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Salt of the Earth's value as an historical document is greatly enhanced by its use ofthe actual participants of the struggle in addition to professional actors and actresses. The presence ofthe workers and their wives lends an air ofauthenticity not often encountered in other efforts ofthis type. Clearly a product of its age, the film was made with private financing by blacklisted Hollywood refugees working under the shadow of McCarthy era politics. Due to major studio pressure it was never widely distributed and its investors lost their money. The movie's financial failure postponed for at least a decade the arrival of an independent American film source, which might have provided a counterpoise to Hollywood's vacuous products. Twenty years later, its skillful presentation as well as its timely message make this little known production worthy of wide viewing by people interested in labor organization, racism and dependence, in addition to the personal ramifications in the lives of individuals who strive to overcome these injustices and personalize the goal of liberation. Frederic Chiles University of California, Santa Barbara Paths of Glory (1957) 86 min. b&w This film, directed by Stanley Kubrick, has already established itself as a classic indictment of war and the military establishment's sense ofjustice. The setting: the Western Front during World War I. Colonel Dax (Kirk Douglas) and his French infantry regiment have been ordered to make a frontal assault on an impregnable Genrian position. This impossible order was given by a glory-seeking divisional commander (George Macready). When the attack predictably fails, the regiment falls back to its own trench lines and the men refuse to advance again. Macready then decides that Dax's regiment be punished as examples to the rest of the men. (He decides a 'mutiny' has taken place and chooses three infantrymen from Dax's regiment.) Douglas goes to the army commander (Adolphe Menjou) to plead for relief but the incident has already surfaced in the newspapers. Menjou considers the issue as one dealing with the 'honor' of the army and refuses to retract Macready's order for a court hearing. It is held and the three 'guilty' soldiers are then executed before the entire regiment. The closing scene is a particularly memorable one. A group of soldiers from the regiment leaves the scene ofthe execution and heads for the base canteen. There they began to jeer at a thoroughly frightened German barmaid and force her to sing to them. The ensuing sweetness of the melody and the innocence ofthe songstress create in the soldiers an introspective mood. We then see simply a group of lonely, homesick men whose own thoughts have turned toward their families and loved ones. Bravura performances by the entire cast add to this superb film which could be utilized in classes in modern European and American history, military law and modern governmental systems. Patrick Armstrong Jefferson State Junior College 51 ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9922
Print ISSN
0360-3695
Pages
p. 51
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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