16 January 2007

Life In A Trench - "Paths Of Glory" (1957)

Name of Stanley Kubrick is with no doubt on the list of the most important and influential moviemakers in history. Pictures such as "Dr. Strangelove", "Full Metal Jacket", "Clockwork Orange" or "Space Odyssey 2001" are certainly masterpieces. Its authentic and mesmerizing atmosphere is also present in Kubrick’s early work – "Paths of Glory".
It’s a story of man who participated in First World War. Some of them were distinguished and high-ranked officers. On the other side there are regular privates. Picture shows the clash between officer’s aims and private’s fate. For posh gentleman war is about promotions, splendors and distinctions. For soldiers about survival and senseless trench battle that sees no ending. Somewhere in the middle there is Colonel Dax who truly cares about his man.
To justify his mistakes General orders to pick three men from his army to being bring before court martial. An attack on enemy’s position’s failure brought a loss of honor and respect to General. Soldiers didn’t follow the orders because it was a suicide mission. Now they are accused of cowardice.

Kirk Douglas as Colonel Dax gives a superb performance of acting skills. As defender during the trial, he is on his men’s side. Shows disloyalty to General because he does not believe in the same values as him. They are the only real soldiers and heroes in his eyes.
"Paths of Glory" offers a number of great combat shots that give an impression of being in the middle of gunfire. Cold, industrial, muddy and wasteland scenarios are increasing the film’s perception and make it meaningful.

Kaohsiung (23-10-2006)

"Paths of Glory" (1957), directed by Stanley Kubrick, starring: Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou and George Macready.

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