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Paths of Glory (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (1957)

Kirk Douglas , Richard Anderson , Stanley Kubrick  |  NR |  Blu-ray
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (210 customer reviews)

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Paths of Glory (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] + The Killing (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] + Fear and Desire [Blu-ray]
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Product Details

  • Actors: Kirk Douglas, Richard Anderson, Timothy Carey, George Macready, Ralph Meeker
  • Directors: Stanley Kubrick
  • Format: Blu-ray, Black & White, NTSC, Special Edition, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: October 26, 2010
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (210 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003WKL6YO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,834 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Paths of Glory (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • New audio commentary by critic Gary Giddins
  • Television interview from 1979 with star Kirk Douglas
  • New video interviews with Jan Harlan, James B. Harris and Christiane Kubrick
  • Excerpt from a French television program about real-life World War I executions
  • Theatrical trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by Kubrick scholar James Naremore

  • Editorial Reviews

    A pivotal work by Stanley Kubrick (2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange), PATHS OF GLORY is among the most powerful antiwar films ever made. A fiery Kirk Douglas (Ace in the Hole, Spartacus) stars as a French colonel serving in World War I who goes head-to-head with the army’s ruthless top brass when his men are accused of cowardice after being unable to carry out an impossible mission. This haunting, exquisitely photographed dissection of the military machine in all its absurdity and capacity for dehumanization (a theme Kubrick would continue to explore throughout his career) is assembled with its legendary director’s customary precision, from its tense trench warfare sequences to its gripping courtroom climax to its ravaging final scene.

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    115 of 129 people found the following review helpful
    Format:DVD
    In 1916 France Commander Broulard (Adolphe Menjou) wants General Mireau (George Macready) to have his battered division take the "Ant Hill", an impregnable German fortress, promising Mireau a promotion and another story if he succeeds. Mireau orders Dax (Kirk Douglas) to lead the charge, which is a complete failure. When soldiers are pinned down by German artillery and machine gun fire Mireau orders his own artillery to fire on their own trenches, screaming, "If those sweethearts won't face German bullets, they'll take French ones!"

    "Paths of Glory" has a deserved reputation as a great anti-war film but I think that director Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Humphrey Cobb's 1935 semi-fictional novel is a rather specific indictment of both a particular military and a particular war. The suicidal attack in the first act of the film was loosely based upon the battle for Fort Douamont during the Battle of Verdun, where over 300,000 French soldiers lost their lives. The assault, doomed to fail before it began, is ordered by French generals more concerned with prestige and promotions than the lives of their troops or the actual prospects for success. In the wake of the disaster three men are selected to be tried and then executed for cowardice. They are defended in court by their commander, Colonel Dax, the lone voice of reason speaking out against the insanity of what has happened.

    This film was banned for almost twenty years in France and it is an indictment of the French military on a par with those films that have touched on the infamous Dreyfus case.
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    88 of 99 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Anti-injustice, anti-authoritarian May 25, 2005
    Format:DVD
    When you are the one who gets to decide who lives and who dies, what are the criteria that the rest of us should buy into before giving our consent? If a general, or a CEO for that matter, asks the impossible, how far must men go in following their orders before disobedience is permissible? When is it ok for a cog in the machine to stop being a machine and start being a human being? This film suggests that the Ant Hill could only have been taken by live soldiers, and if all the soldiers were being slaughtered in the attempt to cross no mans land, the few survivors should naturally turn back, and live to fight another day. Under these circumstances, taking the Hill would have been impossible.

    Ah, but that was an embarrasment for the general who ordered the attack. His judgement could not have been wrong, so, therefore, the men must be cowards. The role of Reason, the nature of absurdity, courage, and cowardice are all examined in this simple story, and the implication is clear that it is better to die bravely in front of a firing squad than to grow comfortable with mendacity and cower before the truth. The real cowards in the story were those who ordered these men to their deaths on the battlefield, because they were afraid to say no and risk their reputations for daring, and also those who ordered their deaths in front of a firing squad, and also those who concealed the truth out of fear of the consequences. Again, it is better to die bravely than live in cowardice. And the bravest of them all was the colonel played by Kirk Douglas, who fought for reason, justice, truth, and against the enemy on every side, even when the enemy was his superior officer. Yes, the enemy can be found in your own ranks, even among your commanding officers.
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    37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Indictment of War...Affirmation of Humanity July 1, 2003
    Format:DVD
    It has been almost 50 years since this anti-war film appeared, one which was banned in France until 1970. It is based on Humphrey Cobb's novel. Directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Kirk Douglas who also produced it, the film examines a fictional (but nonetheless wholly believable) situation during World War One when French troops are ordered to achieve an impossible military objective: Climb and secure the "Ant Hill," a heavily-fortified German position. Of course the troops are decimated. Whom to blame? General Broulard (Adolph Menjou) who gave the order? The troops' general, General Mireau (George MacReady), whose career ambitions overcame his doubts about the order? The officer (Colonel Dax) who led the attack? General Broulard gives a second order: Select three of the survivors, charge them with cowardice, give them a perfunctory military trial, and then execute them. Their commanding officer is Colonel Dax (Douglas) who had been an attorney in civilian life. He is ordered to be the defense counsel. After the inevitable verdict, the three representatives are executed by a firing squad.

    Kubrick presents all this on film as if it were a documentary of actual events. Appropriately, he filmed it in black-and-white, in part to dramatize the obvious juxtapositions of right and wrong, good and evil, justice and injustice, etc. The battlefield carnage is extensive but not gratuitous. For me, the insensitivity, indeed inhumanity of the two generals -- far removed from combat in luxurious comfort -- is far more upsetting than the assault on the "Ant Hill." The men who followed orders and lost their lives or their limbs may have died in vain but at least died with honor, if not glory. Kubrick leaves absolutely no doubt about the generals who sent them into battle.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful classic
    It was a very entertaining film. The cast wasn't all star or perfect but it made a great war movie.
    Published 14 days ago by Jacqui Lockman
    5.0 out of 5 stars Great old movie
    Great movie, saw it years ago and am very glad I now own a copy. Kirk Duglas plays a superb role.
    Published 17 days ago by Travis Taylor
    4.0 out of 5 stars Another classic
    Duh, its a Kubrick film. If you like Kubrick you will not be disappointed. Also it was put out by Criterion so you know it will be a quality reproduction.
    Published 19 days ago by Kurt Williams
    5.0 out of 5 stars The war movie which you should watch
    Heroism is the little things which make civilization possible, not the pointless mass slaughterfests which aggrandize the political class. War is a racket.
    Published 22 days ago by VirtualAlaskan
    5.0 out of 5 stars memorable
    The pictures of yesteryear really had plots that grabbed you behind them compared to the nothing but voyeurism offered in today's talent.Keep the old ones comming.
    Published 1 month ago by John Jay Norwood
    5.0 out of 5 stars Kubrick at His Best
    A great movie by a great director. It hasn't taken the place of 2001 A Space Odyssey as my favorite movie of all time, but its well worth watching more than once.
    Published 1 month ago by Stephen Curtis
    5.0 out of 5 stars yes
    This movie was so beautifull.i just loved it. It made me realy think about my life in the military. Yup
    Published 1 month ago by Elden
    5.0 out of 5 stars Paths of Glory
    I bought this movie because I wanted to see the whole thing all the way through without commercials. I don't have any immediate plans to watch it again. Read more
    Published 2 months ago by Robert Butterfield
    5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie, Great DVD
    The higher quality Criterion version is a great and I would urge this copy over the standard version. There is a lot of great extras as well on it.
    Published 2 months ago by Big John
    5.0 out of 5 stars Regarding the Value of Other Men's Lives
    Stanley Kubrick, making deft use of a deeply ironic script written by Calder Willingham and Jim Thompson based on the book by Humphrey Cobb, the cinematographic artistry of Georg... Read more
    Published 2 months ago by Scott Emery
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    Topic From this Discussion
    Terrible Cover
    What do you mean? This shot of Kirk Douglas coming back into the trench after trying to get his men to advance after the first wave is classic! It shows the deflated look on his face which surmises the entire futility and idiotic aspects of war and of the mission he was tasked to complete. ... Read more
    Nov 18, 2010 by Amazon Customer |  See all 4 posts
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