Paths Of Glory Movie Review

Paths Of Glory Movie Review – Explores the political turmoil among French soldiers during the First World War, where Colonel Dax refuses to take part in a suicide mission requested by the megalomaniac General Mireau. As a result of his actions, three of the soldiers in his unit were charged with cowardice in a military court. Despite the theme of political tension in the text, this black and white film is never political. On the other hand, it raises a series of questions for the audience to think about: What are soldiers? What is the duty? What is honor? Why should a person sacrifice his life for his country in the name of patriotism? These, at least, were the questions that occupied my mind during the 88 minute running time.

Kirk Douglas (Michael Douglas’ father) is excellent as Colonel Dax, a righteous and kind man who opposes the hatred of his superiors. My favorite scene was when Dax walked into the courtroom and said:

Paths Of Glory Movie Review

“Your Honor, there are times when I am ashamed to be a member of the human race and this is one of those times.”

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No one can argue that it was the single greatest scene in the film. However, Kubrick skips it at the end, when we see drunken French soldiers swarming “

“, a famous German song, without knowing a single word of it – the German scene gives the audience a rude awakening and they find out that this is real, this happened.

There are several fantastic war movies that have both glorified and undermined the identity of war, but none have ever questioned the legitimacy of the power play within the military as such.

“The art of guidance, and the majesty of power, and all that beauty, and all the wealth they have paid, wait for the inevitable hour. The paths of glory lead to the grave.” – Thomas Gray Stanley Kubrick in the seminal antiwar film, “Paths of Glory” (1957) , was re-released again to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. Like Kubrick’s earlier films, this one also contains subtle Jewish undertones.

Paths Of Glory

Loosely based on a true story, the film is adapted from the 1935 novel of the same name by Humphrey Cobb.

This plan concerns French military commanders who, during the First World War, were willing to spend an entire division in a hopeless attack on a German stronghold known as “Ant Hill.” When it fails, they look for a scapegoat to take the blame, and three soldiers are chosen to sacrifice their blood for the good of France. He was accused in a court of cowardice and although he was strongly defended by a lawyer-cum-sergeant named Col. Dax (played by Kirk Douglas in the film), it’s all a fake structure, and the three are eventually shot.

The question of how the three students were chosen was a thorny issue, as seen in the book and the film. Indeed, after the Holocaust, which ended only 12 years before Kubrick’s film came out, the idea of ​​selection may contain echoes of the extermination camps in the minds of Kubrick and Douglas, both sons of Jewish immigrants to the United States.

In the story of the play and the original play, one of those initially chosen as a scapegoat – Private Meyer – is a Jew. Described as “socially unpopular,” Meyer was also described as a syphilitic child abuser, drawing on old anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jews and their deviant sexuality.

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The captain of the French army, when he saw the widespread belief in such a decision, surprisingly spared Meyer precisely because he was a Jew. As Kubrick’s film screenplay, first written by Jim Thompson and later revised by Calder Willingham, states, “This is when the Jew is saving the man’s life instead of costing him.”

But Meyer is not saved because of philosophical-Semitism or morality. Rather, the captain’s fear is due to the idea of ​​anti-Semitism. In Cobb’s words, “You never know what these Jews are up to.”

In addition, the decision was explained by the desire to protect the reputation of the French military, which suffered such a blow after the Dreyfus Affair (involving a Jewish officer in the French army, which was made a crime in 1894 another man).

When his fellow captain, confused and anti-Semitic, did not follow this line of thinking, he was told, in a speech worth quoting: “Do you remember the Dreyfus case? It’s a lesson, that’s all, a lesson against exposing yourself to anything.” one more time… They never dreamed when they elected that little quiet Jewish official that the whole world would call his name for years to come. After that ministry would fall and war might break out because of him. As a French nation, he and his fate are in turmoil.

Paths Of Glory Movie Review

“No, if I elect Meyer, the cry of anti-Semitism will undoubtedly be raised – rightly so, too. No one can tell when or at what cost the cry will be silenced. That’s where I’m using my head. I want it clean. be.”

Thus Meyer was spared the choice of most causes that marked his death for decades to come.

This entire subplot, for reasons unknown, was removed by Kubrick when the screenplay was adapted to the finished film. But surprisingly, Meyer’s character (played by Jerry Hausner, best known for his role in “I Love Lucy”) appears in “Paths of Glory,” although all Jewish references have been completely deleted. In terms of type, Meyer is described as an excellent soldier; The only clue to his Jewishness is his last name.

Why was the subplot left out? Perhaps those who made and appeared in the film were afraid that, after the Second World War and during the McCarthyism period, it was too fast for the commercial production of Hollywood to include clear references to the Dreyfus Affair. and antipathy. Historian Geoffrey Cocks, who has written extensively about Kubrick and the Holocaust, felt that this choice “wasn’t ready for him after Auschwitz.”

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However, the spectacle of Dreyfus, like the Holocaust, is on the film, even if it is not clearly visible anywhere. Certainly, the brass of the French military came across in a terrible light, especially in regard to the integrity, honor and loyalty of Colonel Dax in his defense of the three condemned men.

Not surprisingly, then, “Paths of Glory” was not investigated in France until the mid-1970s. Using diplomatic channels, the French government put great pressure on United Artists, the film’s European distributor, to avoid releasing the film. As a result, it was not submitted to the French censors, and was not shown there until 1975.

In order to maintain good relations with France, or at least not strain them, “Paths of Glory” was not shown at the Berlin Film Festival in 1958 after France threatened to withdraw. This ban was enforced in Germany until 1959. Also, the Swiss called it “subversive propaganda directed at France,” refused to investigate journalists, and declared that any publications that were not immediately exported from the country would be banned. will seize and take over.

Its anti-military content means the film is banned from US military bases. It was also officially censored in Spain by Franco’s fascist government, and was not released there until 1986, 11 years after Franco’s death.

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The most interesting thing, however, was that Israel’s film censorship board also decided against screening the film after it came out. The official reason given was that it “embarrassed the French Army” and Israel had a policy of preventing the viewing of any film that satirized another state.

But was that decision really taken to appease France, which was, at the time, Israel’s biggest supplier? France had already sold Israel anti-tank missiles and Mirage aircraft, and in October 1957, it agreed to provide Israel with a nuclear reactor.

While realpolitik may be strong here, the decision not to show “Roads of Honor” was surprising, given the Jewish cast of the film. Perhaps a militaristic society like Israel does not want to be seen as supporting an antimilitaristic film. France, 1916, a few miles behind the front: upstairs, in a chateau commanded by the French army as a military base, an orchestra plays. a waltz for the officers’ ball; and in the splendid library General Broulard left his guests to drink brandy and talk with young Colonel Dax. “The army is like children. They need discipline. . .” The general believes in setting an example. Dax asks what kind of example, and the old man gives an elegant gesture. “Shooting a man”, he explained, “now and then”.

In fact, three French soldiers are to be shot for “example” within a few hours. The previous day the Division Commander, General Mireau (in Broulard’s indication that the promotion would be attended by success) ordered Dax to lead an attack on a clear German position.

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When it failed, an angry Mireau first ordered the artillery commander

Paths Of Glory Movie Review | | 4.5