Kubrick’s debut feature tells the story of a war waged between two forces. In the midst of the conflict, a plane carrying four soldiers crashes behind enemy lines. From here out, it is kill or be killed.
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I have finally seen Kubrick's delightfully-titeld debut, and am happy to assert that it is leagues better than his subsequent feature. Many posters here take it to task for its editing, which perplexes me. I love the way it is cut. But the real show of force here is in the mise en scène. Kubrick has a staggeringly good eye. This is a pure abstraction of a Sam Fuller war movie. The opening voice-over excuses much.
It's not as horrible as that early one you had of Orson Welles. This is just something for the completists and historians. There might be a reason he didn't want it seen, and it's not like Kafka, who thought all his stuff should have been burned.
Kubrick was right in trying to bury his first effort realizing that the limited editing tricks and offbeat touches didn't compensate for the amateurish filmmaking and inane scripting. An interesting black mark on a stellar filmography. Might be more interesting to watch under the influence or perhaps a drinking game of some kind.
Sure, it sullies his record for perfection, but who wants perfection? I find the early amateur films of masters fascinating and inspiring. Don't compare this to 2001 or even The Killing—just look at other B war movies of 1953 and you'll see what Kubrick added: psychosexual dementia, Beckettian lunacy, brilliant close-ups, and bizarre dopplegangers. Rough as hell but evocative. From the start he had something to say.
Stanley Kubrick's first feature film, about a group of soldiers who crash behind enemy lines, and after stumbling upon an enemy base, hatch a plot to assassinate the enemy general. A bit stiff, with a few awkward performances, but Kubrick's early interest in psychological deterioration and descents into madness is on full display. Great use of light and shadow as well as Soviet style editing.
The editing is sometimes crude, and the writing heavy-handed at times - but it's still an intense, sometimes surreal potboiler with striking imagery in Kubrick's great moody black and white photography. A classic that clearly illustrates Kubrick's budding genius.