Paths of Glory (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
Special Edition, The Criterion Collection
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
PATHS OF GLORY is agreed by many to be the greatest anti-war movie ever filmed. It looks like a documentary (especially the battlefield and stunning 'bunker' footage) while also acted with top-tier professionalism. PATHS OF GLORY is one of those rare, ahead of its time movies that is/was made so well and is so realized that (you) forget it was released in 1957. It just feels modern and improves upon seeing again.
This film is so anti-war and so damaging to the hierarchy of the French military that they banned PATHS OF GLORY from their own viewing public for over a decade.
The extras contain many interviews from the 2 minute audio by recluse Kubrick; to the British talk show half-an-hour interview with Kirk Douglass himself via 1979. He is a very proud nice guy. Kirk really is; adding some effective comments about being an artist such as "If you want to tell the truth ... write a novel ... if you want to lie ... write an autobiography ..." Laughs seem genuine from studio audience.
There is also a well done essay booklet in this fine Criterion Collection of PATHS OF GLORY.
Within this detailed booklet I learned the German girl who is forced to sing to the rowdy French soldiers (WW1) became Stanley Kubrick's wife (Christiane Kubrick also gives "extras" interview). The song she sang in the pub that turned the rowdy soldiers into the solemn reminder that war is not where they want to be is "The Faithful Hussar", a Napoleonic-era song which states "Oh please mother bring a light/ My sweetheart is going to die." Amen French soldiers drink up and leave the poor German girl alone.
This is truly classic Kubrick cinema and World War history - as well as movie history - at its best.
If a fan of Kubrick you NEED to see this one too.
The film is in black and white - In my youth I had a short-hand way of evaluating films: black and white meant serious, deep, real; color meant shallow, exploitative, sentimental, spectacle. This film is real. I have watched it many times in my life, and I hope to many times more.
The ending made me squirmy and deeply uncomfortable in 1958. Since then, I sing and weep along with the French soldiers.
My favorite scene in the movie: Sgt. Boulanger (Bert Freed) enters the condemned men's cell and greets Cpl. Paris (Ralph Meeker). I think it is one of the best-played, best-written scenes ever filmed. In the context of the drama - three lines I often hear in my mind: "I don't want to die." "Act like a man." "I don't want to die." "This is the last decision you'll have a chance to make on earth."
Kubrick is an effusive genius who I think peaked twice: Paths of Glory and Dr. Strangelove.
A film can be known by its friends and enemies, and Paths of Glory made the right ones on both sides.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fun seeing Kirk Douglas...his son is spitting image.