Thursday, April 22, 2010

#101 Paths Of Glory: I'm not afraid of dying tomorrow, only of getting killed

1957. dir Stanley Kubrick, starring Kirk Douglas, George Macready, Wayne Morris, Adolphe Menjou.

Seen it before? No.

Kirk Douglas plays Col. Dax, a French army officer in World War I. The commanding officers order a suicidal attack on a German fortification, which fails, so they decide to court-martial and execute three randomly selected soldiers for cowardice. Dax is outraged by the arbitrary, unfair punishment, so he takes up the defense of the three soldiers.

There really aren't a whole lot of World War I movies, I suppose because it was so horrible, and there were no clear good guys or bad guys. This movie was banned in France, and you can see why; they make the generals out to be totally evil and sadistic. Of course that doesn't mean it was unrealistic.

Position on the list: 49
The title: From Thomas Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard":
The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Awaits alike th'inevitable hour.
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

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