One of Stanley Kubrick’s signature techniques – the elaborate tracking shot – was perfected in the trenches of World War I. In the most memorable scene of Paths of Glory, the camera follows a French general (George Macready) as he marches down the trenches trying to embolden his battered men. The irony of the movie, adapted from Humphrey Cobb’s pacifist novel, is that the general is setting his troops up for slaughter, ordering a fruitless attack in hopes of impressing his superiors with his aggressiveness. After detailing the doomed battle, Kubrick turns his camera to the court martial that follows, in which the general tries to make three soldiers take the fall for his blunder. Only an idealistic colonel (Kirk Douglas) comes to their aid and handles their defense. Hardly a flattering portrait of the military machine, Paths of Glory suggests a soldier’s best hope often is to survive the chaos that his or her own army causes.