Paths of Glory

D: Stanley Kubrick
United Artists/Bryna (James B. Harris)
US 1957
86 mins


W: Stanley Kubrick, Calder Willingham & Jim Thompson [based on the novel by Humphrey Cobb]
DP: Georg Krause
Ed: Eva Kroll
Mus: Gerald Fried

Kirk Douglas (Col. Dax), Ralph Meeker (Cpl. Paris), Adolphe Menjou (Gen. Broulard), George Macready (Gen. Mireau), Wayne Morris (Lt. Roget), Richard Anderson (Maj. Saint-Auban), Joseph Turkel (Pvt. Arnaud), Timothy Carey (Pvt. Ferol)

One of the finest anti-war films ever made, meticulously directed by Stanley Kubrick.

Set in 1916, three French officers are court-martialled for cowardice. A crime for which they'll face death by firing squad.

This powerful melodrama begins in the battlefields & the trenches, with the most vivid scenes captured on film for its time. The final half of the film focuses on the plight of the soldiers with a subplot of incompetence & corruption amongst the more decorated officers, who would never be made culpable for the failed mission.

The performances of the cast are fantastic, with the trio who play the doomed soldiers especially gut-wrenching.  Kubrick actually broke ground by filming in real-life locations, clearly inspired by French new wave filmmaking around the same time, and though this posed problems with sound recording and lighting, you'd be forgiven for thinking this was a relatively smooth shoot. The photography, set design and direction work very well poetically.

The final 5 minutes should leave a tear in the eye of even the hardest of hearts.


Kirk Douglas in Paths of Glory
Kirk Douglas in Paths of Glory