Stanley Kubrick’s first feature, the rarely seen 1953 existential war movie “Fear and Desire,” will be going out globally to 75 countries via iTunes following a deal struck with Apple by Italo specialty label Raro Video, marking a rare case of a vintage pic getting such wide digital distribution.
Though Kubrick reportedly called “Fear and Desire” a “bumbling amateur film exercise” and therefore didn’t want it to circulate, pic was restored in HD after his passing in 1999, by the Library of Congress from archival 35mm elements and released on Blu-ray and DVD by Kino Lorber in the U.S. in 2012.
In March of 2013 Kino Lorber pacted with Raro Video, becoming their U.S. distributor, while Raro took on some of Kino’s titles internationally.
Under the deal, inked by Raro in July, “Fear and Desire” is being sub-titled in 25 languages, including Japanese, Arabic, Spanish and Chinese. At the moment the Chinese sub-titles serve to target Kubrick fans in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan, but not in mainland China where iTunes is not present, Raro co-chief exec Gianluca Curti said. “Fear” is also being dubbed in five launguges, including Italian, French, and German.
The global iTunes release of “Fear” is planned for mid-November.
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Curti said the deal was a prelude to other Raro titles going out worldwide via iTunes.
The self-produced “Fear” was shot in 1952, when Kubrick was 24, on a reported $40,000 budget.
It stars, among others, Paul Mazursky before he became a helmer, and Frank Silvera, who also appeared in Kubrick’s next pic the 1955 “Killer’s Kiss.”
When “Fear” was first released theatrically in the U.S., Variety called it “a literate, unhackneyed war drama, outstanding for its fresh camera treatment and poetic dialog.”
In Italy, Raro this summer micro-released the restored version of Kubrick’s debut theatrically, grossing $120,000 in three days.
A prominent European label for global vintage and cutting-edge pics, Raro Video is best known for its carefully curated library of Italian cinema classics, including, Michelangelo Antonioni’s “The Vanquished,” Federico Fellini’s “The Clowns,” and Luchino Visconti’s “Conversation Piece.
Launched in 1999 with Andy Warhol’s underground pic “The Chelsea Girls” by brothers Stefano and Gianluca Curti as an offshoot of their Rome-based Minerva Pictures, Raro now handles more than 250 international titles and has offices in Italy and the U.S.