What We’ve Been Watching – Issue #2

Paths of Glory4.5/5

Stanley Kubrick’s intimate World War I film ranks amongst the best war films of all time. Dissimilar to most in the genre, this is less worried about epic battle scenes (although there is one continuous shot of soldiers advancing into battle which is mesmerizing) and more about personal relations of people and consequences of certain of their actions, even if the result of those actions is not necessarily their fault or intention.

Kirk Douglas, working with Kubrick three years prior to their legendary collaboration with Spartacus, is astonishing as a man who does everything he can to stop the execution of three soldiers who are unfairly prosecuted for retreating from battle. There is a clear sense that Kubrick and Douglas were on the same level when making this film, the camera, guided by Kubrick, just seems to work completely in tandem with Douglas. As much of a master that Kubrick was this is as much Douglas’ film as it is his, with the performance of him taking the centre stage just as much as Kubrick’s directing expertise does.

A group of people singing together is usually and supposed to be a happy thing. But the song at the conclusion of Paths of Glory just makes us feel all the more saddened by what has happened throughout the coarse of the film. Kubrick was indeed a master and Paths of Glory ranks amongst his best. – ROSS

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