Your men died splendidly this morning
It's 1916. World War I has dragged on for two years, and become a stalemate of fortified trenches and heavy casualties. The French army wants to force a breakthrough, so General Mireau (George Macready) passes down a order to Colonel Dax (Kirk Douglas) to take German stronghold the Ant Hill at any cost. When the attack inevitably fails, Mireau orders three men court-martialed and executed for cowardice.
Those three are picked perversely or randomly to satisfy the Generals' blood thirst. Dax, a lawyer in civilian life, rises to the men's defense. He has to pull all his registers to rescue his men, because the cards are stacked against them. Mireau wants to cover up his actions and find a victim for the failure of the impossible attack.
Release date: October 25, 1957
The movie was shot in and around Munich, Germany
Winston Churchill (1874-1965, prime minister of the UK during the second World War) praised the film’s authenticity.Source / More
Dax quotes from Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel”. Johnson made this famous pronouncement on the evening of April 7, 1775.
Over a ton of explosives were discharged in the first week of filming alone.
Until 1975 no distributor in France dared to screen the film (for its negative portrayal of the French army).Source / More
When the film was selected for the 1958 Berlin Film Festival, the French threatened to withdraw altogether if the film was shown there.Source / More
Paths of Glory was written by Humphrey Cobb and first published in 1935. Cobb was a veteran of the Great War and was both shot and gassed in combat.The novel was based on an actual 1915 French army mutiny and its punishment.Source / More
The title is a quotation from Thomas Gray’s (1716 - 1771) poem Elegy written in a country churchyard: “ The paths of glory lead but to the grave”.Source / More
In 2002 Kirk was presented by President George W. Bush the National Medal of Arts and the National Humanities Medal.
December 9, 1916
Issur was born in Amsterdam, New York (USA) to Belarusian-Jewish parents. He worked as a waiter to put him through university where he dabbled in school dramatics.
Kirk made his Broadway debut in 1941 but only after two small roles left for WW II service in the navy. In June 1944 he returned to the stage and in 1945 Douglas moved to Hollywood to star in The strange love of Martha Ives (1946) and became established as an intense tough-guy.
In the low key drama I Walk Alone (1948), Douglas worked the first time alongside fellow screen legend Burt Lancaster. Such was the strong chemistry between Douglas & Lancaster that they appeared in seven films together. He scored a hit as the venal boxer Midge Kelly in Champion (1949) a classic prizefighting drama that cemented his stardom.
In 1955 Kirk formed his own company Bryna Productions through which he turned out his own films like Paths of glory (1957) and Spartacus (1960). Douglas remained busy throughout the 1960s and 1970s, with a decided emphasis on Westerns and war films. In the 80s he allotted more of his time for a variety of voluntary civic duties. Kirk wrote his autobiography in 1988, The Ragman's Son.
1996 Honorary Award
1957 Nominated Actor for: Lust for Life (1956)
1953 Nominated Actor for: The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)
1950 Nominated Actor for: Champion (1949)
Kirk Douglas -> My Stroke of Luck (2002)
Kirk Douglas-> Climbing The Mountain: My Search For Meaning (1997)