Interference Movie Club - Round 3- "Paths of Glory" - U2 Feedback

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Old 07-26-2010, 11:42 PM   #1
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Interference Movie Club - Round 3- "Paths of Glory"

Paths of Glory

Directed by Stanley Kubrick, 1957

Suggested by Beav - Monday, July 19

Discussion begins... well, now. Go go go!


Quote:
Originally Posted by netflix
Writer-director Stanley Kubrick's powerful anti-war statement stars Kirk Douglas as Col. Dax, the commander of a weary regiment of French army soldiers stationed along the western front during World War I. When French generals order the regiment to carry out what amounts to a suicide mission against heavy German fire, some of the men refuse. But when the army tries three of the soldiers on charges of cowardice, Dax acts as their defense attorney.











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Old 07-26-2010, 11:43 PM   #2
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Jew on deck.
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Old 07-26-2010, 11:48 PM   #3
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I hope everyone can fit Shoah into their schedule.
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Old 07-27-2010, 12:03 AM   #4
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Essentially, I feel that Paths of Glory is all a dream....

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Old 07-27-2010, 12:09 AM   #5
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So my mom really likes old movies about WWI and WWII. I never liked them, but by default, if I happen to catch part of a movie on TV or read about one of those old movies, I think of good ol' mom. But I'm never really interested in the movies.

My grandpa really liked John Wayne movies, and when I think of him, I think of sitting around at his house on Saturday afternoons and watching whatever western was on TV, with whatever relatives were there. But I really don't care for westerns.

So that was my reaction when I saw the cover art of the DVD on Netflix - Oh, it's one of those old war movies. I didn't read the description, I just sighed and put it in my queue, assuming I'd suffer through it and wouldn't have much to say.

Happy to be proven wrong! I was pleasantly surprised to be sucked into the story within 15-20 minutes.

I found it shocking - I hadn't heard anything about this movie, like, ever. No idea it was Kubrick, no idea it was an anti-war story, nada. So it took me completely by surprise when the men were executed. I kept waiting for a dramatic interruption between "Aim!" and "Fire!" and then my mouth dropped open as they got shot.

I thought the pre-execution scenes with the soldiers was very affecting, both moving and disturbing. The final scene filled me with dread - I thought for sure that poor German woman was going to be attacked or something and almost couldn't watch.

Was the song she was singing something I was supposed to know? I found it weird that all those French soldiers knew a German folk song - maybe the melody was the same for a French folk song or something, as they were all just humming the melody instead of singing the words with her. I found that last scene moving as well, once I realized she wasn't going to end up getting raped.

I think the only negative thing I have to say is the main bad guy, General Whatshisname was just too moustache-twirling in his I'M THE BAD GUY! role.

Also, I'm pretty sure this was the first Kirk Douglas movie I've ever seen.
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Old 07-27-2010, 12:10 AM   #6
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...and you can go to HELL before I dream in front of you or ever again!
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Old 07-27-2010, 12:24 AM   #7
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JT is up next, not the Jew. He pussed out on this completely
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Old 07-27-2010, 12:27 AM   #8
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Cool. I have a couple in mind, so I'll narrow it down sooner than I thought
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Old 07-27-2010, 01:02 AM   #9
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I enjoyed the film a great deal, in spite of the fact that I had a hard time finding the plot to be at all believable. The more time I've spent thinking about it, I can buy it, but while I was watching it, I didn't and it took me out of it a great deal.

Second Kirk Douglas film I've seen, the other was Spartacus, also a Kubrick joint, and he is just a brilliant actor. And looks creepy as fuck like his son.
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Old 07-27-2010, 10:40 AM   #10
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Spartacus was a Kubrick movie? Huh. You learn something new every day!
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Old 07-27-2010, 12:43 PM   #11
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Do you like gladiator movies, Cori?

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Old 07-27-2010, 01:49 PM   #12
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No, but I have seen a grown man naked.
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Old 07-27-2010, 01:52 PM   #13
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I'm not sure if your trip to Florence counts.

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Old 07-28-2010, 02:00 PM   #14
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This is in my opinion one of Kubrick's best films, and his most moving one by a wide margin. While it doesn't have the bravura visuals of the later works, the trench footage is very well-done and visceral (until recently, I would have called the camerawork innovative, though I've recently discovered Raymond Bernard's 1932 French WWI film Wooden Crosses, which is leaps and bounds above Paths of Glory in that department).

Of course Douglas deserves a shitload of credit, not just for helping get the project off the ground, but sticking with it through choppy waters and insisting on the bleak ending. And of course acting-wise this is one of his better performances.

It deserves mention among the best war films for its anti-authoritarian stance and for not glorifying soldiers like most of them do. Like The Thin Red Line, its thematic focus is on the loss of humanity that is military conflict's greatest tragedy. It's ironic that Spielberg counts this among his favorite films, because his own entry in the genre is an example of the kind of jingoistic bullshit Paths of Glory is clearly a reaction to; the only influence one can detect is the "you are there" approach to the battle scenes.

For those who enjoyed this, I'd suggest renting Samuel Fuller's The Steel Helmet, which deals with American soldiers in the Korean War, and shares a similarly bleak outlook and some very expressionistic visuals that had a major influence on Scorsese and Tarantino, among others.
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Old 07-28-2010, 11:48 PM   #15
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The trenches were by and far my favorite part of the film. The camera work as well as just watching them walking around like nothing's going on while there's all of these explosions going on overhead and just thinking, good God, how does someone get used to that. (of course, you know, they're actors, but it' fun to get lost in a film a bit)
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Old 07-29-2010, 11:10 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corianderstem View Post
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 07-29-2010, 11:18 PM   #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 07-29-2010, 11:27 PM   #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 07-29-2010, 11:30 PM   #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 07-29-2010, 11:31 PM   #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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