Paths of Glory (1957)

From director Stanley Kubrick that I totally admire, this WWI movie with Kirk Douglas was before Kirk’s next movie, “Spartacus”. And directed by Stanley Kubrick. Both that and this, made both Stanley Kubrick and Kirk Douglas famous.

Based on the book by Humphrey Cobb, this story happened in France, 1916. When WWI was on, two years after it began, as the French army were fighting hard. Kirk Douglas as a French WWI colonel, was brave enough to lead his men into battle.

In the trenches, close to artillery cannons and No Man’s Land, their objective was to take on a fort called ‘the Ant Hill’, and hold off against German soldiers for the entire day. Until sundown, help would arrive. Unfortunately, it became a suicide attack. They never made it, and never took on the fort. Some of the soldiers stayed behind in the trenches. 

By the time they returned at headquarters, they chose only three frightened French soldiers as an act of cowardice. By military court-martials, many years before they became notoriously lenient in the Vietnam War, they had them set up for execution. Death by firing squad. 

Like “The Green Mile”, on spending some last moments, that’s what those three men did. As it came to the execution scene, it became one of the most famous execution scenes in movies. And famous to Stanley Kubrick, on how he became popular at the time. Thanks to him, making that.

After that, things did changed to the French army, before going back out to No Man’s Land. Along with the colonel too. Before the movie ended, a German girl was singing as they all hummed to her singing too. Not only she’s just a German girl, she’s played by Christiane Kubrick. The wife of Stanley Kubrick. This movie, was her only appearance along with Kirk Douglas.

For as I’m a big Stanley Kubrick fan, and totally concerned on WWI, I give this a straight ‘A’. Great movie. And a perfect piece to WWI history on them novels.

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