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Old 07-30-2010, 12:10 AM   #16
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Spartacus was a Kubrick movie? Huh. You learn something new every day!
Because you don't know the answer to that question...I pity you.

Loved it. The acting was flawless, pacing was superb (each act offering its own reason to stay glued to the edge of your seat, from the explosions in battle to the explosions in the courtroom), and the direction was among Kubrick's finest. I couldn't get enough of the gorgeous (and gory) siege. Must have absolutely blown minds back in the day.

The only flaw? I thought the premise of the film itself and themes presented were fine, but the example used to illustrate the the horrors of the Masters of War was a bit of a strawman, an exceptional case that worked pathos like mad, but had little validity historically. If you can put that aside, Paths is fucking good. In retrospect, I doubt realism was the novelist's initial goal (the gaping holes in their case, ones the obvious kangaroo court overlooked entirely, would make Lance's mom envious), but it does help if you're attempting to make a down-to-earth statement.
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Old 07-30-2010, 12:18 AM   #17
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Kubrick was always very interested in authenticity, but not necessarily historical validity. So I think that's very easy to put aside. It's certainly one of his most crystalline thematic works, and a good companion piece to the satirical Dr. Strangelove in a way.
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Old 07-30-2010, 12:27 AM   #18
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Well this wasn't a rampant military practice, but it DOES have precedent. So I don't know why one would accuse it of being invalid.
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Old 07-30-2010, 12:30 AM   #19
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The approach was radically different from Strangelove, but I feel it's more effective in the latter case. Paths presents its case using an example (one that could have been made stronger by, I dunno, scaling it back a bit from mass execution), while Strangelove takes you on a journey, dragging you into its world of absurd, backwards logic. You could call the latter cowardly for shielding itself with irony, but I feel that approach suits Kubrick a little better. It allows him to work with the narrative, and mold it into what he feels it should be. This is why I feel The Shining is such a unique piece; no one else could have created it as it stands today, even with the novel to work with. Paths, in contrast, feels extremely novelesque, and I think that's one of its failings. Its storytelling is a bit ordinary, even though its cinematography is exemplary.

All that being said, the performances couldn't have been better (the true selling point of the film IMO, something that separates this film from cold, impersonal war films that utilize similar scenarios with less resonance), and even if I don't care for its delivery, the conclusion really was stirring. I loved those final 10 minutes.
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Old 07-30-2010, 12:31 AM   #20
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I have no idea how valid it really is or isn't, but there is a good degree of 'movie-ness' to the whole premise. My only point is that it hardly matters either way.
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Old 07-30-2010, 04:27 AM   #21
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I'd easily chalk this down as one of my favorite films because of what's already been mentioned: the startlingly effective and resonant anti-war message, solid performances and insanely affecting ending, for starters. What's interesting though is from an auteurist standpoint, it's hard to link this up alongside Kubrick's later work. The common thread of human folly or failure is apparent, yes, but stylistically he's not up to the same precision that defines his post-Lolita work. As it's already been mentioned, the film's Douglas' baby and it's fair to say that he's the chief creative force behind the film. On top of that, Douglas' Col. Dax certainly doesn't match up with the generally cold and emotionally complex characters that you'd see in Kubrick's films, most notably with Lolita as well. I bring this film up for two reasons: I feel it's the first work of his you can apply that auteur stamp to and, more importantly, to piss off Laz.
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Old 07-30-2010, 04:35 AM   #22
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Lolita is certainly a Kubrick film in tone and style, moreso than any previous effort. You're right.

The problem is that his approach doesn't mesh with the material, which only happens to be one of the pinnacles of modern literature. So that's the problem, along with Sellers. Lyne's version, while not necessarily better in the CINEMA department, at least gets the tragedy of the source novel, and has a guy playing Quilty who isn't completely out of control and hamming it up.

Morricone's music don't hurt, either.
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Old 07-30-2010, 04:41 AM   #23
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Interesting you bring up Douglas' creative control over the film. I think his input is probably what gave this film such a humanist center. Even though many of the themes match up to his later work like you suggest, the way they're explored, the pathos, is pretty unique here.
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Old 07-30-2010, 04:42 AM   #24
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Lolita is certainly a Kubrick film in tone and style, moreso than any previous effort. You're right.

The problem is that his approach doesn't mesh with the material, which only happens to be one of the pinnacles of modern literature. So that's the problem, along with Sellers. Lyne's version, while not necessarily better in the CINEMA department, at least gets the tragedy of the source novel, and has a guy playing Quilty who isn't completely out of control and hamming it up.

Morricone's music don't hurt, either.
Not having read the book, I feel that the journey that Mason's Humbert goes through is still emotionally satisfying and heartbreaking, with the scene where he confronts a pregnant Lolita at the end to be one of the best scenes in any of Kubrick's work.

And from what I can infer, the Quilty of the film doesn't match up with the book and kind of works as a cypher for the audience in trying to grasp and externalize Humbert's actions. There's no doubt Kubrick's vision would've been much stronger without the heavy censorship of the period, and there's a legit chance that Sellers' characterization may have been reigned in. I don't know, there's also the chance that he let Sellers run wild because he's an insanely funny motherfucker, as his dominance of Dr. Strangelove... would suggest.

Kubrick's approach to adaptations doesn't have me too worried about looking to find inconsistencies between the film and novel as long as the core ideas are presented well enough. Again, I can't speak for sure not having read the book, though friends of mine who read it for class and watched the film afterward had positive reactions to it.

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Interesting you bring up Douglas' creative control over the film. I think his input is probably what gave this film such a humanist center. Even though many of the themes match up to his later work like you suggest, the way they're explored, the pathos, is pretty unique here.
Almost all of it comes through in his performance and his actions are arguably the most altruistic and positively defiant of any Kubrick protagonist. While he still lives with the guilt of having the men die under his watch, all of the blame can be placed on external forces, which again, is crucial in separating him from the Kubrick "anti-hero," if you can even call them that.
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Old 07-30-2010, 04:54 AM   #25
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I'm sure it's not a high priority, but you should get around to seeing Lyne's version someday, at least for Irons alone. One of his best performances. And the Morricone score really is beautiful. Also, if you think the end of Kubrick's version was moving, this one is devastating.

Come to think of it, I'm even selling it short. The photography is fantastic as well, and Lyne knows how to frame a shot. It's really a crime that in the late 90's they couldn't get this in the theatres because of puritan attitudes and had to release it on fucking Showtime.

Just listen to some of this score:

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Old 07-30-2010, 04:58 AM   #26
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When I get around to reading the novel, I'll give that version a watch.
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Old 07-30-2010, 11:27 AM   #27
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Because you don't know the answer to that question...I pity you.
Yeah, awesome, thanks. I don't know how I've survived for 36 years without knowing that.
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Old 07-30-2010, 02:20 PM   #28
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I should have known Paths of Glory was too obscure to quote from.
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Old 07-30-2010, 02:53 PM   #29
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I should have known Paths of Glory was too obscure to quote from.
You can go to Hell.
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Old 07-30-2010, 02:57 PM   #30
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Gentlemen of the Interference Movie Club, there are times that I'm ashamed to be a member of the human race, and this is one such occasion.

(An extraordinarily easy quote to fit in on Interference, tbh)
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