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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
Kubrick's Masterpiece... and a Cautionary Tale for Today
PATHS OF GLORY is, without question, Kubricks GREATEST film, even tho it was one of his earliest. In it's way it ranks with CITIZEN KANE as a controversial and classic work of art... in addition to being a work from early on that the director had to live up to in subsequent work.

Controversy followed the film all through it's first release... it made a LOT of people in high places VERY uncomfortable. For a time, the film wasn't permitted to be shown in France, and it holds the dubious distinction of joining the ranks of a small number of other films that the Defense Department BANNED from being shown at US military base theaters.

The only other military theme films (tho not war films) so "honored" by the Pentagon that I know of are Rod Steiger's THE SERGEANT (which depicted Steiger as a homosexual noncommissioned officer), and Kirk Douglas' TOWN WITHOUT PITY (which tells the story of the court martial of four American occupation troops in Germany who are charged with the rape of a German teenager).

Were PATHS OF GLORY to be released today, it would probably STILL be banned from post movie houses; it asks far too many questions and reaches too many conclusions that make the military uncomfortable.

PATHS OF GLORY shows the results an ill conceived (and ultimately unsuccessful) attack, ordered by officers who are far more concerned with their own egos, images and reputations than they are with either the successful prosecution that attack or the wellbeing of the troops... whom they refer to an expendable herd of cattle... and who made the sacrifices in the costly battle.

SOMEONE must take public responsibility for the failure to take the objective, and if the officers take that responsibility, they reason that it will undermine the Nation's confidence in the competence of it's military leaders. The troops didn't succeed with the botched planning, so why not make the troops pay for the failure? Three soldiers are chosen by lot, for the most part at random, to be tried for cowardice and executed.

The court martial is rigged from the beginning... no record of the proceeding is kept, no admission of evidence of extenuating circumstance that favors the accused is permitted to be introduced, no testimony is permitted other than explanations of WHY the troops failed to successfully take the objective... and of that, nothing is permitted that casts a shadow on the leadership. The only permitted explanation in this "inquiry" is cowardice of the troops.

Overlying the entire farce is the scheming and maneuvering of officers to advance their own careers, while at the same time scrambling to cover their own asses and avoid responsibility for the battlefield fiasco.

Contemporary audiences can scarcely avoid seeing the parallels between the repercussions of the movie's ill fated assault on The Anthill and the Abu Gharib Prison scandals in Iraq; high ranking officers are walking away clean while troops are bearing the brunt of discipline for decisions that they may not have made.

Kirk Douglas plays Colonel Dax, the indignant field officer who defends the doomed troops, to perfection. His careful balancing of his sense of duty to his country with his sense of moral outrage over the travesty of the trial is magnificent.

Wayne Morris is notable as a weak, incompetent field officer who, much to our amazement, in the midst of battle raises a whining objection to the way Colonel Dax speaks to him as bullet whistle around them! The nonsequiter here is astonishing.

George McReidy and Adolph Mejou are sinisterly outstanding as the division's generals... men who can blandly refer to unjust court martials and subsequent executions as a "tonic" that benefits the "morale" of the entire division, men who can offhandedly comment that there is nothing more stimulating to troops than seeing someone else being shot, and men who are more than callously capable of calling in friendly artillery fire on their own troops in an attempt to force them to advance under impossible conditions. Their detachment from the realities of war, and from the humanity that they command as soldiers, is chilling.

Visually, the film is stunning at times, especially in the execution sequence. It is probably one of the best uses of black and white cinematography that has ever been produced.

PATHS OF GLORY is a film that examines what Firesign Theater called (with tongue planted firmly in cheek), the "Secret Code of Military Toughness". It leaves the audience angry and disturbed... as it SHOULD.
simply put.
Everyone else will tell you about the story over and over again. So I won't need to do that. But, what description I'll give is one in its most simplistic form. One that summarizes the overall feeling, because to put into words such emotion for each scene is not possible. You will understand what I mean once you see this masterpiece of heartache. For it is just as impossible to put into words the emotions of any soldier during wartime. I should point out that I saw this movie on an old B/W set and give my review from this standpoint. To me it was seeing this movie minus the color that really maked it stand out. What makes it timeless. Anyway, to give you a feel for this movie here is one simple sentence. Black and white, and red throughout.
Kubrick is not of this world
The sheer brilliance and emotion that kubrick puts into this film will leave you with an undescribable feeling long after you've watched it. He seems to say that all of the paths to glory in this world was tainted with injustice and the unjustly sacrifice of true heros. You have to see the movie to believe it, and to see it is to remember it forever.
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.
One of the greats
'Paths of Glory' is one of those rare films that you can come across on TV halfway through and be gripped to the end no matter how many times you have seen it. Easily Kubrick's best film, his later pictures were brilliantly shot but emotionally empty, it also features career-best performances from pretty much everyone concerned. Even Kirk Douglas, not the world's greatest actor, is highly effective in his role as the compassionate Colonel Dax. George Macready and Adolphe Menjou, two fine actors who were only rarely given worthy roles, are excellent as the two despicable Generals. Of course the film is unsubtle but with a story such as this subtlety is not really possible; the message is obvious but no less moving for that.
Not really a war movie
In reading other reviews I see a lot of them saying this was one of the finest "war movies" ever made. I agree that it is one of the finest movies but I do not believe it is a war movie. The war is merely the backdrop for the drama that is human politics, selfishness and greed. The backdrop could be a corporate board room, any place in government, anywhere in which a bureaucratic system is in place with little accountability at the top. The lessons in this film extend far beyond the battlefield. I would say it is a must see to anyone interested in movies about moral inconsistencies, abuse of power, and the realities of the way the world operates.
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 .
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.
Darkness of the human soul
War has been a recurring theme in Kubrick's films. They were intertwined in the plot of Doctor Strangelove and was the focus in his 1987 feature, Full Metal Jacket. Here however, war is more based inside the court system as three soldiers are tried for cowardice after retreating on an impossible assault on the fronts of World War I. Kirk Douglas plays their Colonel, who's trying his best to win the case. Only about the first twenty or so minutes of this film show actual combat, it's mostly focused on the trial. Suprisingly, this film runs at one and a half hours, but it still includes everything it needs too. The script, drives the message through hard along with very suspensful lines and mood. The direction by Stanley Kubrick stays focused throughout, always delivering to the full impact. The photography during the battle sequence isn't exceptional, but it works. The set designs are noteworthy, as they show the very detailed trenches of World War I. The performances, most noteably by the lead actor, are amazing. They really drive this film all the way, always giving the viewer a sense of mood. This also happens to be one of the most emotional experiences in film I have ever seen. I never cry, and I didn't cry in this either, but this film is very emotional. Several details really get sink into the brain and stick with you. The overall message of the film doesn't seem to really be all about World War I, but about the bleakness of the human soul and how war makes a big rift in that soul and removes compassion and rationalization. This film doesn't back away and give in to be happy, it's gritty and it's harsh. It's very suspensful, well- crafted, and well made. A bit short, sometimes a bit too repeating, but it's a brilliant film. Stanley Kubrick is truly the visionary of Cinema. 9.5/10
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.
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