Friday Flicks 4-20-12

Posted: April 20, 2012 by gd2525 in Movies
Tags: , , , , ,

A Weekly Educated Movie Recommendation by Shaun Smith

For this week I took a trip in the way back machine to find something suitable and compelling enough to watch. We’re taking a look back at 1957 with Stanley Kubrick’s war epic Paths of Glory.

Yes it is older, yes it is in black and white, and yes it has very few recognizable actors (aside of older people remembering Kirk Douglas, that’s Michael Douglas’ dad for you younger folks).

So why would I choose a WWI film from 1957 for this week? (and it’s not because I dry hump Kubrick… not that there’s anything wrong with that)

Paths begins with an epic war scene deep in the trenches of the French army. Douglas plays Col. Dax, the commander of the unit who are led into an unwinnable battle.

When the soldiers are convinced no attack will help their efforts, a number of them refuse to fight and are punished by their superiors. Each unit it forced to turn in a single member to be tried in front of the French military court.

Douglas is brilliant in his leading role, especially during the court room scenes where he is defending the soldiers on trial.

Even the supporting roles such as the empty-minded French general, Dax’s rival corporal officer with a funny looking mustache, and the three soldiers put on trial are very well done.

What this film is most remembered for are within the first 30 minutes where we get two long back tracking shots done in a single continuous take. Just the logistics of pulling this off and making it look so good is amazing to me and I’m not very easily impressed.

And don’t get me started on the brilliant ending that sums up the entire mood of the film in the most simplistic and emotional way.

The Criterion Collection released a re-mastered DVD and Blu-ray copy of Paths of Glory a year ago to which I proudly own. Next to the Casablanca restoration, this high-definition transfer has to be the best Black and White one ever done.

The film looks like it was shot today on a pristine 35mm camera yet in fact it was shot back in the 50s on an older 35mm model. There is also little to no scratches left on the film and is as clean as can be.

I can’t recommend more that if you own an HDTV and have a Blu-ray player to check out the Criterion Blu-ray of Paths of Glory.

However if you do not own all these fabulous pieces of technology, the regular Criterion DVD will work just fine.

I urge everyone to watch this film. Even if you don’t like war movies or anything older than the 1980s; you will become captivated by the visual style and acting portrayed in this fine piece of cinema.

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Comments
  1. […] main contribution is a weekly movie recommendation article called Friday Flicks where I suggest a somewhat obscure film for readers to check […]

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