Paths of Glory
Release year: 1957
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Screenwriter: Stanley Kubrick, Calder Willingham, Jim Thompson, Humphrey Cobb (based on the novel by)
Starring: Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou, George Macready, Wayne Morris, Richard Anderson, Joe Turkel
Commandig officer Col. Dax (Douglas) is put in a situation where he ahs to defend innocent men caught in a political game by a glory-seeking general (Macready).
Scored by a musical score heavy with military drums, Kubrick’s (The Shining, 1980) war drama gives a realistic picture of the horrible war WWI was, except it amplifies it by showing the indifference which the plain soldiers were treated with by their generals and the result hits you hard. Douglas (Spartacus, 1960) is nothing less than spectacular as the officer trying to protect his men both from war as well as from the people on top who steers them into battle. He gives a strong performance both as a general on the battlefield as well as in the courtroom scene where he fights as hard as he did against the Germans. The very inhumane actions of the men in charge only enhances the fierce humanity of the movie. It may be a war movie, but the war is merely a setting. This focuses on the people and becomes that more powerful because of it. The arrogance of the generals, especially in the way they speak to and about the foot soldiers as well as the bad conditions of the trenches makes this a strong anti-war movie, and that theme is probably one of the main reason it has been deemed significant, but what makes it a good movie is the excellent human drama and an outstanding cast.
Winston Churchill said that the film was a highly accurate depiction of trench warfare and the sometimes misguided workings of the military mind.
The title is a quotation from Thomas Gray‘s ‘Elegy written in a country churchyard': “The paths of glory lead but to the grave”.
Director Stanley Kubrick met Christiane Kubrick (then Christiane Harlan) during filming; she performs the singing at the end of the film. He divorced his second wife the following year to marry her, and they remained married until his death in 1999.
Picture copyrights: Warner Home Video