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Jefferson Root Written by Jefferson Root
Sep. 10, 2010 | 4:33 PM

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Egyptian Theatre to Screen Stanley Kubrick’s FEAR AND DESIRE on Sunday

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Cinephiles may debate the particular film that secured Stanley Kubrick’s place in the pantheon of great directors, but few would question whether he belongs there.  Many first took notice of Kubrick with his 1956 heist picture The Killing; others started paying attention after the twin provocations of Lolita and Dr Strangelove several years later.  But all great artists have to start somewhere, and Stanley Kubrick started his career as a feature filmmaker with 1953’s Fear and Desire

Shot in the San Gabriel Mountains outside of Los Angeles with a minimal crew, Fear and Desire was shot with an initial production budget of $10,000.  Kubrick had borrowed the bulk of the money from an uncle, and tried to save money by shooting the entire project without sound.  He learned the hard way that adding sound and effects to an entire production after the fact is considerably more expensive than recording as you go, and the project never made back its money.  It did garner him enough attention to raise the money for his next feature, the 1955 boxing noir Killer’s Kiss.

Kubrick all but disowned Fear and Desire during his lifetime, calling it “a bumbling amateur exercise”, but the film gives us a glimpse into the mind of an artist who would go on to a career of towering achievements.  Considering his limited resources, the film was hardly a failure.  It received a positive review from the New York Times and played at several art house theatres in the city upon its release.  Still, Kubrick did his best to squash the film, with mostly succesful results.  Today the film is largely forgotten except by Kubrick completists, who’ve had to scramble for bootleg copies.

Kicking off their monthly series “George Eastman’s Attic”, the American Cinematheque at the Egyptian in Hollywood will be screening a print of
Fear and Desire from the Eastman archive.  Founded in 1949, The George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film is one of the world’s premiere film archives, and is now home to over 30,000 titles.  The screening begins at 7:30 with two shorts from silent pioneer George Melies.

The Egyptian Theatre is located at 6712 Hollywood Blvd.

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