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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
The Absurdity of Life and Art
I'm in the middle of revisiting most of Kubrick's work, and watching this after "Full Metal Jacket" (1987) is a wonderful experience. Accidentally, I had also seen Kazan's "On the Waterfront" (1954) just some days earlier, and that experience too gave a great deal of perspective and enhanced my enjoyment. All the sweeter since I saw this last some 10 years ago and wasn't as overwhelmed then.

But now its strengths have really grown on me. There's the amazing, acute sense of movement in the camera, be it in the trenches or the encircling dancing in the interior shots of the Department. The claustrophobic sense of place, and the contrapuntal open, wide hallways and high ceilings of the courtroom. This is Kubrick at his best. And the sounds! Of explosions, machine-gun fire, breathing, the loud echoes of the cross-examination, the intimate singing of the German girl in the pub, revealed behind the wall of sound of obstinate cheering and drunken blabber. These counterpoints of both space (small, wide) and sound (loud, silent) define the film for me.

Watching "On the Waterfront" just before this was an interesting point of comparison. Brando and Kaufman's cinematography where the highlights of that film, but I couldn't really connect with the central social struggle at all, the bestiality of man toward man, man corrupted by power and prestige. Not so here – and here Kubrick's delicate sense of satire comes into play. Whilst a serious film, it doesn't take itself too seriously, which is exactly why it's able to connect with us the way it does. The absurdity of life and art, and of art trying to depict life (and art). How man is reduced to a mere number, a prop in a film. I found this very effective.
Glory to M. Kubrick for this masterpiece
Stanley Kubrick is releasing a film denouncing an injustice during the First World War, two French generals send their troops in a suicide mission to take a point to the Germans, faced with the impossibility of advancing before the enemy bullets, French soldiers don't advance. This film shows the devotion of a simple colonel, Colonel Dax interpreted by Mister Kirk Douglas himself, trying to defend French soldiers who listened to their instincts of survival against French seniors officers thinking only of their careers, Kubrick shows the human (and maybe the French, who knows?) stupidity to want to make examples where those who should be killed are those who send their troops to die without any mercy and not those who are sent as cows to the slaughterhouse. The film is animated by special effects of time, but neither the latter nor the black and white are disturbing, on the contrary, it brings authenticity to this masterpiece of Stanley Kubrick who deserves his 10/10! Glory to M. Kubrick for this masterpiece!
World War I -- Kubrick Style
"Paths of Glory" is a film about the stupidity of warfare, set in 1916, when the French and the Germans were entrenched opposite one another and a ranking officer of the French General Staff (Adolphe Menjou) persuades a field general (George Macready) that it would be good for his career if he made an attempt to capture the "ant hill," a German strong point opposite the French position. Menjou and (especially) Macready are perfect for their parts. I'm of two minds about Kirk Douglas as the colonel instructed to make the attack which he knows is doomed to failure. Douglas was a star of considerable magnitude at the time but he is no more credible as a French officer than he would have been as Lassie. Nevertheless, Douglas could act, and as the central figure in the film, he carries it off. There are a great many outstanding scenes in this movie -- what else would you expect with Stanley Kubrick as writer and director -- but the most telling is when a frightened German girl (Christiane Kubrick, also known as Suzanne Christian) is escorted on stage in a beer hall filled with French soldiers who despise the Germans and forced to sing a sad song in German which when the catcalls die down leave every one in the audience (on both sides of the screen) misty eyed or crying. My own memory of that scene will last long after every other fades away. This is a great film, worthy of its reputation.
Important truths
I was surprised how any one could criticise this film,I've always believed this to be one of the greatest anti war films ever made,it is so powerful.It was first shown on British TV in the early 80s,and before it was shown it had been announced that it was banned in France,i don't know if it still is,but they were not happy about this film,this maby why it was late being shown on British TV,after all our British Generals had our soldiers executed on ridiculous charges,so we cant be hypercritical.About 300 British soldiers were executed, the French about twice the amount,so this film is really important,and Stanley Kubrick was probably the first director to pick up on these terrible injustices.In Britain we have had campaigners trying to pardon our men,because the sad thing is their families at the time or their descendant's at the moment can not march pass at the centopath on Remembrance Sunday as where the soldiers were executed this is not allowed,and yet the majority of these men were executed for falling a sleep while on duty,one example that springs to mind was of a soldier who was executed for refusing to put on a wet cap,he was executed for insubordination.Paths of Glory really does open peoples eyes to what these poor soldiers were up against during WW1 as there are a lot of people out there who still don't realize what went on .For a 1957 film this is very harrowing stuff,you know that once the three men are going on trial their fate is already sealed they haven't a chance in hell.And the worst part about it all is that the French Generals actually believe the men had a fair trial,its all ludicrous but sadly true.I believe this film did get people more interested in learning more about WW1 as there were many cover ups and many untold truths like the amount of British soldiers bodies that keep being unearthed in France and Belgium at the rate of about 7 a year and sometimes as many as 20-30,our government kept this quiet for years,so it seems that WW1 is destined not to be forgotten.
real, frightening, important
This movie is a great spectacle. Since it is a true Kubrick film the score and sound effects are equally memorable and effective. As this is a war movie shot entirely from the ordinary soldier's perspective it is shocking. This is a result of true fear in the spectator's mind rather than explicit violence on screen. The presence of death feels real. The story unfolds without any waste of celluloid. Kubrick explains the logic of the characters out of the war-circumstances they find themselves in without establishing the characters over a feature length. Even when it is clear how the film would end after watching it by half, the story telling gains more momentum . Having seen this film only once on a big screen I was surprised almost everybody cried in that movie theatre with the story's unexpected epilogue. These final frames explain how and why millions of people would go out killing each other and on the other hand why they should not. This movie is perfectly understandable because it is brilliantly made in any way with outstanding actors. One may argue whether or not this is one of the best movies of all times. I do believe it is one of the most important movies of all times regardless of film making alltogether. Let me summarize: real, frightening, important.
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.
A Great Cinematic Experience

With classics like "Dr. Strangelove," "2001: A Space Odyssey," and "A Clockwork Orange," Stanley Kubrick was long ago canonized as a filmmaker of the highest skill and intelligence. One of his greatest skills is not allowing his films to be watched passively. He forces his viewers to respond both emotionally and intellectually. "Dr. Strangelove" does so with its black, disturbing humor and its comical treatment of one of modern man's most penetrating fears: nuclear warfare. "2001" does so by immersing us in its sweeping visuals as it follows mankind from the dawn of time to a place beyond time. "A Clockwork Orange" does so by forcing us to confront the inescapable violence and evil inherent in human nature and society's casual indifference and at times subtle encouragement of such. "Paths of Glory" is Kubrick's first masterpiece and while it is often forgotten in comparison to the three films mentioned above, it is just as compelling as any film he or anyone else has ever made.

The film's running time is only 87 minutes, yet it is deeper artistically than most films that carry on past the 120-minute mark. The reason for this shows Kubrick's superiority as a filmmaker. Every scene and piece of dialog is instrumental in forming the film as whole. Nothing is wasted. Every aspect of the film coalesces with every other aspect. This is seen in the coming together of the overall narrative of the French army's suicidal mission and the storyline of two individual soldiers within the army. Before the failed attack on Anthill, three men embark on a reconnaissance mission to scope out the territory. The subordinate officer, Paris, witnesses his commanding officer, Lt Roget, accidentally kill the other soldier. After the failed attack on Anthill, when the commanding officers are forced to pick one man from their troop to be tried at the tribunal, Lt. Roget chooses Paris, in an attempt at silencing the one man who knows his secret. But after Paris, along with the two other soldiers, are condemned to be shot, guess who Col Dax assigns to lead the execution? Roget.

Roget cannot hide from his guilt. He is forced to face it. When he asks Paris if he wants a blindfold for the execution, he cannot look him in the eye and asks for forgiveness. It is a powerful moment. This smaller narrative of Roget and Paris is interwoven then with the greater narrative. A lesser filmmaker might have had the Roget and Paris subplot remain a subplot with its own separate conclusion. The Kubrick, the conclusion of Paris and Roget is wedded to and made more powerful by the larger narrative.

Roget needs to be forgiven by the only one who knows his secret. His guilt is genuine and his desire for redemption private. Roget's private guilt is contrasted by General Broulard's complete obliviousness to the blame he deserves (taking the Anthill was his idea to begin with) and his desire to set things right only in the eyes of the public. He does so by telling General Mireau that he will be investigated for misconduct. After Dax tells Broulard of Mireau's order to fire on the battalion, Broulard must investigate Mireau not out of any sense of justice, but because Dax threatens to go public with the information. Boulard offers Dax Mireau's position, implying that Dax revealed Mireau's misconduct only to further his own career. Dax is outraged that Broulard is incapable of comprehending the injustice and his indignation. Thus, the one who is most responsible for the failed attack and the numerous deaths is also the one who has the power to blame and punish others for his failure.

The scene of Dax's indignant outburst against Broulard shows the nature of true evil. Mireau may have ordered his own army to shoot at the battalion and he may have vehemently argued for the battalion's execution, but he was acting on a set of principles, albeit a very twisted set or principles, but principles non the less. Broulard has no principles, only a desire to elude blame and preserve his own appearance and position of power and respect. This is the truer, more subtle evil.

Kubrick's screenplay and direction and Douglas's perfect performance make Dax's indignation our own. The injustice is painfully felt. We understand so clearly that these soldiers would have died if they left the trenches and are condemned to die for not leaving them. As we see the three condemned soldiers walk to their execution in a wonderful and classically Kubrickian tracking shot, we realize that the only two options these soldiers had were to die by the bullets of their enemies or by the bullets of their own countrymen. Either way, bullets will pierce their flesh. The nature of war makes living impossible

The movie ends with one of the most beautiful scenes I have ever seen in any film. In a tavern full of rowdy French soldiers, a German girl is brought on stage to be mocked for the entertainment of the soldiers. She is ridiculed because of her sex and nationality. Terrified, she begins to quietly sing a song in German. The whistling and hollering of the soldiers slowly abates and we see in their faces a look of such anguish, regret and sadness. A few of them wipe tears off their faces. Not knowing the words or the language, they begin to hum the song with the German girl. They are reminded of their humanity and it hurts. After showing us the darkest side of humanity, Kubrick ends his film with this scene of hope. Even in the midst of a war, these soldiers are capable of overcoming their brutishness and acknowledging their own humanity and that of the opposing nation. Kubrick allows us to see the entire range of what humanity is capable of, from the cruelest of injustices to the most beautiful of moments
"See that cockroach? Tomorrow morning, we'll be dead and it'll be alive."
Stanley Kubrick's 'Paths of Glory' is the ultimate anti-war film. Rather than simply showing us the horrors of warfare and declaring that 'war is hell,' this films genuinely fills us with unbridled hate and anger, revealing the sheer folly and uselessness of combat. There are heroes in war, of course – namely Colonel Dax (Kirk Douglas) and his brave fighting soldiers – but certainly not the generals, who sit back in their comfortable armchairs and send thousands of their men to certain death without a trace of guilt or remorse.

In the treacherous front-line trenches of World War One, a regiment of soldiers is ordered on a suicidal mission to seize the German-occupied "Anthill." French General Mireau (George Macready) is at first hesitant about the attack, citing the unacceptably high fatality rate and his duty to his loyal soldiers, but he is very quickly swayed in his convictions when his superior, General George Broulard, (Adolphe Menjou), hints at the possibility of a promotion. And so, led by a doubtful but loyal Colonel Dax (Douglas), the soldiers – in perhaps the most realistic war combat scene this side of 'Saving Private Ryan' – proceed with the attack, suffering immense losses and ultimately being forced to retreat. Furious about the perceived "cowardice" of his troops, an enraged General Mireau orders his artillery to open fire on his own men, but the artillery commander refuses to obey without a confirmation of written orders.

Rather than taking the blame himself for the failed attack, Mireau decides to execute three men to set an example to the soldiers. Corporal Paris (Ralph Meeker) is chosen for execution because his commanding officer has a personal vendetta against him; Private Arnaud (Joe Turkel), one of the most courageous soldiers in his regiment, was chosen randomly; Private Ferol (Timothy Carey) was chosen because he was something of a social outcast. Colonel Lax passionately defends the actions of his men during the court-martial, but, despite the utterly ridiculous cases made against them, all three men are inevitably found guilty of "cowardice in the face of the enemy" and sentenced to death by firing squad.

Later, in one of the most suspenseful sequences ever committed to film, accompanied by the slow steady beat of an army drum, the three condemned men are lead to their place of execution, tied to posts and shot down by the weapons of their own army. Any other film from this era would have baulked at the final moment, offering its prisoners a last-minute reprieve, and the swift persecution of every general in charge of the original attack. Kubrick reportedly toyed with this option at one point, but it is to his credit that he stood firm on his daring and controversial ending. Indeed, French authorities considered the film such an offence to their army's honour that it was banned until 1975.
Awesome movie stands as a broody statement against war and man's inhumanity to man
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 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, Grünwald, 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 ¨ All quiet on the Western front ¨ , ¨Westfront 1918 ¨, ¨ Captain Conan ¨ , and ¨King and country¨ 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 .
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.
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