Stanley Kubrick’s Micro-Budget 1st Feature Film: Fear and Desire
We all start somewhere and the 1953 feature film Fear and Desire is where the legendary Stanley Kubrick got his. Fear and Desire is a 60-minute independent film, written, financed, shot and directed by a 25 year old Stanley Kubrick, who had just quit his job full time job as a photographer at LOOK Magazine.
The film’s budget was estimated to be $10,000, a hell of a lot in the 1950’s. The production was made up of 15 people: Kubrick, five actors (Paul Mazursky, Frank Silvera, Kenneth Harp, Steve Coit, and Virginia Leith), five crew people (including Stanley’s first wife, Toba Metz) and four Mexican laborers who lugged the heavy film equipment around San Gabriel Mountains, where the film was shot. Kubrick said in an interview with Paul Mazursky interview with Paul Mazursky
“There was no dolly track, just a baby carriage to move the camera.”
Kubrick hated this film with a passion and unsuccessfully attempted to destroy every copy of the film in existence. Before a restored version of the film was played at the 1993 Telluride Film Festival Kubrick publicly said that is was:
“a bumbling amateur film exercise.”
After watching it I understand why he didn’t want anyone to see it. It’s a bit amateur and the acting and story are not what you would expect from a Kubrick film but it’s a fascinating look at his first attempt at filmmaking. Enjoy.
Includes a five-minute interview with the director about the film.
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