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. Written by
Keith Loh <email@example.com>
In 1938 director George Stevens wanted to make a film from the Humphrey Cobb novel. RKO Pictures, which had Stevens under contract, did not want to produce an antiwar film, anticipating that war was in the offing, and steered him to direct Gunga Din (1939) instead. See more »
Camera wire visible in few shots where the prisoners are being taken to their execution spot. See more »
Narrator of opening sequence:
War began between Germany and France on August 3rd 1914. Five weeks later the German army had smashed its way to within eighteen miles of Paris. There the battered French miraculously rallied their forces at the Marne River and in a series of unexpected counterattacks drove the Germans back. The front was stabilized then shortly afterwards developed into a continuous line of heavily fortified trenches zigzagging their way five hundred miles from the English Channel to the Swiss ...
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I consider Paths of Glory as one of the most memorable of Kubrick's entire output. The most remarkable aspect of this pioneer anti-war film is the complete absence of any persons depicting the "real" enemy. Therefore, the significance of the film lay not so much in its anti-war message, but in its brilliant expose of the "monsters within" the general staff, superbly acted by Adolphe Menjou and George Macready. The message here is that the enemy lurks much closer to home. In most war films, whether they glorify or condemn the carnage, there is rarely any venturing at all into the darker side of the politics. This film is a tour de force in its unabashed depiction of just how misguided is the quest for glory as an end in itself; and in the portrayal of the leaders who would shamelessly sacrifice others for their own self aggrandizement. Truly, one of my all time favourite movies.
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