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Fear and Desire (1953)

Not Rated | | Drama, Thriller, War | 1 April 1953 (USA)
Four soldiers trapped behind enemy lines must confront their fears and desires.

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Mac
Kenneth Harp ...
Lt. Corby / The General
...
Sidney
...
Fletcher / The Captain (as Steve Coit)
...
The Girl
David Allen ...
Narrator (voice)
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Storyline

A ficticious war in an unidentified country provides the setting for this drama. Four soldiers survive the crash-landing of their plane to find themselves in a forest six miles behind enemy lines. The group, led by Lt. Corby, has a plan: They'll make their way to a nearby river, build a raft, and then, under cover of night, float back to friendly territory. Their plans for getting back safely are sidetracked by a young woman who stumbles across them as they hide in the woods, and by the nearby presence of an enemy general who one member of the group is determined to kill. Written by Eugene Kim <genekim@concentric.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Trapped... 4 Desperate Men and a Strange Half-Animal Girl!

Genres:

Drama | Thriller | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 April 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Shape of Fear  »

Box Office

Budget:

$33,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Feature directorial debut of Stanley Kubrick. See more »

Goofs

Our heroes steal a plane from an enemy military base. However the plane (a Luscombe 8) is clearly a civilian airplane with no military markings whatsoever. It is unlikely an obvious civilian aircraft like this would be on a military base. See more »

Quotes

Enemy General: Sometimes, as I look at these maps, I wonder if my own grave isn't being planned. Here... or here... or here.
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Connections

Featured in Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

War Changes Men
18 December 2016 | by (Perth, Australia) – See all my reviews

Trapped behind enemy lines, the stress of the situation has varying impacts on four soldiers in this existential war movie from Stanley Kubrick. The film marked the great director's feature debut, and poorly received at the time, Kubrick subsequently tried to suppress it, citing the film as the work of an amateur. This controversy has lead to the film acquiring a mixed reputation over the years, but it is a far more accomplished motion picture than one might expect. While not as stylistic and innovatively shot as 'Killer's Kiss', it actually spins a more engaging narrative, focusing on war from a psychological standpoint with memorable lines such as "enemies do not exist ... unless we call them into being". In an effective touch, Kubrick also lets the characters' narrated thoughts aloud overlap at certain points, and with the way the characters discuss and debate war, Samuel Fuller's superb 1950s war movies frequently come to mind. The film's biggest weakness is the acting. Virginia Leith is superb in a brief turn in which her close-up facial expressions convey more than words possibly could, but everyone else is uneven at best with dialogue delivery sometimes stilted. A renowned perfectionist, it is no surprise that Kubrick was dissatisfied with certain elements of the film, but had he not disowned it, it is unlikely that it would be as poorly received at it often is these days. The choice to not specify the actual war or any nationalities provides the story with a welcome universal quality that resonates strongly considering all the other wars that have occurred since 1953.


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