DIRECTOR: Stanley Kubrick
As we commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the Somme which took place 1916, this Stanley Kubrick classic, also set in 1916, seems to be somewhat timely.
If Kubrick had not made this film, then I suspect that Spielberg would have sometime later or course, as this film begins in the trenches, moves to the court room and ends up on the field of execution as three French soldiers are tried and convicted of cowardice as an example to the rest of the men.
But there is a lot more to this and Kirk Douglas’, Col Dax’s fights a losing a battle to place the blame at the door of the right people, or monsters depending on your view. Whist not being based on any particular true event, it is based on numerous others and in many ways, would stand as a testament to the accepted truth of the horrors both on the killing fields or the grand offices of the top brass.
This war was horrific by any civilised standards and Kubrick, along with cast led by Douglas expertly take us on a brief journey into this horror, a place where soldiers are murdered to set a examples for the rest, something which we are led to believe that only our enemies do, but here we have it and let us not get caught up in a debate, it is true.
This was happening across the board in 1916, amidst “the war to end all wars”. In this case, the enemies lay on both sides of the trenches, a point which Kubrick and Douglas bring home with a bang.