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Paths of Glory
Crime, Drama, War
IMDB rating:
Stanley Kubrick
Kirk Douglas as Col. Dax
Ralph Meeker as Cpl. Philippe Paris
Adolphe Menjou as Gen. George Broulard
George Macready as Gen. Paul Mireau
Wayne Morris as Lt. Roget / Singing man
Richard Anderson as Maj. Saint-Auban
Joe Turkel as Pvt. Pierre Arnaud (as Joseph Turkel)
Christiane Kubrick as German singer (as Susanne Christian)
Jerry Hausner as Proprietor of cafe
Peter Capell as Narrator of opening sequence / Judge (colonel) of court-martial
Emile Meyer as Father Dupree
Bert Freed as Sgt. Boulanger
Kem Dibbs as Pvt. Lejeune
Timothy Carey as Pvt. Maurice Ferol
Storyline: The futility and irony of the war in the trenches in WWI is shown as a unit commander in the French army must deal with the mutiny of his men and a glory-seeking general after part of his force falls back under fire in an impossible attack.
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720p 1184x720 px 4474 Mb h264 192 Kbps mkv Download
DVD-rip 512x368 px 701 Mb msmpeg4 1167 Kbps avi Download
tremendously gut-wrenching drama
In 1916 during WW1 French soldiers refused to complete a suicidal attack on an enemy position and retreated to their trenches. So three soldiers are chosen from their platoon to be sentenced to death for cowardice as they have supposedly disgraced the French flag.

This is one outstanding anti-war film by Stanley Kubrick, definitely one of his best films… if not his best, well maybe behind 'A Clockwork Orange' ;). The performances from Kirk Douglas as the compassionately loyal Col. Dax who is furious about the decision and tries his best to defend his men, Adolphe Menjou as the crazed Gen. George Broulard who has no desire but to see his men punished, Ralph Meeker as the courageous Cpl. Philip Paris one of the three man who is on trail and George Macready as the unsympathetic Gen. Paul Mireau are simply brilliant and downright absorbing in their roles.

The story itself extremely packs a bite and captures the intensity of the in-humane situation; because of one failure the soldiers pay the consequences, with their earlier good deeds going unnoticed. By this, it showed us the bitter crookedness and incompetence that is found in the military hierarchy, not portraying the heroics- but the nastier side of war, though in our eyes the soldiers are definitely courageous not matter what the superiors think and what fate they shall receive and Kubrick portrays it greatly.

In the plot the soldier's fates seem to play more second fiddle to the confrontation between the military's superiors of this judgement, while the downbeat ending is truly powerful and captures the true spirit of war. The film is beautifully shot and the score is overwhelming to a great extend. The look of the film (trenches and castles) is vividly rich in detail and as well quite horrifying in capturing the mood of war and the unpleasantness that the soldiers face from their superiors and not just their enemies.

What you get from Kubrick is a compelling and touching piece of film art. This is no-action packed movie- but intense and thought-provoking dialogue and performances is what drives this film.
A French tragedy without any French in sight.
Let me state from the beginning that this film shows, on one hand, that there was a time when Kubrick's movies had a soul, a feeling--something they were losing along the years and of which there was nothing left at the time he made Clockwork Orange--and that he, once more, tackled here a subject he knew little about. And I'm talking about the French as a people; or the French military, the military in general. (I can't imagine any place, any country, where a general would behave in such a way as Broulard did in two occasions with Dax--trying to justify his decisions in front of a subordinate--or that this subordinate could give him such a stern lecture without suffering any consequence.) But let's start with the French.

I think it's important to address the subject of the idiosyncrasy, the mentality, of the French, as radically different from that of the men shown in this movie—Anglo Saxons--to explain my lack of interest and emotional involvement while watching it. If you really know French people you cannot bring yourself to take POG seriously. Why? Firstly, the Americans--as Kubrick--are the kings of the black and white; the champions of the rather reductionist POV of absolute and opposed categories. They have the perennial tendency to separate good and bad, nice and not-nice, beautiful and ugly, etc. The French, instead, are the kings of nuance; for them everything in this world is relative, depending of your POV; and much more than seeking the absolute true, they love arguing about it. If you know that already you'll take POG for what really is, a film made by Anglosaxons for Anglosaxon audiences. See how everyone here is totally good or totally bad, there are no nuances. So much so, the only thing missing here is a sign over everybody's head, indicating to which group he belongs. And in the midst of it all, the idealistic, throughly courageous all American hero—Kirk "look at my gorgeous torso" Douglas--the only one who keeps his confident smile while marching onwards along the trenches, while all others cower and stick themselves to the dirt walls for their dear lives. That's not the French; that's not even reality but pure, unadulterated, Hollywood trite. We are invited in this movie...sorry we are taken firmly by the hand, and dragged if necessary, to convene that all the generals are awful, that they are a miserable and despicable gang of rascals, while the soldiers are pure, immaculate, victims. Maybe so, and maybe what happens here can occur any day in any country but that's not the point. The point is that there's no nuance. Maybe if this movie had been done by the French the plot would have been just the same, but to arrive to the execution climax many things would have have happened before; things would have happened that didn't happen here. See, the French love to talk, they love to argue and most of all, they love philosophizing. The direct, to--the--point, discussions we see her between Dax and both generals would have turned instead into intense arguments on the nature of good and evil, about the essence of duty in even its most abstract meaning; on the true value of human existence, and so on. The French love to talk about all those things and they would have profited of every occasion to do it, even the condemned men. Instead of that phony, contrived, moaning and lamenting of Ferol in his way to the sand bags he would have kept asking the priest abut the possible existence of life after death, or arguing with him about the same thing, or he would have completely lost himself in some Camus--like musings about Nothingness and the overall futility of human existence. What Kubrick presents us in his film had nothing to do with all that; the French mentality, idiosyncrasy, are nowhere to be seen here. What we got here is nothing but a bunch of Anglo Saxons taking a French story and playing it their own way. Anglo Saxons are far less expressive, far more stoic than the French. They are rather practical, realist, and fully anchored in the physical world. For them to die is the most horrifying thing that may happen to a human being; the end of everything, something to grieve and be sad for and not, in any way, to use as an occasion or excuse for philosophizing or for abstract discussions on human nature. That's why this Ferol moans so much—because he got nothing to say—and that's why I couldn't get into POG.

Concerning the movie as a Kubrick work I'm not the first to mention that already here we start noticing his usual, future, trademarks: the long tracking camera, following a general, a Colonel, in the trenches, for what it seems the whole 500 miles of the Western Front—and that for absolutely no reason at all. That's the kind of camera trick his fans adore--for some inscrutable reason--but which we, the no-fans, hate. Ditto for the moving around of the characters, for no other reason than to show us the sumptuous surrounding he wants them to be floating in--the best ex. of it being that first meeting of the two generals, which includes even a ridiculous dance around a flower vase and then a walk towards a mirror. Mercifully the scene was cut there, as I was fearing that at any moment both generals would embrace each other and start waltzing.

Contrived, stereotypical, artificial--especially the waltzing party, where I could even picture the extras standing on their respective spots, waiting for the director's cue. Most of all, with very little French flavor in it, if any at all. By far the best scene and probably the most beautiful in all of Kubrick's career, the German girl singing to the soldiers. Sublime. Only for that, 6/10
Stanley Kubirck and Kirk Douglas at their very best!
Stanley Kubrick's 1957 masterpiece is a movie that looks fresh and sharper than most of today's movies. The story follows the french army during the days of the first world war. General George Boulard (Adolphe Menjou) has an impossible mission for his subordinate Gen. Paul Mireau (a vicious George Macready) who knows the high risk of such mission but takes it because he was promised to get another star after accomplishing the mission. The mission is to take on the "Ant Hill", a territory that for some reason is valuable to the high ranks. Kirk Douglas plays the part of The field commander Col. Dax, a man who unlike his fellow officers, has a decency towards his soldiers but can't save them from the cruelty lack of justice of the military system which is built only to protect the commanding officers. There are some cynical and sharp dialogs (something that's often missing from todays movies) delivered perfectly by all actors. Kirk Douglas is in top form here and brings a memorable performance. There isn't any dull or wasted moments here, every scene is significant and will keep you glued to your seat. Overall it's a fascinating classic that is well worth watching. Highly Recommended 10/10
I apologize...for not watching this sooner!
Let me preface this review by stating that if anyone has seen Paths of Glory and afterward is unable, for whatever cockamamie reason, to give the biggest kudos to Stanley Kubrick's writing and directing work, then he/she quite simply is swine before whom those of us in the know ought not to cast our pearls.

The film is a masterpiece. From the brilliant choice to shoot in black and white cinematography (thus giving a gritty, darker feel to the entire story, and refraining from sugarcoating the absolutely hellish experience that trench warfare must have been), to the effective use of zoom-ins, to the short, poignant dialogues, and to the generally minimalistic approach to the anti-war message of the screenplay--it all mixes together incredibly. Kubrick could have spent hours of celluloid on the finer illogical points of military court martial trials as well as on the horrors of battle. Instead he wrapped the total package in some 87 minutes, credits included.

Though there were several memorable scenes (the battle in question itself, the kangaroo court, the priest's trite comments while administering last rites to those sentenced to execution, the conversation between Col. Dax and the commanding General), the shot that sticks in my mind occurs soon after the lovely German acquisition has very reluctantly and almost inaudibly began to sing "The Faithful Soldier". Kubrick cuts back to the previously heckling, boisterous crowd of French soldiers. On their faces the spirit of superficial revelry fades away to a much stronger force--that of human understanding and compassion--and the appreciation of innocence and beauty. The things good and true for which these men thrust their lives on the line to defend. Such evocative images are what make the many sins committed by the modern motion picture industry tolerable--perhaps even forgiveable.
One of the greatest anti-war movies eve
This movie, along with the original screen version of "All Quiet on the Western Front" must rank as one of the most tragic versions of what war is really like. The arrogance and total disregard for the welfare of the soldier as beautifully portrayed by Menjou and McReady, in opposition to the care and concern of the Colonel so humanly portrayed by Douglas adds to the reality of what the world was like in the days of the "Great War." Additionally, the roles played by Wayne Morris, Ralph Meeker and the self serving aide to McReady add to the greatness of this memorable motion picture. There is no "Viva La France" here.
What could I possibly add to the culture or knowledge of this film? To me, on certain days, this is Kubrick's finest achievement. Without a doubt this is the most impactful anti-war film ever produced. Kubrick i employs an unwaveringly documentarian approach in recounting this fictionalized amalgam of what could have been any battle on the Western Front. Portraying the ruthless mundanity and senseless destruction of human life in those trenches is done so effectively that he's succeeded in making such an abhorrent level of violence seem routine. You accept it as a norm. Something that we should never let it become. But we have , we have to in order to devote full and complete attention to the mental insanity that is unfolding in the upper ranks of France's military-industrial complex. A Dance of Death is unfolding over the failure of yet another Offensive. Heads must roll. Three enlisted men are essentially randomly selected for summary execution before a Firing Squad. During the battle and desperate to make good on his predictions for a glorious French victory over the hated Huns, an order is issued to the French artillery gunners .Confused, the targeting Corporal requests confirmation of the coordinates. Surely this must be an error. These numbers would put all of our largest shells right on top of our own French positions!! Timothy Carey plays one of the three enlisted men. Pvt. Maurice Ferol. The man was born to play this role. Carey's delivery is the most devastating Supporting Actor performance I've ever witnessed on the big screen. I'm neither kidding you nor am I exaggerating. Tell me if I'm wrong, go ahead and tell me.
Anti-war cinema at its most powerful
Paths of Glory is one of the two war movies Stanley Kubrick directed throughout a splendid career (the other being Full Metal Jacket). And though at first sight these films may seem very different, they share a vital key theme: the futility of war and the monstrous effects it has on the human psyche.

In the case of FMJ, the monstrosity is shown through the actions of Pvt. Pyle (Vincent D' Onofrio) and Joker (Matthew Modine), both mentally scarred by the teachings of sadistic Sgt. Hartman (R. Lee Ermey). In Paths, however, the dreadful actions do not take place on the battlefield, but in a courtroom: it is in that courtroom that three randomly selected French soldiers (the context is WWI) are to be court-martial-ed, the charges being cowardliness and refusal to accomplish the mission assigned to them. What the prosecutors don't know is that the mission in question (attacking the Anthill) would have resulted in a bloodbath on the French side and that Gen. Mireau (George MacReady), who ordered the attack and also insisted on holding the trial, was so disappointed he actually asked one of his men to shoot the retreating soldiers. The only person who seems to understand what is really going on is Col. Dax (Kirk Douglas), and it is his difficult job to convince his superiors of the necessity of the squad's behavior.

Anyone who is even vaguely acquainted with Kubrick knows this is not going to be a fairy tale: Paths of Glory is one of the most effective anti-war films ever made because it is not afraid to expose the more rotten aspects of what happens in these situations (and it invites comparison with the M*A*S*H episode where Alan Alda makes a documentary and says :"This is no way to end a movie, I know that, but war is no movie"). The director openly criticizes the very nature of conflict by immediately taking Dax's side, showing that he, unlike Mireau who admires the size of the trenches (one of the most beautiful of Kubrick's many tracking shots) and only wants to be remembered as a great general, is more concerned about bringing his men back home as unharmed as possible, putting glory aside.

One scene in particular supports the filmmakers'point more than anything else: the trial. While the prosecutor just wants to have the three soldiers sentenced to death and barely pays attention to them, Dax (played with solemn authority by Douglas) allows them to explain what actually occurred during the attack and uses this to openly express his contempt for what the war has done to everyone around him, depriving them of any reason and consideration for human life. That one powerful and upsetting sequence proves beyond any doubt that any war, no matter how noble it may be in its organizer's intentions, is totally and utterly incapable of bringing any real profit: all that results is hatred and greed.

Kubrick directed nine more pictures after this one, and all of them dealt on some level with the frailty of humanity and its inevitable decline. Dr. Strangelove, A Clockwork Orange and Full Metal Jacket aside, though, none of them, however perfect, resonates with as much anger and relevance as Paths of Glory.
Should be required viewing for everyone
I saw this on video back in the 80's, and my buddy and I were the only ones in the room. Two big burly guys wiping the tears from our eyes...If the execution doesn't get to you, the final scene at the bar will. This stands out as the first movie I ever cried in as an adult. And I'm not ashamed to admit it (although "Big Fish" also got to me recently). Everyone should see this movie--yes it's full of despair, yes it portrays a cynical view of the world (not just war)--and yes, it is very depressing. But it's also very powerful in its beauty, and it does offer a ray of hope, however slight it may be. I know it's based on actual events, so I would like to know more about the actual incident that did occur, nonetheless, it's well worth seeing, more than once!
The Men Died Gloriously!
Spoilers Ahead:

This is an antiwar film but much more it is the usual Kubrick treatise on the boundless mendacity and evil that is the core of human beings. The header spoken by Mireau after the executions contains the lesson of the film in a microcosm. The execution was a performance whose goal it is to service the advancement of Mireau. The war has been reduced to a sick, depraved game of musical chairs with Broulard the master of ceremonies. He, wrongly, thinks Dax is the typical back stabbing junior officer looking to move up the hard way. Broulard is overjoyed for Mireau is an imbecile. He now, behind the scenes, begins gathering the evidence of Mireau ordering his own men to fire artillery at their own retreating troops. What Stanley wants you to see is that the war is irrelevant and forgotten; it has deteriorated into a stalemate. For a few yards, and hundreds of dead you can make of yourself an officer, stepping carefully over the dead bodies. All the aspects of the war, including the military tribunal, have been irreparably corrupted into instruments of ambition. The trial is over before it began. Dax and the rest of us watch in amusement as the martinets go through the motions, just enough subterfuge so they can sleep at night.

Kubrick always has the same theme whatever the superficial topic appears to be: man lives in a dream about what he is; he believes, fervently, that he is a deeply rational, moral being. The painful truth is his rationality is but a patina of useless rationalizations for his irrational strivings; he will always be the savage primitive of 2001. Here, watch how all the conduct of war is centered not on the putative, rational goal of winning the war; no, it is all instrumentalities for corrupting and advancing one's career. Look at the look of great sympathy upon Broulard's face when he discovers, to his horror, that Dax values the lives of his men. Good heavens, the poor fool, that is why he went after Mireau not to advance his career. Broulard tells him he pities him for being such a foolish idealist to bother about trivialities like people's lives.

What is the scene at the end there for? The ineffable sadness we must all bear at the weight upon our shoulders of the fathomless cruelty and irrationality of man. She cannot be understood but her sadness speaks to every one of us. The crushing weight of every day lowering the bar another notch of what man does to another man. Stanley shares our sadness; he is out there with them. The words matter not, we all share the sorrow of human existence. It is one of the most moving and powerful scenes Stanely ever made; it is a fitting motif for creatures who care only that the men died gloriously. Now, I can get that promotion. You will not whistle a happy tune after watching it but perhaps, you will learn from Kubrick to see the gorgon in the face. It may even make you decide that you will be different, no matter what the cost. A MASTERPIECE

"We Shall Leave This World As Foolish And As Wicked As We Found It."

Madness and Patsies Crash Together In Kubrick's Explosive Thunderbolt.
Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory is holding up rather well these days, in fact it's as pertinent and relevant as ever.

It's 1916 and the French and German armies are in opposing mud trenches, when the French are ordered to undertake a suicidal assault on a German held hill, many of the soldiers are quick to realise it's an impossible order to see through to its conclusion and retreat, something which brings charges of cowardice from the military hierarchy. Someone must take the fall...

Withdrawn from circulation in France at one time, unreleased in Spain as well, Paths of Glory is a shattering indictment on military hierarchy. On those General types who watch from afar through telescopic sights as men and boys are led like lambs to the slaughter, then off they go to their dinning rooms to gorge on wine and wholesome meat, the stench of rotting flesh as bad on their breaths as it is out there in no man's land. But it's OK for the war effort, while there might even be a promotion for some lucky soul in nice trousers...

A two-parter, the film was adapted from the novel written by Humphrey Cobb. The first half follows the craziness of the attack, the horrors of war brutally realised as Kubrick and cinematographer Georg Krause bring out the worry and simmering anger that jostle for the soldier's souls. The camera is cold and calculating, thus perfect for the material to hand, it leads the viewers - with skillful fluidity - through the bleakness of the trenches and the desolation of no man's land, the former a foreboding place, the latter an atrocity exhibition as bodies get flayed and shattered, while others retreat with limbs or sanity barely intact.

Second part shifts to a legally based procedural as the Generals conspire to make an example of those who retreated. Cowardice and a dereliction of duty apparently means the firing squad must save the integrity of the army. Patsies are lined up, but their Colonel (a superb Kirk Douglas) wants to defend them, there's much sweat, tears and anger, accusations hurled, and mistakes once again proving insurmountable. Which leads to the astonishing finale, heartbreaking whilst inducing fury, and crowned by an elegiac song that brings tears for characters and viewers alike.

A monochrome masterpiece full of technical skills, towering performances and writing to die for, Paths of Glory, candidate for one of the greatest anti-military films ever crafted. 10/10
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