Jeff's Reviews

Thoughts on every movie I've ever seen.

Paths of Glory (1957)

Directed by Stanley Kubrick

Starring Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou, George Macready


Kubrick makes movies about men victimized by their environments, men who are being disconnected from each other, men who must abandon the formalities of daily life to deal with the pressure and chaos of their personal struggles. This one’s a perfect example.

But this one’s made before Kubrick really started to define his visual style. This one’s got traditional staging and photography, though tracking shots in the trenches hint at his love affair with Steadicam that would come later.

Unfortunately, I don’t think Kubrick was ever really any good at casting or directing for performance. In this one, Timothy Carey (who may have been the original Peter Stormare) turns in a truly awful performance. Even when decent actors are in place, performances are usually mechanical and dialogue is sterile. The fact that Kubrick needs dozens of takes is perhaps a further testament to his inability to properly coax good performances out of actors. It’s no surprise that no Kubrick actor ever won an Oscar.

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