Great Moments In Film – Paths of Glory (1957)
Long before there was Steven Spielberg or Oliver Stone (just for example), there was Stanley Kubrick discussing the craziness that is war. Paths of Glory takes place in France during World War I. It’s complete with absurdness that is trench warfare, including an expertly shot offensive maneuver; which is to say the soldiers climb over their protective trench to run across an open field (the aptly named “Dead Man’s Land”) only to get blown to bits by artillery fire or gunned down by machine guns. Rinse and repeat, add some chemical warfare, and you have World War I.
The film isn’t about that completely, though. A group of soldiers refuse orders to “go over the top,” and are to be put on trial by their superiors (who would love nothing more than to execute the discontented). We can’t have troops disobeying orders, can we? This is a verbal showdown between Col. Dax (Kirk Douglas), who is in charge of defending those being court martialed, and his superior over the morality of the entire ordeal. Simply put: there is no morality.
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