The film Paths of Glory released in 1957 is an anti-war movie directed by Stanley Kubrick. It is based on the novel Paths of Glory written by Humphrey Comb. Having been set during the First World War, the film tells the story of Colonel Dax, who was the French commanding officer during the period. The film begins with a classical voiceover explaining the trench warfare which characterized the world war. General Broulard asks General Mireau to send his troops on a mission to fight the Anthill, a well-defended German ground.
Mireau disagrees because he knows they will definitely lose (Paths of Glory). However, promised to be promotion, he takes his men to fight the Germans but it is very clear that they would lose. Colonel Dax is given the detailed plan of this attack but he protests since the army is quite weak. The attack proceeds but it results in disaster since none of the solders gets to the trenches held by the Germans. Eventually, Mireau holds a court martial aimed at punishing the soldiers for their cowardice. Corporal Paris is chosen by Lt. Roget for the martial so that he may not testify in court.
However, Dax is aware of this move and the next morning he is informed by Captain Rousseau about Mireau’s order and the reason he disobeyed. The final stages result in the execution of three men including Paris and Dax had successfully defended his men for the failed attack. His soldiers eventually enjoy the performance by a German woman (Paths of Glory). This film narrates the story of Colonel Dax’s soldiers after they refused to obey orders that would result in a suicidal mission. Colonel Dax successfully defends the soldiers against charges of cowardice.
2. Brief Description of Main Characters . Colonel Dax: Dax is the commanding officers in the film but he is aware that his soldiers will not win and the reason he tells General Mireau the same thing. Having being a civilian defense attorney, he manages to defend his soldiers against the indicated charges of cowardice. He is also the main character for the film. ii. Philippe Paris: He is a colonel and his chosen by Lt. Roget in order to make sure he does not testify in court about the mission behind the failed attacks. iii. Maj. General Broulard: He is the French General Staff and has the greatest authority. He instructs General
Mireau to go fight the Germans and offers promotion to the General. He makes the final decisions including the number of soldiers expected in each and every group. Eventually Dax sees him as the one who led to these events in the movie. iv. General Paul Mireau: He is the one in charge of the army after being instructed by General Broulard. He leads the German attack and instructs his subordinate to continue with the mission with the aim of being promoted. v. Lieutenant Roget: The other major character in this movie is Lt. Roget. He is a drunken lieutenant and sends one of his men as a scout.
He forms a unique part of this film. 3. Analysis of the Film The conflicting theme in this film is the issue of superiority and betrayal. The French are determined to fight the Germans while it is clear that they will fight a losing battle. Everything in the film is ironic beginning with the idea to fight the Germans and the continued progression of the attack. The soldiers pursue their mission while it is clear that the Germans are stronger (Paths of Glory). This irony forms the dominant theme in the film until the end when General Broulard blames Colonel Dax despite the fact that he pioneered the failing attack.
This film delivers the message of a failed attack resulting from betrayal and inappropriateness to organize a well-planned attack. The viewer understands how inability to coordinate the army and make unified decisions can result in greater disasters. In terms of production, the film has been properly coordinated including all the aspects of photography, filming and coordination. The right individuals have been identified for the specific roles in the movie thereby making it one of the classical movies by Stanley Kubrick.
The elements of production have been properly coordinated from one scene to the other and as well making them compatible with the story being narrated to the viewer (Paths of Glory). There are two characters noted to play a greater role in this film. One of them is Colonel Dax who is the main character. Although he has a lower rank in the hierarchy, he knows the inappropriateness of the decisions to attack ‘Anthill’ and eventually the attack backfires. He eventually manages to defend his soldiers against the accusations of cowardice. The other character is General Pail Mireau.
Being the one who is in charge of the army after being instructed by General Broulard, he makes every effort to make sure everything has been executed as he wanted. He leads the German attack and instructs his subordinate to continue with the mission with the aim of being promoted (Paths of Glory). However, everything seems not work eventually leading to the court martial in an attempt to punish the soldiers. His role is very relevant towards the development of this film. The other significant thing about the film is that the roles have been properly cast.
This is because every character has been assigned the right role thereby making the film unique and engaging to the viewer. As a result it tells the intended story in the best manner possible. The set design and mise-en-scene have been properly presented and coordinated. Through the use of the best cinematographic approaches and filming, space has been created appropriately using lighting. The best props and sets can also be observed in the entire film. Different characters have been assigned the right costumes for military purposes and depending on their respective ranks and military positions (Paths of Glory).
Color schemes and sound tracks have also been coordinated and merged with the entire film thereby making it a classical movie. Such elements are therefore significant when it comes to movie production. 4. Final Thoughts Although the film is based on a novel by the same name which did not perform well in the market after its publication, the use of the best production techniques and movie production elements made the movie classic and as a result it attracted the greatest number of viewers (Paths of Glory).
This made the film successful as well as profitable thanks to the effective film production approaches used by its producer and director. As indicated above, the best production techniques and methods have made it a performer in the market as well as an entertaining film.
Paths of Glory. Dir. Stanley Kubrick. Prod. James Harris. Bryna Productions, 1957.