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Paths of Glory

Dir. Stanley Kubrick. 1957. 88 mins. 35mm. With Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou, George Macready, Wayne Morris, Richard Anderson. One of the bleakest anti-war films ever made, this World War I drama about the abuse of military hierarchy drives home its message in every aspect of its construction, from its mechanized tracking shots through trenches to its disturbingly protracted climax. Paths of Glory represents the first full expression of Kubrick’s style, but it also is the last of his films to center around a wholly virtuous hero (Douglas) and the last to view the human individual as a bulwark of decency in an inhuman world.