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Paths of Glory
Year:
1957
Country:
USA
Genre:
Crime, Drama, War
IMDB rating:
8.5
Director:
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.
Type Resolution File Size Codec Bitrate Format
720p 1184x720 px 4474 Mb h264 192 Kbps mkv Download
DVD-rip 512x368 px 701 Mb msmpeg4 1167 Kbps avi Download
Reviews
Less an anti-war movie than an anti-World-War-One movie--but it sure works for me
For me, the most compelling thing about this film is that is is based on actual occurrences: French troops did refuse to attack at one point during this most insane and pointless of wars. The movie certainly makes no attempt to be objective--and why on earth should it? From the perspective of the 21st century, it is hard to imagine a more immoral and outrageous event than World War One--in which an entire generation of several nations was led to slaughter for no detectable reason, except the pique of a group of so-called Great Nations whose era was deservedly coming to an end. Though I cannot comment authoritatively on how realistic the war scenes or the military protocol is--nor, I suspect, can anyone else living in this day--I found the battle scenes devastating, the dialogue often riveting, and the final scene extremely affecting. It would be best to see this film on a big screen, but it's worth seeing however you can. Kubrick might not have attained full mastery of his craft when he made this one, but he was still head and shoulders above most of his contemporaries. I have a slight preference for Grand Illusion as a film about the insanity of war, but this runs it a respectably close second.
2003-03-05
Scary.
It really is a testament to the power of the story told by this film that it stars the French army and they all speak nothing but English, and yet it is still be incredibly moving and compelling. On the other hand, the movie is not really about war but about the soldiers, kind of like Full Metal Jacket. It is structured almost exactly the opposite, with the first half of the film taking place on the battlefield and the second half off. Kirk Douglas plays Col. Dax, whose platoon is ordered to take a hill called the Anthill against staggering odds, almost surely a suicide mission.

As the men rush out of the trenches in an attempt to complete the mission, I was reminded of Gallipoli as they were all mowed down within feet of exiting the trenches. It becomes clear that the mission is, ahem, impossible, and is abandoned. Where the movie is truly great is in its characterizations and the complexity of their relationships with one another. Watch, for example, the roles that certain characters play at the beginning and where they end up near the end of the film, such as the General who ordered soldiers to fire on their own men and the man who abandons two of his men on a watch, resulting in one of their deaths and the subsequent court martial and trial of the other. The situations that they end up in are what make the movie powerful.

Clearly, the accepted forms of punishment for failing to accomplish a mission are frightening. I have no idea how accurate they are as to French military practices at the time, but for three soldiers to be taken at random and tried and sentenced to death because their entire platoon failed in an impossible mission is scary indeed. I wonder how they would have handled a few soldiers who refused to go on a mission to deliver contaminated gasoline because the vehicles had almost no armor on them whatsoever.

What is truly amazing to me is that Kubrick was able to make a movie about massive military injustice and still make the audience laugh at certain times. The cockroach scene, for example, is wonderful comic relief. You get a good laugh without losing sight of the drama and the importance of the rest of the film.

It is not uncommon to read that this is the greatest anti-war film of all time, and while there are other anti-war films that I think rank right up there with Paths of Glory, this certainly is one of the greatest ever made.
2005-01-31
Kirk kicks butt!
The film was remarkably quick, not even 90 minutes in length, but being a very young director at the time, I'd say Kubrick filled it well. It almost reminds me of the earlier "The Life of Emile Zola" (1937) with Paul Muni because of the corruption that exists in the French army, and how someone like the character played by Kirk Douglas can stand up to it even in the face of death itself. I work at a video store and some of my customers that watch numerous classic movies like I do said that they thought this was Kirk Douglas' finest hour (and 26 minutes). They were right. But this isn't his only great picture, he's got plenty to offer in just about every film he's been in right from the beginning of his career. If you are a newcomer to Douglasania, this is a great movie to start off with.
2004-01-19
Brilliant War Film.
Stanly Kubrick's "Paths of Glory" (1957) is one of the very few First Wold War movies. I my opinion, the reason is that the death in WW1 was unbelievable. On the the first day alone in The Battle of the Somme (1916), the British suffered 57,470 casualties, including 19,240 dead, the single most bloodiest day in the history of the British Army - and remember, this was before the Atomic Bomb. Hollywood would probably not be able to tackle something so grim and depressing (althouh Hollywood might do a WW1 film nowadays, especially after such films as "Shinderlers List" and "Saving Privet Ryan") when Hollywood mainly deals in escapism. And that what makes "Paths of Glory" so unusual. Seen from the French's point of view, it has three French solders being executed after taking lots because their unit is found guilty of cowardice while trying to take a German controlled hill, called the "Ant Hill". Kirk Douglas gives a fantastic performance as "Colonel Dax" and so do Adolphe Menjou and George Macready. Stanly Kubrick's first masterpiece, and one definitely one to watch.
2009-04-04
Early Kubrick film displays his profound skills of storytelling in film in remarkable and poignant World War One film.
I have placed this early Kubrick anti-war statement on my top ten list both for its originality, great acting, compelling story line, plot twists, and surprisingly beautiful and inspired ending. This one is a heart-breaker account of a moment in history that repeated itself endlessly in that horrific bloodfest called the trenches of World War I. To some extent Kubrick returned to the theme in various ways with Full Metal Jacket, but Kirk Douglas as Colonel Dax is perfect here, demonstrating the challenge of maintaining honor within a system that has turned values on its head. It is a crisis in the life and career of Colonel Dax, who has lived by the watchword of Duty with a capital D throughout his career, but has remained idealistic and faithful to his men. The army's absurd effort to capture "the Anthill" results in a tear in the fabric of his idealism. The ugliness he sees is an eye opener for both Dax and the audience, who sees the truth with tragic clarity.

Colonel Dax, identifying with his men, is an inspiration in contrast to an empty culture of power and prestige with no ethical base.
2006-11-06
A remarkable anti-war film that retains its impact decades after its release.
The film is beautifully performed, staged, photographed, cut and scored. In 1916 in the French trenches, three soldiers are court-martialled for cowardice by officers who want to use their case to instil discipline into the ranks.

Paths Of Glory is an incisive melodrama chiefly depicting the corruption and incompetence of the high command; the plight of the soldiers is less interesting. The trench scenes are unforgettably vivid, and the rest is shot in genuine castles, with resultant difficulties of lighting and recording; the overall result is an overpowering piece of cinema.
2010-07-23
One to Remember
This film is a treasure. I first saw it in the local movie house in Ashland, Oregon, in my second season with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The theater owner screened it for one night only, I believe, as an "art film" that might appeal to a small off-beat crowd. The whole Shakespeare company showed up, and we were enthralled by the acting and stunned and moved by Kubrick's lean, masterful story of an historical cover-up perpetrated by autocratic generals in collusion with lower-ranking opportunists and cowards. Based on a blatant miscarriage of justice in the French army of World War I, the film had a powerful impact on our generation--in the post-Korea, pre-Vietnam era. It is a classic indictment of the corruption of men in war. I believe it holds up very well and that no one who sees it at the right time of their life will ever forget it.
2006-03-07
The greatest anti-war statement
The most scathing indictment of the military mentality and war in general ever put on film. This film should be required viewing for all cadets in every military school.

It is understandable why this movie was banned for so many years in France. The French military establishment is still recovering from the Dreyfus Affair.

This is an emotionally draining movie throughout...but the end scene manages to give you some "hope" for the human race!

Thank you Stanley!
2000-01-25
This film is very good, but not as good as the ratings on IMDb
I think this movie has a myth surrounding it. The myth has grown bigger over the years.

I find this film very good, but not as good as the ratings on IMDb. The story is rather simplistic and so are the characters. No doubt about it who is bad and who is good.

But that is fine by me. The story grabs you and you feel sorry for the poor soldiers who are used as cannon meat, shown by the scenes on the battlefield, and you hate the generals who think nothing of their men as tin soldiers. I felt really frustrated when the 3 soldiers were on trial. This movie makes you feel with the characters and sucks you into the story. It shows the cruelty and the insanity of war. The same things Kubrick shows in Full Metal Jacket. The way the soldiers end is not happy but the last scenes of the movie give a spark of hope which can be a little bit silly for some viewers, which I understand, but I liked the ending.

It is a good court drama, with great acting and I like these kind of films. And because it is about a war where there are too little films about and because it is a classic and the film is made by Kubrick, I too might just give it a little bit too much credit.
2004-12-28
A strong anti-war statement
Stanley Kubrick's 1957 war film, "Paths of Glory" based on a novel of the same name by Humphrey Cobb is more of an anti-war statement. Hence, calling it a 'war film' wouldn't be right, as it does not lie in the same category as other war films, plot-wise.

The film is set during World War I. The story focuses on the war between the French and the Germans. General Mireau (George Macready) sends his division headed by Colonel Dax (Kirk Douglas) on a suicidal mission to take over a prominent German position called "Anthill". Initially Mireau is reluctant to carry out this task, but is enticed by an offer of promotion from his superiors. With this in mind, he practically forces Dax to begin with the mission. Col. Dax, also aware of the danger associated with the mission, points the same out to Mireau but Mireau does not relent.

Sure enough, the mission ends in disaster and what follows next is the crux of this powerful story.

What happens when these men in the very same army, defending the same country, from the same regiment turn against each other? What happens when some superior officers get greedy and selfish and stop valuing human life, more so, the lives of their own soldiers? "Paths of Glory" goes deep in the psyche of these men, both superiors and subordinates and makes a strong statement on what war does to them.

"Paths of Glory" was just a modest success commercially, I've read. It comes as a surprise, considering the screenplay by Stanley Kubrick, Calder Willingham and Jim Thompson is spell-binding, to say the least. Kubrick directs with his touch of genius and creates a tremendous impact. The first scene of attack on Anthill is so masterfully shot, you actually feel you are in the field of battle! Ditto for the rest of the film when things take an unexpected turn for some of the less fortunate soldiers. Every frame of this picture is gripping, right 'til the final one.

Kirk Douglas delivers a fabulous performance as Colonel Dax. His helplessness and the growing frustration about the greedy and corrupt army officers and the overall futility of the system is so convincing, it creates a lasting impression. This is one earnest and unforgettable performance by the legendary actor.

George Macready lends a great supporting act as the selfish, cut-throat General Mireau. So do others, including Wayne Morris, Ralph Meeker, Joe Turkel and Timothy Carey.

A special mention here, of Mrs. Kubrick (Christiane Kubrick) who makes an appearance for a short scene to sing the haunting German folk song, 'The Faithful Hussar'. She appears in a scene towards the end in what could be one of the best and most haunting endings I've ever seen in film.

"Paths of Glory" may not be as popular as some of Stanley Kubrick's later films, but it is definitely one of his best.
2010-10-14
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