Those who try to write Stanley Kubrick off as a dispassionate, style-over-substance filmmaker are urged to revisit his 1957 war film, ‘Paths of Glory’. This is the director’s most vivid, most emotional and humane film, and perhaps his best. Based on a real First World War incident, the film explores the morality of conflict as French Colonel Dax (Kirk Douglas) is asked to defend three fellow soldiers accused of cowardice and derelicton of duty. So furiously anti-military that it was withdrawn from circulation in France (though not banned, as many believe), it’s one of the great films about authority, rebellion and men under extreme pressure. But it’s also a visual masterpiece, one of the gleaming greats from the last days of monochrome, and features one of cinema’s great tracking shots as Douglas and his platoon go over the top. The final scene in a crowded bar – featuring the spectral singing voice of Christiane Harlan, soon to become Mrs Kubrick – is one of the most riveting, complex and heartbeaking in cinema.