Wow...talk about something that should have been noded ages ago...
Paths of Glory was one of Stanley Kubrick's first movies, made in
1957. It's certainly much more normal than most of his later, more
famous work, but you can still see his fingerprints all over it.
And it's incredible. To tell you the truth, I like it more than
most of his later stuff (the first half of Full Metal Jacket excepting,
but of course.)
The movie tells of a company of French soldiers during World War I
who refuse to leave the trenches and fight the Germans during an impossible
attack doomed to fail. Three soldiers are picked, largely at random,
to face a court martial under charges of cowardice in the face of the
enemy--to make an example of them and get the troops back in line.
Colonel Dax, their company commander, takes the responsibility of defending
the three men.
The movie was filmed largely in Germany--the French government, believing it portrayed the French in a bad light, refused to let Kubrick film any portion of the movie on French soil.
Oh, and another tidbit: Douglas' work here was a deciding factor in giving him the title role of Kubrick's first big hit, Spartacus, just three years later.
First-billed cast, from IMDB:
Kirk Douglas .... Colonel Dax
Ralph Meeker .... Corporal Phillip Paris
Adolphe Menjou .... General George Broulard
George Macready .... General Paul Mireau, 701 Regimental Commander
Wayne Morris (I) .... Lieutenant Roget / Singing Man
Richard Anderson (I) .... Major Saint-Auban
Joe Turkel .... Private Pierre Arnaud
Christiane Kubrick .... German Singer
Jerry Hausner .... Proprietor of Cafe
Peter Capell .... Colonel Judge of Court Martial
Emile Meyer .... Father Dupree
Bert Freed .... Sergeant Boulanger
Kem Dibbs .... Private Lejeune
Timothy Carey .... Private Maurice Ferol
Fred Bell .... Shell Shock Victim