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Literary Festival 2014: Paths of Glory


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Editor's note: The film screening has been edited out of this podcast.

Speaker(s): Richard Daniels, Michael Leader
Chair: Professor James Hughes

Recorded on 24 February 2014 in Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building.

A screening of Stanley Kubrick’s 1957 anti-war film Paths of Glory (88 minutes), set during the First World War starring Kirk Douglas, will be followed by a panel discussion.

Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory is among the most powerful anti-war films ever made. A fiery Kirk Douglas stars as a First World War French colonel who goes head-to-head with the army’s ruthless top brass when his men are accused of cowardice after being unable to carry out an impossible mission. This haunting, exquisitely photographed dissection of the military machine in all its absurdity and capacity for dehumanization (a theme Kubrick would continue to explore throughout his career) is assembled with its legendary director’s customary precision, from its tense trench warfare sequences to its gripping courtroom climax to its ravaging final scene.

The film was originally banned in both France and Germany for its incendiary indictment of hegemonic military authority during WWI. It was also Kubrick’s first critical and commercial success and effectively opened the floodgates for his future classics.

Richard Daniels has been the senior archivist at the University of the Arts London’s Archives and Special Collections Centre since October 2007. He is specifically responsible for the Stanley Kubrick Archive. Before University of the Arts he has worked in local government archive services and at the School of Oriental and African Studies Archives and Special Collections Centre. As the Stanley Kubrick Archivist he has given papers at various academic conferences the most recent being at the Melancholia: Imagining the End of the World conference at Phillips University Marburg. He has also written a chapter for the upcoming book Mythologizing the Vietnam War and is writing a chapter and co-editing another forthcoming publication entitled Stanley Kubrick, New Perspectives.

Michael Leader (@Nevskyp) is site editor of Film4.com. He has written for Little White Lies, Empire, the New Statesman and Sight & Sound, and previously worked for BAFTA.

James Hughes is director of the Conflict Research Group at LSE.

This event forms part of the LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival 2014, taking place from Monday 24 February - Saturday 1 March 2014, with the theme 'Reflections'.

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