Paths of Glory Blu-ray Review (1957)

I feel it’s time to look at film from a highly regarded director, I’m referring to Stanley Kubrick. This one stars Kirk Douglas and is a war time drama from 1957. So without further ado here’s my Paths of Glory Blu-ray review.

  • Paths of Glory Blu-ray Review (1957)
  • Running Time: 88 Mins
  • UK Rating PG
  • Discs: 1
  • Released By Eureka Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Released: 19 September 2016
Plot

Set in the First World War along the French front lines, a general gives the ludicrous order to take the ant hill a nearby enemy stronghold resulting in disastrous outcome.

General Mireau (George Macready) is highly ambitious and knows it’s highly unlikely to succeed but wishes to impress his superiors. He decides to send the 701st Regiment to take the ant hill but the combination of machine fire and artillery proves too much.

Paths of Glory Blu-ray

Having failed to take the objective General Mireau shifts the blame on to the 701st Regiment along with its commanding officer Colonel Dax (Kirk Douglas) and seeks to deflect blame away from himself by instigating court martial.

In fact General Mireau is hell bent on making an example of the so called cowards of the 701st Regiment. He determines the best way to do this is to shoot a hundred of the soldiers for cowardice.

Colonel Dax and General Mireau clash over the absurdity of the suggestion but in war the high ranking officer always gets his wish to a certain extent at least.

Dax is fiercely protective of his troops and takes on the role of their defence at the court martial.

Based on Paths of Glory by Humphrey Cobb.

Style / Direction

The film is directed by Stanley Kubrick with the cinematography handled by Georg Krause. Shot entirely in black and white this choice actually only seems to intensify the pointlessness of war.

The camera shots in which we see through Dax’s eyes as he walks through a crowded trench system are particularly powerful and bring home the reality facing the men who are about to sacrifice their lives for a war they don’t understand.

I suppose the other main scene other than the battle sequence which is well done would be the court martial that just happens to take place in a French chateau. This scene is incredibly well shot with the lavish furnishing providing a complete contrast to those in the trenches. The camera tracks around the court room in a fantastic almost 360 degree way following Kirk Douglas’s character.

Music / Audio Effects

The music is by Gerald Fried and is quite minimal with lots of war drums in a militaristic march style.

Acting / Characters

Kirk Douglas plays Colonel Dax, the commanding officer of 701st Infantry Regiment tasked with taking the ant hill. He does not agree with his superiors but is powerless to prevent the inevitably massacre.

He plays this very well and despite his protests nothing really changes after all this is war and never underestimate the sheer stupidity of those orchestrating things at the top.

Overall the acting is very good making the film feel all the more believable.

Conclusion – Paths of Glory Film Review

Clearly this is very much an anti-war film that highlights the sheer pointlessness of war and the resulting consequences.

Kubrick brings his own unique sense of style to the war drama genre and it makes for compelling viewing.

If you have never seen Paths of Glory before I strongly recommend giving it a look.

Paths of Glory Blu-ray Review

In general the picture quality is pretty good without any real marks or speckles which is really great news. The film has a few drops in quality in darker scenes but nothing I’d complain about too much.

Extras
  • Feature length commentary by film scholar Adrian Martin
  • Peter Kramer Interview (15 mins)
  • Richard Ayoade Interview (24 mins)
  • Richard Combs film critic Interview (10 mins)
  • Trailer
  • 36 Page Booklet

Overall an interesting set of extras providing some insight into the making of the film. Most of these tend to be opinion rather than facts but nevertheless it worth a look.

On to my movie rating for Paths of Glory (1957)

  • Movie Rating: WELL WORTH WATCHING
  • Blu-ray Picture: GOOD
  • Extras: VERY GOOD

Paths of Glory (1957) is available now on Blu-ray priced £12.99 from Amazon (as of date of review)

For those of you yet to see the film I’ll leave you with a little taster…

Clip may not be representative of the Blu-ray version

If you like my Paths of Glory Blu-ray Review you may want to check out these films:

 

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Paths of Glory Blu-ray Review (1957)

Director(s): Stanley Kubrick

Actor(s): Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou, George Macready, Wayne Morris

Genre: Drama, War

  • Movie Rating
  • Blu-ray Rating
  • Extras Rating
3.7

Summary

An incredibly powerful piece of filmmaking that shows the utter absurdity of war.

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