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Paths of Glory


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#1 Craig Knowles

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Posted 13 April 2006 - 10:41 PM

I just caught a new 35mm print of "Paths of Glory" tonight at the Cinematheque in Cleveland. I've watched it numerous times on DVD, but never projected. What an incredible treat.

Seeing the film brought to mind a number of questions. I've read many books on Kubrick, but have never come across much in the way of productions details related to this film.

If you could point me to some published sources, or answer the any of the following questions, I'd appreciate it.

1) Where was "Paths of Glory" shot?
2) Where were the elaborate palace scenes shot?
3) Were the trenches/battlefield scenes built, or were they existing/found locations?
4) What was the budget on this film?
5) What camera was this shot with?
6) The film is pretty grainy. Was it 35mm?
7) Were the army uniforms created by a wardrobe department, or were they surplus?
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#2 Dan Goulder

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 08:45 AM

I just caught a new 35mm print of "Paths of Glory" tonight at the Cinematheque in Cleveland. I've watched it numerous times on DVD, but never projected. What an incredible treat.

Was the movie projected in pillar box form, maintaining the 4:3 aspect ratio?

p.s. By the way, you have a remarkable resemblance to the guy in the movie.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 10:06 AM

Was the movie projected in pillar box form, maintaining the 4:3 aspect ratio?
p.s. By the way, you have a remarkable resemblance to the guy in the movie.


Most art house cinemas can project 1.37 Academy properly. I just saw it at the American Cinemateque (The Aero Theater on Montana) a few months back but I can't recall now whether it was projected 1.37 Academy or slightly matted to 1.66 -- but I think it was 1.37 Academy. I did just see "My Darling Clementine" projected there in 1.37 Academy. It shouldn't be necessary to show a pillorboxed print (i.e. 1.37 Academy reduced and printed inside 1.85) if it is playing at an art house cinema that regularly shows old movies.
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#4 Craig Knowles

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 04:24 PM

Here's what I've been able to dig up so far. These tidbits were taken from Wikipedia and imdb.com:

- Although the story takes place on France's western front, Stanley Kubrick chose to shoot the film in and around Munich, Germany. Most interior scenes were filmed at Bavaria's Geiselgasteig Studios, and the court-martial scenes were shot in nearby Schleissheim Castle, an 18th-century structure then serving as a national museum. Just beyond this location is the Dachau Concentration Camp memorial.

- In an early attempt to sell the project to a studio, Stanley Kubrick and producer James B. Harris rented military uniforms and gathered several male friends to pose for a photograph that would capture the essence of their story. They affixed the photo to the cover of each screenplay copy.

- Stanley Kubrick's numerous fluid tracking shots required that the trenches be two feet wider than the original World War I trenches - six feet as opposed to four feet - to allow room for the roving camera dollies.

- The epic battle sequence was filmed in a 5,000-sq.-yd. pasture rented from a German farmer. After paying for the crops that would have been raised that season, the production team moved in with eight cranes and as many as 60 crew members working around the clock for three weeks to create trenches, shell holes and the rough, muddy terrain of a World War I battleground.

- Special effects supervisor Erwin Lange was forced to appear before a special German government commission before he was permitted to acquire the huge number of explosives needed for the battle scenes. Over a ton of explosives were discharged in the first week of filming alone.

- Col. Dax's headquarters was placed in a severely damaged building, which looks like it was hit by shells. This set was actually the old castle of Schleissheim, opposite the-18th century castle, used as the set for the court martial, etc. During WWII the factories near Schleissheim were hit by an air raid. Some bombs fell on the old castle, causing heavy damage. So Col. Dax's headquarters were not set up by the film crew, they were actually damaged by war.
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#5 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 04:41 PM

5) What camera was this shot with?


---Production stills in 'Stanley Kubrick-a life in film' shows a Debrie Super Parvo being used on some interiors.

Elsewhere I've read that Kubrick operated an arri IIB with a zoom during the big battle scene.
If they had eight cranes, they most have been using at least eight cameras for the scene.

---LV
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#6 Craig Knowles

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 04:44 PM

If they had eight cranes, they most have been using at least eight cameras for the scene.


When they say "cranes", I believe they mean construction cranes, which were used to create the terrain/trenches.

As for the budget, it was $935,000 in 1957. Inflation-corrected to 2005, that would be $6.35 million.
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#7 K Borowski

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 05:31 PM

p.s. By the way, you have a remarkable resemblance to the guy in the movie.


Craig's avatar is either a frame-grab from the movie or a publicity photo from production. I've mentioned what a great grab it was in the past. Kirk Douglas did a superb job in this film, with his memorable line "If you sentence these men to die, you will be committing a crime that will haunt you until the day you die."

Craig: you and I ought to meet up some time. I saw the SATURDAY showing at the Cinematheque of the very same film.

As for the aspect ratio of this movie, I wasn't paying attention, but it looked wider than 4:3. Unfortunately, it looked as if a chunk of the film was actually projected below the silver screen, which is maddeningly annoying. It didn't look too grainy to my eyes for '50s 35mm. The stuff is grainier than modern stocks, and I wouldn't be surprised if Kubrick shot the entire thing on Double-X to accentuate the gritty look of war. I've seen chunks of this film on television (never the whole thing), and I was really impressed by the cinematography, particularly the use of moderately wide angle lenses. In the theatre, this wasn't as noticeable to me, either because of the wider aspect ratio or perhaps just the different impact that a large screen has on me. I was also impressed by the realistic sound recording style. You could here the squeaks of the boots on the floor (and camera occasionally?). The one shot where the three soldiers are marched off to the firing squad and the first man marches in a bold, almost defiant manner has always struck me as a very poignant and powerful shot, and I really feel that movies such as this should be experienced in the cinema rather than on TV or DVD in order for one to receive the full affect.

I am now curious myself. What WAS the correct aspect ratio for this film? Was it shot 4 perf academy and then cropped later? I might fire off an email to the cinematheque to see if they can shed any light as to the aspect ratio of their print and how they projected it.

Regards.

~Karl Borowski
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#8 Richard R. Robbins

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 05:59 PM

This forum is very entertaining and informative. Thank you. I am wondering if you folks have seen the episode of "Tales from the Darkside" which was a very interesting complement/send-up/rip-off to Paths of Glory? As a matter of fact, Kirk Douglas played the General and his son or grandson played the Kirk Douglas part. This was on HBO or Cinemax 10 or 15 years ago. I remember being fascinated by this production and wonder if anyone else has comments? What was Kubricks reaction? Who directed? Who DP'd?
Richard R. Robbins DP/jack of many trades, master...
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#9 Craig Knowles

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 09:15 PM

I've seen the film numerous times on DVD, but I was never struck by its "noir-ness" until seeing it on 35mm. I had previously thought of the film as being in a different visual vein and style as compared to "Killer's Kiss" and "the Killing", but not so.

One of my favourites, hence, the avatar. I do bear an uncanny resemblance to Kirk Douglas, don't I?

Edited by Craig Knowles, 17 April 2006 - 09:17 PM.

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#10 Richard R. Robbins

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 09:17 PM

Here is some information I found on IMDB.com...
"Tales from the Crypt"
Yellow (1991)
Episode 38 of 93
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Writing credits
Jim Thomas (teleplay)
John Thomas (teleplay)

TV Series: "Tales from the Crypt" (1989)
Original Air Date: 28 August 1991 (Season 3, Episode 14)

Episode Credited cast:
Dan Aykroyd .... Captain Milligan
Steve Boyum .... King
Eric Douglas .... Lt. Martin Kalthrob
Kirk Douglas .... General Kalthrob
Anthony Gallo .... Corporal
Lance Henriksen .... Sergeant Ripper


-Rich
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#11 Jon-Hebert Barto

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 11:47 PM

Kubrick met his second, no wait, third and lasting wife Christain on Paths of Glory. Shes the hot babe whom sings at the end. She is german. If he shot in france they never would have met.

The reason for the location change was due to the fact that it made French officers look like butts. Needless to say, France did not appreciate this so close to the end of WW2. (yes, I know the film is during WW1...duh!)

Baxters' biography of Kubrick has some tech stuff about Paths. If I remember correctly it goes into the trenchs and other things such as the "battlefield". . . .

Kubrick is bad-ass! When I was in elementary school the kids made fun of me because I had a picture of him in my wallet! :blink: No joke. It was a black and white cut out from a magazine. I think it was Kubrick circa 2001! His short beard phase....I still have that wallet in a box somewhere, I'm sure the pic is still there!
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#12 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 02:38 PM

It didn't look too grainy to my eyes for '50s 35mm. The stuff is grainier than modern stocks, and I wouldn't be surprised if Kubrick shot the entire thing on Double-X to accentuate the gritty look of war.

I've I am now curious myself. What WAS the correct aspect ratio for this film? Was it shot 4 perf academy and then cropped later? I might fire off an email to the cinematheque to see if they can shed any light as to the aspect ratio of their print and how they projected it.


---I'd be more than surprised if any of it was shot on Double-X.
I'd consider divine invervention or time travel.
Using a stock introduced in 1959 on a film shot in 1957.

Also such a Kodakcentric response. The cameraman, Georg Krause, seems to never have worked outside of Germany in an over 30 year career with only two English language pictures. So many Euro stocks he could have chosen. If Kodak, maybe Tri-X.

Krause also photographed the wonderfully odd 'Die Nackte und der Satan' AKA 'The Head'.

Also the Super Parvo was a reflex camera.

As to aspect ratio, the ever so reliable IMDB.com gives this:

Aspect ratio
1.66 : 1 (negative ratio)
1.85 : 1 (intended ratio)

---LV




The reason for the location change was due to the fact that it made French officers look like assholes. Needless to say, France did not appreciate this so close to the end of WW2. (yes, I know the film is during WW1...duh!)


---What's the old saying;
'the only thing more incompetent than a French general is a French admiral.'

Le Pierre Principal inaction.



---LV

Edited by Leo A Vale, 18 April 2006 - 02:39 PM.

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#13 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 02:51 PM

Better yet, I believe it was Patton who said, "I'd rather have the Germans in front of me than the French behind me".
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