Paths of Glory (1957)

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    Information from IMDb

    Plot Summary
    The futility and irony of the war in the trenches in WWI
    is shown as a unit commander in the French army
    must deal with the mutiny of his men and a glory-seeking general
    after part of his force falls back under fire in an impossible attack.
    Written by Keith Loh

    Full Cast
    Kirk Douglas ... Col. Dax
    Ralph Meeker ... Cpl. Philippe Paris
    Adolphe Menjou ... Gen. George Broulard
    George Macready ... Gen. Paul Mireau
    Wayne Morris ... Lt. Roget
    Richard Anderson ... Maj. Saint-Auban
    Joe Turkel ... Pvt. Pierre Arnaud (as Joseph Turkel)
    Christiane Kubrick ... German Singer (as Susanne Christian)
    Jerry Hausner ... Proprietor of Cafe
    Peter Capell ... Narrator of Opening Sequence / Chief Judge of Court-Martial
    Emile Meyer ... Father Dupree
    Bert Freed ... Sgt. Boulanger
    Kem Dibbs ... Pvt. Lejeune
    Timothy Carey ... Pvt. Maurice Ferol
    Fred Bell ... Shell-Shocked Soldier
    John Stein ... Capt. Rousseau - Battery Commander
    Harold Benedict ... Capt. Nichols - Artillery Spotter
    Leon Briggs ... Capt. Sancy (uncredited)
    Paul Bös ... Maj. Gouderc (uncredited)
    Herbert Ellis ... Small Role (unconfirmed) (uncredited)
    Wally Friedrichs ... Col. De Guerville (uncredited)
    Halder Hanson ... Doctor (uncredited)
    James B. Harris ... Private in the Attack (uncredited)
    Rolf Kralovitz ... K.P. (uncredited)
    Ira Moore ... Capt. Renouart (uncredited)
    Marshall Rainer ... Pvt. Duval (uncredited)
    Roger Vagnoid ... Cafe Owner (uncredited)

    Writing Credits
    Stanley Kubrick (screenplay) &
    Calder Willingham (screenplay) and
    Jim Thompson (screenplay)
    Humphrey Cobb (based on the novel "Paths of Glory" by)

    Original Music
    Gerald Fried

    Georg Krause

    Although the story takes place on France's western front, Stanley Kubrick chose to shoot the film in and around Munich, Germany. Most interior scenes were filmed at Bavaria's Geiselgasteig Studios, and the court-martial scenes were shot in nearby Schleissheim Castle, an 18th-century structure then serving as a national museum. Just beyond this location is the Dachau Concentration Camp memorial.

    For box office reasons, Stanley Kubrick intended to impose a happy ending. After several draft scripts he changed his mind and restored the novel's original ending. Producer James B. Harris then had to inform studio executive Max E. Youngstein and risk rejection of the change. Harris managed by simply having the entire final script delivered without a memo of the changes, on the assumption that nobody in the studio would actually read it.

    Richard Burton and James Mason were considered for the part of Colonel Dax.

    When Kirk Douglas was first approached for the role, he was committed to a Broadway play. Stanley Kubrick then met Gregory Peck in connection with How to Steal a Million; Peck was interested but was also unavailable. Douglas' play was postponed and then Peck also became available; Douglas got in first and got the part.

    Director Stanley Kubrick met Christiane Kubrick (then Christiane Harlan) during filming; she performs the singing at the end of the film. He divorced his second wife the following year to marry her, and they remained married until his death in 1999.

    The title is a quotation from Thomas Gray's 'Elegy written in a country churchyard': "The paths of glory lead but to the grave".

    Was banned in France for its negative portrayal of the French army. Switzerland also banned the film (until 1978), accusing it of being "subversive propaganda directed at France." Belgium required that a foreword be added stating that the story represented an isolated case that did not reflect upon the "gallantry of the French soldiers."

    In an early attempt to sell the project to a studio, Stanley Kubrick and producer James B. Harris rented military uniforms and gathered several male friends to pose for a photograph that would capture the essence of their story. They affixed the photo to the cover of each screenplay copy.

    Stanley Kubrick, widely known as a perfectionist, shot 68 takes of the doomed men's "last meal" scene. Because the details of the scene required that the actors appear to be engaged in the act of eating, a new roast duck had to be prepared for almost every take.

    Composer Gerald Fried actually created two main title themes for the movie. While most prints of the film features his arrangement of the French national anthem, "Marseillaise," another version opened with an original composition by Fried. The latter version was created for select European markets that might have taken offense at the anthem's use in a film so critical of France's military leadership.

    Stanley Kubrick's numerous fluid tracking shots required that the trenches be two feet wider than the original World War I trenches - six feet as opposed to four feet - to allow room for the roving camera dollies. Although the technical director did object to the widening, the duckboards the camera rolled on were authentic.

    The epic battle sequence was filmed in a 5,000-sq.-yd. pasture rented from a German farmer. After paying for the crops that would have been raised that season, the production team moved in with eight cranes and as many as 60 crew members working around the clock for three weeks to create trenches, shell holes and the rough, muddy terrain of a World War I battleground.

    Special effects supervisor Erwin Lange was forced to appear before a special German government commission before he was permitted to acquire the huge number of explosives needed for the battle scenes. Over a ton of explosives were discharged in the first week of filming alone.

    The French authorities considered the film an offense to the honor of their army and prohibited its exhibition in France until 1975. In Germany the film wasn't allowed to be shown for a couple of years after its release to avoid any strain in relations with France.

    Col. Dax's headquarters was placed in a severely damaged building, which looks like it was hit by shells. This set was actually the old castle of Schleissheim, opposite the-18th century castle, used as the set for the court martial, etc. During WWII the factories near Schleissheim were hit by an air raid. Some bombs fell on the old castle, causing heavy damage. So Col. Dax's headquarters were not set up by the film crew, they were actually damaged by war.

    Banned in Spain by the censorship under General Francisco Franco's dictatorship, for its anti-military message. It wasn't released until 1986, 11 years after Franco's death.

    The film was shot near Munich, Germany, and most of the men playing French soldiers were actually off-duty officers from the Munich Police Department.

    Kubrick and his partners purchased the film rights to Humphrey Cobb's novel from his widow for $10,000.

    In 1969, Kirk Douglas recalled about the film "There's a picture that will always be good, years from now. I don't have to wait 50 years to know that; I know it now".

    Kubrick's working with Kirk Douglas on this film directly led to him replacing Anthony Mann as director of Spartacus in 1960. Mann and Douglas had had a falling out on the production of that film so Douglas asked for Kubrick to direct.

    Stanley Kubrick approached Kirk Douglas with the script. Douglas instantly fell in love with it, telling Kubrick "Stanley, I don't think this picture will ever make a nickel, but we have to make it." Douglas's words proved to be quite prophetic - the film was not a success at the box office.

    Shot for under $1 million, $300,000 of which went on Kirk Douglas' salary.

    Winston Churchill claimed that the film was a highly accurate depiction of trench warfare and the sometimes misguided workings of the military mind.

    Kem Dibbs is credited as a cast member in the opening credits, but is omitted in the more comprehensive end credits. Therefore, the opening credits are listed first and the rest of cast list is taken from the end credits, as required by IMDb rules.

    Actor Richard Anderson remembered, "The trench was gruesome. It just reeked, and then the weather was so lousy - it was cold, it was freezing and overcast and gray. We were all sick. We all had colds, we were all sick from the first week. We all looked awful, but it certainly added to the movie."

    The prison scene where the men discuss their fates ran overtime on a Saturday. Stanley Kubrick could not get what he wanted, and producer James B. Harris came to the set to tell the director after take 63 that overtime was not allowed in Germany. Kubrick resisted stopping in a rare show of temper. He finally got what he wanted by take 74.

    According to Robert Osbourne, this film was said to be the favorite war film of John McCain.

    At the end of the film, when the German girl sings, there are modern (1950s) metal music stands on the stage.

    Boom mic visible
    During the first tracking with Dax in the trenches, the shadow of a boom-mike is visible.

    Character error
    Near the beginning of the film Private Ferol, when asked by General Mireau, states that he has no wife - but while walking to the firing squad is crying on the shoulder of the priest that he will never see his wife again.

    The priest says "et spiritui sancti" instead of the correct "et spiritus sancti".

    In the scenes of the men's executions the sky repeatedly shifts between gray and overcast in some shots to bright sunshine in others, noticeably changing the natural light, causing shadows and sun glare to appear and disappear from shot to shot.

    After General Mireau slaps the soldier in the trench, he continues on to Colonel Dax's dugout and and three soldiers carrying a machine gun pass him. The same three soldiers still with the machine gun pass him again when he and Colonel Dax are looking at the Ant Hill through the binoculars.

    After the court martial, as the sergeant is addressing the guards describing the procedure and discipline required of the firing squad, the last guard in the rank has a "710" regiment number collar pin whereas all of the others (and those in Colonel Dax's regiment) have a "701".

    Crew or equipment visible
    Camera wire visible in few shots where the prisoners are being taken to their execution spot.

    Revealing mistakes
    As Colonel Dax is running through the trenches after General Mireau gives his order, a supposedly-dead soldier blin

    Filming Locations
    Munich, Bavaria, Germany
    Bavaria Filmstudios, Geiselgasteig, Grünwald, Bavaria, Germany
    Bernried, Weilheim-Schongau, Bavaria, Germany
    Pacaria-Filmkunst Studios, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
    Schleissheim Palace, Munich, Bavaria, Germany

    Watch this Clip



    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 6 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • Paths of Glory is a 1957 American anti-war film
    by Stanley Kubrick based on the novel of the same name by Humphrey Cobb.
    Set during World War I, the film stars Kirk Douglas as Colonel Dax,
    the commanding officer of French soldiers who refused to continue a suicidal attack.
    Dax attempts to defend them against a charge of cowardice in a court-martial.

    User Review


    An Anti-War Masterpiece
    11 May 2004 | by Claudio Carvalho (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
    In France, in the First World War, the insane and ambitious general Gen. Paul Mireau (George Macready) orders Colonel Dax (Kirk Douglas) to lead his men in a suicide attack against Germans in the unattainable Ant Hill. After a massacre of the French soldiers, Gen. Mireau orders his artillery to drop bombs between the French front line of attack and the trenches, to avoid the soldier to return to the protection of the trenches. The commander of the French artillery refuses to accomplish the order. Gen. Mireau asks his superior, Gen. George Broulard (Adolphe Menjou), to send three men to Court Martial and execute them for cowardice through shooting, as an example to the other soldiers. Colonel Dax, a former lawyer, defends his men in the unfair trial. Yesterday I watched this outstanding masterpiece for the first time and certainly it is among the best movies of the cinema history. The disgusting story shows the insanity of a war, where men are treated like numbers and not as human beings. The reality of the battles scenes is amazing. The cast has a stunning performance, highlighting the trio George Macready, Adolphe Menjou and Kirk Douglas. The lack of sensibility and respect for the human life and the cynicism in the dialogs of the two generals are fantastic. Two other points that called my attention are the fancy reception for the general staff, while their subalterns are fighting in the front and the misunderstanding of the real intentions of Colonel Dax by Gen. George Broulard. A must-see movie! My vote is ten.

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 5 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • I have posted this new review for Carl- The Ringo Kid.

    Copied over from
    Last Non-Western You Watched

    Love this movie. Kirk Douglas and all were fantastic. Strangely enough, the first time I saw this movie--I hated it.

    Genius Kubrick. Actually gets better everytime I watch it.
    The sentiment is as current today as it was when the film was first released.

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 3 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • Brilliant Keith!
    Another example why I said what I said on the 9000 post thread!
    I love Kubrik and this is a phenomenal film.

    "Pour yourself some backbone and shut up!"

  • Wow. Thanks for the trailers Ethan.

    Looks like REAL WAR! Kept begging an old friend to tell me about his war
    experiences...WWII....infantry. Finally, one night he did. I had nightmares for months. It is amazing what a man can do, so outside his norm, after seeing the atrocities of war.....great buddies blown to bits in front of your eyes, etc. Will have to look for this movie. KPKEITH

    God, she reminds me of me! DUKE