, even though not at the level of the movie
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