Friday, November 12, 2010

Quite Possibly The Best Film Ever Made

Paths of Glory, bitches! 1957, directed by a 29-year-old Stanley Kubrick!

If not the best film ever made, then definitely the best war film. I did a paper about this and La Grande Illusion, both World War I films, the title was, "No Band of Brothers in this Gentlemen's War." Everyone should see these films because I dare say that they're only secondarily about war, and primarily about humanity. That said, there is *no better sequence anywhere* than the dolly of Colonel Dax (Kirk Douglas) walking down those trenches as the rounds are exploding, smoke is billowing, cannons are wailing, etc. It is hands down the most impressive, bad-ass thing I've ever seen in my life; I get goose bumps every time.

I think the best way to see this is not knowing anything at all about it beforehand; just trust Stan the man to get it done, okay? So I'm not saying a word about it. When people ask me about films, AFI Top 100-type films, they usually ask me if Citizen Kane is really the best film ever made. I say, Citizen Kane is a very good film, but Paths of Glory is better. You should watch it. Tonight.


Donald said...

Paths of Glory is one of those movies that I like as a concept more than I do as an actual viewing experience. Technically, it's a masterpiece of filmmaking and direction, but even though it has a strong antiwar message and a story that is incredibly powerful, it's got no real heart for me. I just don't really like any of the characters, and Kirk Douglas was all wrong for the part of the lead, in my opinion.

Also, it has no ending. I've dozens and dozens of critiques and theories and explanations for the ending, but in my opinion, Kubrick worked himself into a corner and just didn't know what else to do.

But it's a good film that is worth seeing. I just think it could've been better. My opinion about Kubrick is that he shouldn't make anti war films, because he has too much contempt for authority and the military in general, so they just turn into anti-military films.

I think Bridge of the River Kwai is the best war film ever. But Paths of Glory would make it into my top ten. In fact, it did:

Anna said...

i will allow that most of the film's greatness is technique, drums, and dollies, but i think there is feeling; i love the ending.

Donald said...

I was probably a little hard on it. It's a great movie. But... I dunno. I think Kubrick has done better.