Paths of Glory

Directed by Stanley Kubrick in 1957, Paths of Glorydepicts World War I French military life so harshly it was banned in France for almost two decades. Kubrick was a young man of staggering confidence who directed an equally powerful cast; together, the group produced a film whose darkness and absolute refusal to compromise remains shocking even today, nearly 50 years after it was made. As Roger Ebert writes in his essay on the film, it was with Paths of Glory that Kubrick “entered the ranks of great directors.”

Kubrick's film - appropriately, given its economical duration - tells a story of profound simplicity. Mired in the trenches of Europe, the French military advance against the enemy Germans has stalled, and the absence of good news from the front has the officers corps restless. In search of a dramatic offensive that will galvanize the public and press, General Broulard (Adolphe Menjou) approaches an ambitious younger officer (General Mireau, played by George Macready) with plans for an obviously doomed attack on the German position. Though he at first resists such a suicidal mission, Mireau - who would be at no personal risk in any attack - is persuaded by the suggestion that success will mean promotion, and heads to the trenches to share the news with his command.
categories Reviews, Cinematical