“How pride can make the human mind so incredibly numb. Paths of Glory is a classic from 1957, directed by Stanley Kubrick. It’s a war movie what brings up the questions why all of mankinds weirdest things always seem to happen in war times. Naturally you would say it’s because of all the tension that the human psychiology can’t handle. And maybe that’S the point. This translates even into the present day.
As a sidenote it’s important to say that this movie was never shown in france till 1975. The movie wasn’t indexed but no one tried to get it through the french censors. That speaks for itself i think.
The movie stars Kirk Douglas, playing a colonel who is in command of french troops in the first world war. He’s ordered to command an attack on a hill with, of course, a worn out and tired troup of men. He’s leading the attack nonetheless, which miserably fails. Higher rank officers say these men were cowards and want to state an example on chosen soldiers from the regiment. To kill them for insubordinating the orders given and other ridiculous things. Kirk Douglas’ character is trying to help the death candidates in an unofficial hearing/tribunal. Without any luck. Desperately he must watch how numb and blinded the military sees its soldiers as plain ‘material’, not humans.
You clearly see this is one of kubricks earlier works. You can also kind of feel that’s it is one of his works. Hard to explain. I think it’s something about how he’s portraiting the characters. Much like his later ‘full metal jacket’ movie he’s showing us how insanely stupid men become when they lose control about what really makes us human. May it be because of circumstances or losing perspective about what really matters. This, of course, happens in war too often. Writing this as someone who has never been to war or ever held a weapon in his hands may be stupid too. On the other hand i don’t think i’m far away from the truth.
This movie deserves a clear recommendation.