Thursday, December 17, 2015

Paths of Glory (1957)

War Movie #6

Synopsis: Dashing officer defends railroaded men against sadistic war-monger during military court-martial. Oh wait, that’s the Synopsis for A Few Good Men... and Breaker Morant, come to think of it. 

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “No motion picture has more effectively dramatized the absurdity of war than this Stanley Kubrick masterpiece, capturing the feel, smell and taste of battle – as did Kubrick in his recent Vietnam opus, Full Metal Jacket.” 

What Did I Learn?: Apparently, the French Army had a practice of drawing lots for capital punishment when an entire unit was deemed to have disgraced itself. Gee, I’ll bet that did wonders for morale... 

Really?: 1) Colonel Dax (Kirk Douglas) was one of France’s most talented criminal defence lawyers before the war, and now he has to defend three of his men in a court-martial? That’s a wee bit convenient, isn’t it? 2) I had a bit of a hard time believing General Mireau could order his artillery to fire upon his own men without suspecting he might face some sort of blowback. 

Rating: Paths of Glory is a bit slow-moving and depressing, but it’s a memorable anti-war film that features an outstanding performance from Douglas. Highly recommended. 9/10 stars.

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