Paths of Glory (1957) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: 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. Runtime: 88 mins Release Date: 24 Oct 1957
The most realistic, most emotionally draining, and most beautifully photographed movie ever made about trench warfare in WW I. (by hptaylor)
I think that Stanley Kubrick is the greatest of all film directors, and in my opinion "Paths of Glory" is Kubrick's best film because:1. It is FAR AND AWAY the most realistic, most emotionally draining, and most beautifully photographed movie ever made about trench warfare in WW I, which has to be considered to be one of the significant episodes in all of human history. The story is fiction, but the events are patterned after some actual mutinies in the French army that took place in 1917.2. I first saw this film 46 years ago, and it not only made me an avid Kubrick fan for the <more>
rest of my life, it made me want to watch it over and over again -- more than 250 times over the years, and every time I see it, I cry at the end when Kubrick's future wife, and the only woman in the film, sings "The Faithful Hussar", causing the audience of French soldiers to change from a jeering crowd to a hushed, teary-eyed group of lonely men .3. Everything about the movie is PERFECT!! There are no flaws in the acting, the pace of the movie, the photography, the dialogue, etc. Scene after scene is more powerful and ironic than the preceding one, building to a shattering climax. It is simply a gem.4. Try as I might to think of actors that could have been substituted in their places, I think the casting for each and every part in the movie really could not have been any better. No one could have been better in their respective roles than George Macready, Adolphe Menjou, Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, and all of the others. Many of these actors appear in Kubrick's other films.5. Has there ever been a better scene than the one in which one of the condemned soldiers Ralph Meeker stares at this cockroach and cries that tomorrow that bug will still be alive and he will be dead. Whereupon one of the other condemned men the fatalistic Timothy Carey squashes the cockroach and says "Now you got the edge on him".6. You could probably change a few things in most of Kubrick's other masterpieces to slightly improve them, but I DEFY anyone to single out anything in "Paths of Glory" that could be improved upon. I could go on and on raving about the beauty and pathos of this film, but I think I will stop here.
Kubrick--a fully-formed genius in 1957. (by Hermit C-2)
At only 29 years of age and in only his second major studio release, Stanley Kubrick showed the world that he was a force to be reckoned with. By the time he died 42 years later his films were epochal events waited for breathlessly by his large band of devotees who considered him a director without equal. He seldom disappointed them.This movie is set in World War I amidst the incredibly destructive and futile trench warfare between France and Germany. Kirk Douglas plays Frenchman Colonel Dax, who is ordered to make an impossible assault on a heavily-fortified enemy position. The only reason <more>
this charge is being made is that his commanding general, played by George Macready, believes that capturing the position will earn him a promotion. When the assault does not go forward under heavy enemy bombardment, the general is infuriated and demands that three men be arbitrarily chosen to stand trial for cowardice, an offense punishable by death. Col. Dax defends these men at their court-martial.The battle and trial scenes are about as good as have ever been filmed and the high level of tension is sustained throughout the movie. After the film's climax has occurred, Col. Dax goes looking for his troops and finds them relaxing at a cafe. What he and the viewer witness there is possibly the most affecting scene I've ever seen on screen.Looking at this film in perspective, it's easy to see Kubrick's trademarks even at this early stage of his career. The attention to the composition of his shots reflects his background as a still photographer and foreshadows his other great films to come. I find myself most impressed today with the way he could handle a dramatic story like this one without any innovative techniques or unusual special effects to hide behind, then turn around and make such totally different films like '2001...' and 'Dr. Strangelove...' Other films like 'The Shining' and 'Barry Lyndon' combined a strong story line with breakthrough film techniques. His versatility astonishes me.Adolphe Menjou also stars as the general who convinces Dax's superior officer to risk the ill-fated charge. Ralph Meeker, Timothy Carey and Joe Turkel give strong performances as the men on trial. Turkel turns up 23 years later in another Kubrick film, 'The Shining,' playing the bartender.You can take your pick: 'Paths of Glory' can rightly be described as one of the greatest war movies of all, or one of the great anti-war films, or as one of Kubrick's best. Or simply one of the best, period.
Almost one hundred years later the concept of that static war of the trenches that was the Western front of World War I is almost unfathomable. After the French army stopped the German offensive at the Battle of the Marne, the French and British armies faced the Germans in a line of trenches that stretched from Belgium to Switzerland. About a quarter of France was occupied for four years in that time. The casualties ran into the millions in that stalemate that gains were only measured in meters.It was always just one more offensive over the top charging into automatic weapon fire that would <more>
break the other guy. Just such an offensive was planned one day in 1916 against a German stronghold dubbed the ant hill. General George MacReady, promised a promotion by his superior Adolphe Menjou, orders a beaten and tired battalion to charge the ant hill. The attack flops and MacReady looks for scapegoats. He decides after coming down from shooting 100 men to a selected three drawn by lot. The unlucky three are Joseph Turkel, Ralph Meeker, and Timothy Carey.The commander of the three Kirk Douglas asks to serve as their counsel and he makes a good show of it at the kangaroo court martial they have. But the fix is definitely in.Except for Spartacus, Kirk Douglas rarely plays straight up heroic types in film. Even his good guys have an edge to them, a dark side. But as Colonel Dax, Douglas is at his most heroic. He may be one dimensional here, but he's great. Especially in that last scene with Adolphe Menjou when he tells the man off in no uncertain terms, mainly because Menjou has misread Douglas's motives. Menjou and Macready portray two different military types. The arrogant MacReady as versus the very sly Menjou. Not very admirable either of them. Menjou was not very popular at this time in Hollywood because of the blacklist. He favored it very much, his politics were of the extreme right wing. Nevertheless he was a brilliant actor and never better than in this film, one of his last.The enlisted men are a good bunch also. They're kind of like the posse in The Oxbow Incident, just an ordinary group who become ennobled in martyrdom as they go to the firing squad for the sake of politics.Paths of Glory is one of the best anti-war films ever made. It ranks right up there with All Quiet on the Western Front which showed the war from the German point of view. Both will be classics 200, 300, a thousand years from now.
An arrogant French general a superb George Macready orders his men on a suicide mission and then has the gall to try to court marshal and execute three of them for cowardice in the face of the enemy. A former lawyer turned colonel Kirk Douglas in his prime is the voice of reason against gross injustice. This excellently staged and wonderfully acted production is as much an acting showcase for Douglas as it is a directorial masterstroke by a young Stanley Kubrick who adapted this to the screen from a novel based on actual accounts.Kubrick displays a great control of sound effects and <more>
camera movement in the brief but effective battle scenes that expertly depict the controlled chaos that was trench warfare during WWI. Things get juicier during the ensuing courtroom battle where the deafening disparity between the elite who propagate and profit from war and the common citizens who suffer and die in war is shown with great lucidity.Unlike later Kubrick epics, this runs at a crisp 90 minutes, though suffers briefly from a slow and awkwardly staged opening ten minutes before Douglas comes on screen. Ultimately, this holds up very well to modern scrutiny thanks to the flawlessness of Kurbick's craft, the amazing ensemble acting, and the surprising depth of its philosophical and psychological pondering. "Paths of Glory" is more anti-arrogance than anti-war, and is unapologetically sentimental and pro-soldier. As such, much can still be gleaned from its message.
"Let the men have a few minutes more" (by Steffi_P)
Although Kubrick's films are marked by their massive variation of genre and tone, one theme that crops up again and again is a strong anti-war sentiment, and this was never stated more strongly than in Paths of Glory. A relatively early Kubrick picture and, despite coming before what is considered his classic period, it is one of his best.In contrast to his previous picture, The Killing, a definite Kubrick style is beginning to emerge now. One notable example is the scene in which General Mireau tours the trenches, walking towards the audience with the camera retreating away from him. <more>
This technique would be repeated years later in Kubrick's other war film, Full Metal Jacket. There is also something about the arrangement of objects in the frame, as well the tracking and dollying which hints towards his more familiar later style. His recurring chess motif appears as well, albeit subtly. At the court martial the floor is chequered, and the soldiers on trial are seated with guards standing behind them as if they are pawns about to be sacrificed.The light and contrast in this picture is put to good effect. The palatial officers' headquarters is light and airy with few shadows. The trenches are gloomy and cramped. Kubrick was becoming a real master at contrasting locations and getting the look of a place just right.The use of music in Paths of Glory is bold and brilliant. The pre-recorded score is almost entirely percussive Â– all rhythmic sounds with no melody. A weird kettle drum track is used to help build tension in the night patrol scene, while in the climactic scene the funeral march drumming instills a sense of dread, further heightened by having the shots edited in time to the beat. In the emotional final scene we get the complete opposite Â– a beautiful vocal melody. This has all the more impact after hearing nothing but militaristic drums for the rest of the film.The casting is absolutely flawless. While there are no big names apart from leading man Kirk Douglas and the now elderly Adolphe Menjou, there isn't a single weak performance. The despair and resentment of the condemned soldiers feels so absolutely real. In contrast the smugness and fake sympathy of the upper class officers is brilliantly portrayed.Throughout his career Kubrick never seemed to be particularly keen on blatantly emotional moments. Paths of Glory is the exception. The later scenes are incredibly poignant and moving, and the final moments in the soldier's bar are what makes it a masterpiece more than anything else Â– the icing on the cake. However it's quite probable that Kubrick regretted this as an overly sentimental approach, as woolly sentimentalism was a major gripe of his when he worked on Spartacus. Whatever the case, he certainly reined in the stirring stuff considerably after this, to the point where his later films became characterised by their understatement of emotions.
The best movie that I previously never heard of!! (by zwrite2)
I watch about 100 movies per year, but I NEVER heard of "Paths of Glory" until I recently saw it on a list of great movies.It is the BEST movie that I have never heard of and one of the best movies I have ever seen!! I'm stunned that I knew nothing about it.As an anti-war movie, "Paths of Glory" rivals "All Quiet on the Western Front" and "Dr. Strangelove." It has one great scene after another. Most of the scenes consist of two- or three-person conversations that include very smart dialogue, sharp character portrayals, and conflicts that induce <more>
viewers to root for some people and root against others.During the movie, I became depressed when something bad happened to the good guys and happy when something bad happened to the bad guys. I can't think of too many movies that were written so well that I reacted this way.I know many people, including myself, don't like military movies with so much action that you can't follow who has been killed and who is winning. This movie wisely has only about 10 minutes of World War I battlefield scenes and the result is crystal-clear.Instead of scenes of mass killings, the writers and director Stanley Kubrick focus on the confrontations between high-level and low-level officers, an unfair court martial, and a farcical trial. The results of the action convey vividly how military leaders care more about themselves than the heroes who fight for their nation.The movie also wisely has one central character played by Kirk Douglas. He is outstanding as a very principled and strong mid-level officer who essentially represents the perspective of viewers like ourselves. Like Douglas, we want to express moral outrage as the plot unfolds.I almost gave this movie a 10, but I thought the ending was too sudden. I wanted it to continue. I'm also on the fence about whether I preferred this movie to either be about English soldiers or French soldiers with French accents or left as is with French soldiers who are clearly not French.I swear I'm not normally a cheerleader for movies. In fact, I think I gave a movie that came out at about the same time a 1. The fact that Gigi won a Best Movie Oscar and "Paths of Glory" received zero nominations is a stain on Academy Award voters.I gave "Paths" a 9.ZWrite
Spoilers herein.I think this film is miscelebrated. It does not exhibit the chief characteristic that would make Kubrick important. That would only begin with `Lolita,' beginning an adventure in moving narrative into the space under the image.Here, what we have is his mastering of conventional narrative. It is a very good film, with the beginning of the fluid camera he would later develop. But it is not the real Kubrick, he who would help begin the revolution of image grammar not yet realized.Here we have his adventure with studio bosses.
Awesome movie stands as a broody statement against war and man's inhumanity to man (by ma-cortes)
Sensational antiwar treatise based on facts with a relentless and vivid denounce against the military commanding class represented by two senior Generals George Macready , Adolphe Menjou who order his men a suicidal mission . France 1916 , a upright officer Colonel Dax Kirk Douglas must lead his soldiers against difficult enemy positions called the 'Ants Hill' . Them also is the colonel lawyer assigned to defend three the privates Timothy Carey , Ralph Meeker , Joe Turkel of them when the attack is lost against charges of cowardice and submitted to eventual firing squad.This <more>
is a thought-provoking and intelligent war drama perfectly acted by strong cast and masterfully directed . Intelligent screenplay based on a Humphrey's Cobb's novel has been well adapted by Stanley Kubrick and Jim Thompson . It depicts a brooding study about futility and insanity of war , making a shattering accusation against the military ruling staff who cares on promotions more than the soldiers . Kirk Douglas is very good as compassionate French Colonel who commands his troops in some spectacular scenes on the trenches . Stunning support cast beautifully performed by notorious secondaries as Emily Meyer as the priest , Wayne Morris as the lieutenant , Richard Anderson as the Major prosecutor , Ralph Meeker , Timothy Carey and Suzanne Christian , Kubrick's wife . Special mention to the two selfish Generals exceptionally performed by George Macready and Adolph Menjou . Excellent cinematography in black and white by George Krause filmed on location in Schleissheim Palace, Munich, and Bavaria Film studios, Geiselgasteig, GrÃ¼nwald, Bavaria, Germany studio . The motion picture is wonderfully realized by the maestro Stanley Kubrick and lavishly produced by James B. Harris , his usual producer by that time . This magnificent film along with Â¨ All quiet on the Western front Â¨ , Â¨Westfront 1918 Â¨, Â¨ Captain Conan Â¨ , and Â¨King and countryÂ¨ result to be the best films about powerful antiwar theme . Time hasn't dimmed its power , or its poignancy, a bit and remains untouchable the critique to the military hypocrisy in an ultra-lucid exposition . Rating : Phenomenal and marvelous film , above average . Essential and indispensable watching .
'Paths of Glory' confirms what a great director Stanley Kubrick was early in his career. This and 'The Killing' from a year earlier are just a one-two punch. You can just feel Kubrick sharpening his knives on this one in preparation for 'Dr. Strangelove.' While this is a drama, you can't help but laugh at the complete absurdity of the situations. I kind of doubt or at least *need* to, anyway that an officer would be allowed to go as far as he did, but I think Kubrick wasn't necessarily going for a literal lesson here and was instead trying to make a larger <more>
statement about the lives of soldiers being in the hands of madmen. At any rate, Kirk Douglas does a wonderful job of portraying quiet, white-hot rage, and I especially liked Ralph Meeker, who reminded me a little bit of a young, goateed Orson Welles.The black and white really stood out as well-I really liked the scenes in the basement of the chateau.If I had to criticize anything about the movie, I suppose the very end with the German girl and the men didn't really work for me. It might have been powerful in another film, but I think it took away from the final showdown between Douglas and Adolphe Menjou. It's a trivial complaint and shouldn't dissuade anyone from seeing this.