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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
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.
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.
The paths of glory lead but to the grave
In 1916 a French regiment is ordered to attack "the Anthill", a strongly fortified German position. The attack proves a disastrous failure; the French suffer heavy casualties and none of their soldiers succeed in reaching the German trenches. When a second wave of troops refuse to attack, their commanding officer General Mireau desperately orders his artillery to open fire on them to force them onto the battlefield. The artillery commander, however, refuses to do so without a written order. To try and deflect blame from himself for the failure of the offensive, Mireau orders three soldiers from the regiment, chosen at random, to be tried for cowardice. The task of defending the accused falls to Mireau's subordinate Colonel Dax, a lawyer in civilian life.

The film was controversial when it was first released in 1957; it was banned in France, where it was regarded as a slur on the honour of the French Army, until 1975. It was also banned for a time in Switzerland and Franco's Spain and (remarkably) in West Germany. Films with a strongly anti-war theme were perhaps unusual in the fifties, a period during which American (and British) war films were mostly set in World War II and were generally patriotic in tone, with war shown as something heroic. World War I, which could not so easily be turned into a glorious fight for freedom, was largely ignored.

"Paths of Glory", however, was based on a novel by Humphrey Cobb which had been written in the very different political climate of 1935, when following the slaughter of 1914-18 pacifism was more in fashion. At first sight, Cobb's title looks deliberately ironic because he depicts war as something far from glorious. To those who recognise its source, however, it appears not so much ironic as grimly appropriate. It comes from Thomas Gray's poem "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard", and what Gray wrote was "The paths of glory lead but to the grave".

The film makes its case against war in two ways. The first is by emphasising the futility of war. The only German we see is a female civilian captured by the French; no German soldiers appear at all. I think that this was a deliberate decision by director Stanley Kubrick; the French soldiers seem to be fighting not against men like themselves but against some nameless, invisible and inexorable force of nature, able to cut them down at will. They appear to have no more chance of capturing the Anthill than they would of capturing the moon.

The second way in which Kubrick makes his case is by emphasising the gulf between the generals and the man under their command. This is not just a difference in social class- indeed, this element is not emphasised as much as it is in some British productions about the war. It is more a gulf in the way in which they experience the war. The general staff, safe in their chateaux away from the lines, have no real idea of the hardships and dangers confronting those under their command.

Moreover, the generals do not even seem to be motivated by patriotism or a belief in the rightness of their cause. They are much more concerned about self-advancement and their own brand of office politics. When Mireau is first ordered to take the Anthill he demurs, believing that the objective can only be attained, if at all, at an unacceptable cost in French lives. It is only when his superior, General Broulard, intimates that a successful attack might be rewarded with a promotion that he changes his mind. When Dax complains about Mireau's behaviour, Broulard assumes that this is all part of a ploy to obtain Mireau's job; it never occurs to him that Dax might be sincere about trying to save the lives of three unjustly accused men.

This was not the first film to be directed by Kubrick, but it was perhaps the first to bring him to public notice. The battle scenes are well done, even if they lack the realism of more modern war films such as "Saving Private Ryan" or the recent "Dunkirk". The trial scenes, during which it becomes increasingly uncertain as to whether Dax, for all his forensic skills, will be able to save the three accused. Kirk Douglas is excellent as Dax, a sane and humane man in an insane and inhumane world, and he receives good support from the rest of the cast. Particularly good is George Macready as General Mireau, a man driven literally mad by unbridled ambition to the point where he is prepared to sacrifice hundreds of lives, not for the honour and glory of France but for the honour and glory of General Mireau.

The film is perhaps less well-known today than some of Kubrick's later efforts, but I would regard it as his first masterpiece, equal or superior in quality to virtually anything in his later work, including his two later anti-war films, "Dr Strangelove" and "Full Metal Jacket". Douglas was also to collaborate with Kubrick in his second great masterpiece, "Spartacus". 9/10
Final Song
I enjoyed this movie immensely and agree with the previous posters who mentioned the stylistic similarities in "Paths of Glory" with later Kubrick works. I'm still uncertain of whether Kubrick intended the movie as an indictment of war in general or specifically to the French leadership in WWI. To the poster who asked about the source of the song the German girl was singing at the end, it is "Der Treue Husar" (The Faithful Husar). The lyrics and a midi of the melody can be found here: Oh and by the way, the singing girl is Christiane Harlan - later Kubrick's third wife. Veit Harlan who did several propaganda movies for the Nazis was her uncle.
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.
Early Treat From Kubrick
I thought this was an interesting film, albeit agenda-driven, but one that kept my attention. The characters are interesting, the story moves along well considering its mostly talk, and it's nicely directed by a young Stanley Kubrick. Looking at this on a high-def DVD, it was magnificent in spots. Kubrick's camera angles and photography, as usual, were a treat for the eyes.

Although Kirk Douglas gets top billing, I thought George Macready was the unofficial "star" of this film, playing the obsessed "General Mireau." Douglas' picture dominates the cover of the DVD and is featured in most of the stills seen here on the IMDb home page of the movie. He was good - don't get me wrong, but Macready deserved at least equal billing.

Whatever, the movie flows nicely and is sure to invoke an emotional response from any viewer. The only problem I saw was that it was a bit too manipulative. Kubrick's obvious hatred for those in military authority (see "Full Metal Jacket" and "Dr. Strangelove") is so blatant in here that the "bad guys" are almost cartoonish, uttering statements that are so ludicrous it strains credibility. Speaking of credibility, if this film was re-made today you wouldn't have American actors playing all the French roles.

Some supporting actors in the film, were either famous actors like Adolphe Menjou, Ralph Meeker and Richard Anderson or ones with faces you don't forget, such as Timothy Carey and Emile Meyer. Their characters added a lot of tension to this story.

Perhaps the biggest surprise (at least to me) was discovering that the German singer at the end of the film was Kubrick's wife! Overall, a recommended film to watch.
One of the best (anti) war films ever made!
Stanely Kubrick's Paths of Glory is a great example of when Kubrick was at his best- and only in his twenties. This depiction of World War one with Kubrick as director and Kirk Douglas in perfect form, it takes the viewer into the objectivity of it all. What happens in the trenches, if just from a bird's eye view? His gliding camera in these scenes is remarkable. Then when he moves into the courtroom scenes, and the following awaiting of the soldier's last call, it becomes heartbreaking, and it becomes one of those rare stories that never loses its relevance. And the last scene shows that Kubrick, contrary to his de-humanizing nature in his films, reaches an emotional peak equal to De Sica or even Dreyer. It gets better every year. A classic of anti-war sentiment.
Hauntingly Beautiful.
First off, Paths of Glory is my second favorite film of all time, a feat that is not easy to accomplish with my amount of movie-seeing. This movie is so powerful and brilliant that words cannot even express it. All I can say is please see it if you haven't. If you see no other movies in your entire life except Paths of Glory, then you would have done a good job. This masterpiece will not only not let you down, but it will force you to stand up and take notice to the horror of humanity and the heroism of one man.

I am truly not over-doing it in this summary, words simply cannot explain how beautiful every part of this film is. You just have to see it for yourself.
Emotionally draining
The best war and anti-war film ever made, and perhaps on of the top ten films ever made. No wasted action or shots or dialogue--for anyone who has visited the killing fields of WW1 in France and Belgium, this story rings true. This film gives the lie to Renoir's opening of La Grande Illuson in which Renoir seemingly thanks the Americans for coming to the aid of the democracies. This film shows the flaws of the "democracy" that was France, and indeed, of all democracies, when life becomes only a percentage of casualty. Would be nice if Trump would watch this.

Brilliant fifties anti-war movie
Banned in France till 1975, Kubrick's Paths of Glory (1957) is an unusually powerful and incisive cinematic discourse relating to the futility of war. In fact it would be almost unbearably grim without the performance of Douglas as Colonel Dax - the liberal defender of three innocent French soldiers accused of cowardice on contrived trumped-up charges by the over-ambitious and arrogant General Mireau (George Macready). Such social issues as class differences and military hypocrisy in the French High Command are emphasised. Douglas' Dax character gives the film its only light and warmth. In appearance he looks impressive - fair-haired and lantern-jawed, he sports his regiment number '701' on his collar and cuffs and wears a prototype wristwatch. Along with 20.000 Leagues under the Sea (1954), Ulisse (1954)and Light at the Edge of the World(1971) it is one of his most compelling performances although it lacks the Nietzschean undertones of the aforementioned adventure and sword and sandals films. Time Out describes Douglas' performance as being 'astonishingly successful' and refers to the very interesting 'diagrammatic tracking shots' relating to the battle scenes.
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