This is a blog which primarily gives some attention to movies that I find were overlooked (for whatever reason) or are simply underrated. I also comment on other, mainly movie-related issues as well. I welcome any suggestions for films to be added to this distinguished list.

One word of warning: The films listed below contain spoilers, so caution during reading is required.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Paths of Glory (1957)





"YOU CAN GO TO HELL BEFORE I APOLOGIZE TO YOU NOW OR EVER AGAIN!!!"

-Col. Dax





This film, directed by Stanley Kubrick and based on a novel by Humphrey Cobb, takes place during WWI and concerns Col. Dax (Kirk Douglas), who attempts to defend the French troops under his command when they are accused of cowardice after they refuse to continue a suicidal attack.



The trench warfare scenes, a battle environment which WWI itself is known for (heck, Charles Schulz had Snoopy's brother, Spike, in the trenches while Snoopy was in the air searching for the Red Baron), are jolting, all the more so when you consider that this film was made years before America's military involvement in Vietnam began. The influence of these scenes can be seen in later war films such as Platoon (1986), Glory (1989), Saving Private Ryan (1998), as well as Kubrick's more famous war film Full Metal Jacket (1987).



Just as memorable though as the courtroom scenes in which Dax attempts to convince Gen. Broulard (Adolphe Menjou) that courtmartialing 100 troops simply because a planned attack by Broulard and his subordinate Gen. Mireau (George Macready) failed is wrong.



Although the film barely got any attention upon its release, it is revered today, so much so that a 1991 episode of Tales From the Crypt, entitled "Yellow," which guest-starred Douglas, was a takeoff of it.



More importantly, though, it earned Kubrick significant clout. This clout would come in handy when Douglas was working on his next film, Spartacus (1960). Anthony Mann was originally hired as the director until he left the production due to differences with Douglas, who was also the executive producer of the film. This led to Douglas hiring Kubrick as director. Spartacus became a huge hit and, although he disliked the mandates Douglas and the studio put on him during its production, Kubrick used that success to move to England, where he would be based for the rest of his career. This allowed him to make any subsequent films far from the interference of Hollywood. Hence, all of Kubrick's subsequent films, from Lolita (1962) to Eyes Wide Shut (1999), would carry his unique imprint on them.



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