Monday Movie: Paths of Glory
Before the Great War, Colonel Dax was a renowned defence attorney. Now he finds himself ordered to take an impregnable enemy position. When half his men are unable even to leave the trenches, his superiors order a number of scapegoats to be tried for cowardice under pain of death. And Dax resolves to see them acquitted - even as the military stacks the odds against him.
An early, but frequently favoured offering from Stanley Kubrick, Paths of Glory is an effective anti-war film with a carefully realised texture. Kubrick provokes pity and anger at futile struggles both on the battlefield and in the courtroom, without spilling over into excess; while Kirk Douglas, in the lead role, wisely reins in Dax's simmering outrage.