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Paths of Glory

Where to Watch Paths of Glory


Paths of Glory is an unforgettable piece of cinema directed by the legendary Stanley Kubrick, which hit the screens in 1957. This war film stands tall among Kubrick's impressive lineup of thought-provoking and stylistically diverse works. It is based on the novel of the same name by Humphrey Cobb, which itself was born from the author's experiences from the First World War. Paths of Glory stars Hollywood veteran Kirk Douglas in the lead role, supported by Ralph Meeker and Adolphe Menjou, as they bring to life the tale of a battalion challenged by not only the horrors of war, but by their own arrogant and indifferent superiors.

In a simple, yet powerful narrative, Paths of Glory is set during World War I on the backdrop of the French battlefield. The story primarily revolves around Colonel Dax (Kirk Douglas), a stern but caring commander in the French army who is compelled by his ambitious general to undertake a seemingly impossible mission. Through its plotline, the film explores the darker side of power and the horrifying effect of war when wielded as a tool for personal gain.

Kirk Douglas as Colonel Dax delivers an outstanding performance. His deep-set eyes reflect both the sternness of a military man and the compassion of a leader who genuinely cares for his men. From the very onset, his quintessential resolve sets the tone for the unfolding drama. As the story progresses, audiences are made privy to the shifting dynamics within the army ranks, the power play amongst superiors, the sacrifice of ground soldiers, and the mind-numbing bureaucracy that is often an integral part of war narratives. Throughout this narrative, Douglas puts forth an emotionally riveting performance that is both gripping and heart-tugging.

Paths of Glory is remarkable for its poignant portrayal of trench warfare. The palpable tension, the expectancy of an approaching assault, the human fear— all are phenomenally captured in the claustrophobic, mud-riddled trenches. The realism of these scenes is a visual testament to Kubrick's visionary acuity, his penchant for perfection, and the painstaking detail he was known to insist upon.

Supporting Douglas's striking performance, Ralph Meeker and Adolphe Menjou further enrich the script with their strong on-screen presence. Meeker plays an ordinary soldier caught in the crossfire of wars and agendas, while Menjou adroitly mirrors the upper echelons of the army, maneuvering the strings of war just as casually as one would a game of chess.

Beyond the frontlines, Paths of Glory delves into the more ominous landscape of courtroom battles. The film beautifully juxtaposes the open battlefield with the confined spaces of military courts, spotlighting the different facets of war. In these scenes, an equally intense war is waged—one rife with cunning politics and the dangerous dance of power. The hero's fight to uphold justice and the scramble to cling onto power by certain figures offer a thrilling spin to the narrative.

Despite being a war epic, Paths of Glory uniquely refrains from setting war as its spectacle. Instead, Kubrick uses the realities of warfare as a backdrop to underscore the more profound human emotions and dilemmas. He turns his lens towards the moral decay that seeps in when ambition and power go unchecked. The film captures the beauty and tragedy of human nature in its fragility and strength, irrespective of circumstances. Such poignant rendering resonates profoundly with viewers, making it a timeless classic.

The cinematography, coupled with sharp editing, elevates the film's narrative. The battlefield sequences are captivating, with every frame captured to highlight the merciless reality of war. The unique camera angles, perfectly-timed close-ups, long massive tracking shots, and haunting stills speak volumes of the visual brilliance that is quintessential Kubrick.

Paths of Glory was a departure from the kinetically fast and glamorous Hollywood movies of its time. It's a film that asks uncomfortable questions and pushes boundaries in subtle and nuanced ways. Above all, it’s a film that illustrates the cruelty of warfare, the indifference of power, and simultaneously, the resilience of the human spirit. Despite its grim themes, or perhaps because of them, Paths of Glory remains an impactful and crucial piece of cinema more than sixty years after its release.

Paths of Glory is a Drama, War movie released in 1958. It has a runtime of 88 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it mostly positive reviews, with an IMDb score of 8.4. It also holds a MetaScore of 90.

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Where can I stream Paths of Glory movie online? Paths of Glory is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Amazon Prime, Pluto TV, Tubi TV, Kanopy, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Paths of Glory for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

Stanley Kubrick
Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou
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