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Early Kubrick for the faithfull
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.