PATHS OF GLORY (1957) B/W 86m dir: Stanley Kubrick
w/Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou, George Macready, Wayne Morris, Richard Anderson, Joseph Turkel, Timothy Carey, Peter Capell, Susanne Christian (Kubrick's wife, Christiane)
Kubrick's fourth feature film, PATHS OF GLORY, is a masterpiece about a French Army division fighting in Verdun during WWI. Douglas is excellent as an officer who believes in treating his men like human beings, not as scapegoats to cover a general's mistake. Screenplay by Kubrick, Calder Willingham, and Jim Thompson (based on the novel by Humphrey Cobb).
From The Movie Guide: "Stanley Kubrick's first great film established the epic style that has served him so well since. This is a harrowing and still very effective antiwar film that ranks with Lewis Milestone's epic ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT in its power. The split between officers and men has never been so sharply delineated. The film was banned in France when it first appeared for eighteen years because of its anti-militarist stance. ...
"This is a director's film: Kubrick profiles naked power and the effects thereof with a visual excitement seldom seen on the screen; his attitude toward the actions he portrays is always felt. One particularly striking and effective strategy is the tendency to utilize mesmerizing but inhuman tracking shots for the trenches and battlegrounds while using elegant circling camera movements for the comfortable surroundings of the officers' chateau.
"Though its condemnation of war is overwhelming, PATHS OF GLORY offers more optimism than is usual for the pessimistic Kubrick. The film may be read as a testament to human courage, compassion, and spirit that battles valiantly for survival despite the efforts of tyrants to vanquish principle and humanity."