“FERNANDO’s CORNER ~ Posted May 30th, 2016
I watched another long-overdue film: “Paths of Glory” (1957) (United Artists).
I knew that this film was going to be great, because it was directed by the masterful Stanley Kubrick, one of the most important directors of the history of cinema and it did not disappoint me at ALL, because it’s simply one of the best films about War I have ever seen.
The film is set during WWI (circa 1916) when one specific French division must conquer a German position, no matter how. Adolphe Menjou, playing the powerful General Broulard, communicates his subordinate General Mireau (George Macready) about these orders and manages to convince him that it can be done. The man who must achieve this result is Colonel Dax (Kirk Douglas).
First of all, all the actors are absolutely brilliant in their portrayals. Menjou is scheming and duplicitous as the man who pulls the strings and “divides to conquer”, manipulating every single situation and person he can. He’s the face of how power and high politics are handled. He’s the embodiment of selfishness and amorality.
Macready on the other hand, is captain EGO himself, full of self-importance and absolutely disdainful of anything that doesn’t lead to his objective and glory. Where Menjou is just practical and plays “chess”, Macready’s character is the epitome of the omnipotent leader. Kirk Douglas as Colonel Dax, is the decent and honest man, who CARES. Ralph Meeker, Tim Carey, Wayne Morris et al are perfect.
“These executions will be a perfect tonic for the entire division. There are few things that are more fundamentally encouraging and stimulating than seeing someone else die.”
The film depicts a very timeless subject, the useless of War and how the powers above use the human masses for the selfish purposes, like disposable goods. The scenes which show all what’s going on at the luxurious the chateaux where General Mireau’s haedquarters are; the elegant offices, surrounded by chandeliers, glorious paintings and objects d’art; a fancy ball, etcetera in stark contrast with the barracks and trenches inhabited by the soldiers are fabulous. The camera work is magnificent, precise.
“I apologize for not being entirely honest. I apologize for not revealing my true nature. I apologize for not telling you sooner, that you’re a degenerate, sadistic old man and you may go to Hell before I apologize to you now or ever again!”
And you know what is more sad about all this, at least IMO? …That the world hasn’t changed….things are pretty much the same, but most people live in ignorance of what is going on outside their comfort zones, because we live in one big manipulated reality.
A masterpiece and a must-see film.
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