The story of trench life during World War I through the lives of a French regiment. As men are killed and replaced jaunty Lt. Denet becomes more and more somber. His rival for the affection of nurse Monique is Capt. La Roche.
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In 1916, somewhere in the front in France in World War I, the 5th Company in the 2nd Battalion of the 39th Regiment created by Napoleon Bonaparte and leaded by the tough Captain Paul La Roche receives among the replacements, Lieutenant Michel Denet and private Moran. When Lt. Denet meets the nurse Monique La Coste, who is Capt. La Roche's mistress but he doe not know, they fall in love for each other. When Capt. La Roche sees the old Pvt. Moran in his inspection, he identifies his father using a fake identity. Meanwhile, the 39th Regiment receives order to go to the trenches, attack the German lines and install a telephone in the front to guide the artillery. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
I saw The Road To Glory for the first time in over 40 years and all I can say is it's the best film Howard Hawks ever did that no one really knows about. It is one of the great anti-war films of all time, it ranks up there in World War I films with Paths Of Glory and All Quiet On The Western Front. In fact this ought to be seen with Paths Of Glory back to back, first this one and then Paths Of Glory where you will understand completely what the French soldiers mutinied about.
Warner Baxter is the veteran captain who's been at the front for years and Fredric March is a lieutenant and relative newcomer who still has a jauntiness about him. Never mind that jauntiness is pretty well knocked out of March after a while.
Pretty nurse June Lang comes between them in a romantic complication to their relationship as veteran officer and relative newcomer. But Baxter has an additional problem, his father Lionel Barrymore, veteran of the Franco-Prussian War has enlisted and found his way to Baxter's outfit. In the beginning Baxter sends away an elderly volunteer. But Barrymore he does not because Baxter knows what it means to the old man.
But Barrymore does not know how much more deadly war has become since 1870. Poison gas, barbed wire, trenches where you lived as well as fought, and automatic weapon fire. It proves too much for him and it leads to tragedy for many in the cast.
Hawks's direction of the battle scenes is incredibly impressive. A lot of this footage was used in other films. And he gets grade A performances out of his cast, most impressive being Baxter and Barrymore.
Sadly this film is not out on DVD, I was lucky to get a copy to review. I hope TCM shows this one real soon so you will rave about it as I have done.
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