doc

THEY say that the first casualty of war is the truth.

And that is what celebrated filmmaker Stanley Kubrick explores in Paths of Glory, starring Kirk Douglas.

The 1957 film has lost none of its bite in its long overdue transition to Blu-ray.

Set in the French frontline of the First World War, Paths of Glory focuses on a disastrous mission to capture a nearby stronghold.

It is said to be an 'impossible' mission for a beaten and exhausted battalion which suddenly seems possible by General Mireau (George MacReady) when a promise of a promotion is thrown in the mix.

When the offensive inevitably fails – despite the best efforts of the noble Colonel Dax (Douglas) – three men are randomly selected to be tried for cowardice.

Dax, a former lawyer in civilian life, handles their defence against overwhelming odds.

Douglas's drama is seething in its condemnation of the power structures guiding warfare with the men in charge, at a safe distance from the machine gun fire, content to put their own men to death to protect their reputation.

Still relevant today, it is a shocking examination of injustice, morality, subjective 'truth' and the true nature of cowardice.

Beautifully restored, this is the perfect chance to revisit the film or discover it for the first time.

- Paths of Glory is out on Blu-ray on Monday

DAVID MORGAN