A modest but useful collection of interviews on the subject of Paths of Glory
enhances Criterion's edition of Stanley Kubrick's classic antiwar picture. Kubrick himself appears, as a disembodied voice, in two minutes of audio interview in which he speaks of the film and particularly about meeting his wife, then known as Christiane Harlan, for her role in the movie. The longest extras are a half-hour 1979 appearance by Kirk Douglas on Michael Parkinson's BBC chat show--not particularly deep on Paths of Glory
memories, but a charming display of Douglas's skills as raconteur--and a 21-minute interview with producer James Harris, Kubrick's filmmaking partner. His stories include some hair-raising tales of actor Timothy Carey, whom Harris eventually had to fire despite his important role in the film. Shorter interviews with Christiane Kubrick and her brother Jan Harlan give background on Stanley Kubrick's methods, and a three-minute report from French TV offers an intriguing look at the true World War I story behind the movie. There's also a commentary track from the distinguished writer Gary Giddins, who brings his enthusiasm for the film and his comfortable style to a pleasant feature-length monologue. --Robert Horton
A pivotal work by Stanley Kubrick (2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange), PATHS OF GLORY is among the most powerful antiwar films ever made. A fiery Kirk Douglas (Ace in the Hole, Spartacus) stars as a French colonel serving in World War I who goes head-to-head with the army's ruthless top brass when his men are accused of cowardice after being unable to carry out an impossible mission. This haunting, exquisitely photographed dissection of the military machine in all its absurdity and capacity for dehumanization (a theme Kubrick would continue to explore throughout his career) is assembled with its legendary director's customary precision, from its tense trench warfare sequences to its gripping courtroom climax to its ravaging final scene.