Ace in the Hole

Chuck Tatum (Kirk Douglas) used to be a big shot journalist, and now just thinks he still is one. He’s been fired from more newspapers than I could name for a cornucopia of vices, and now finds himself staring at a vacant typewriter at the Albuquerque Sun Bulletin, a small town paper with very few employees and even fewer stories for them to tell. All Tatum needs is that one big break to get him noticed by the big papers again, and when a local man gets trapped in a cave-in whilst searching for trinkets to sell, Chuck sees potential, he just needs to make the story fit the headlines.
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Out of the Past

In the small town of Bridgeport there lives a man named Bailey (Robert Mitchum). He leads a simple life running the town’s gas station with his deaf mute assistant (Dickie Moore), and frequently heads out with the town’s pretty girl-next-door Ann (Virginia Huston). He seems to be fairly well regarded by most people in the town – apart from Ann’s mother – but all this changes when a mysterious stranger named Joe (Paul Valentine) rocks up and takes Bailey away with him. You see, Bailey isn’t just a mild-mannered gas station owner. No, he has a past, and things are about to come out of it. Oh, I get where the title came from now.
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Paths of Glory

Paths of Glory emphasises the differences between the high ranking officers and the lowly privates during the first world war, as after a failed advance, the general in charge demands three soldiers to be made an example of, via a firing squad. The general assumes cowardice on behalf of the men, yet each of the men chosen has a valid reason for retreat, be it finding themselves alone against an insurmountable challenge, being ordered not to by their superior or being knocked unconscious during the advance.
The film is part war, part courtroom drama, as Kirk Douglas attempts to defend the three against their charges. There were some good shots, such as the tracking shots through the trenches, that I feel would have benefited from being single continuous takes, although perhaps budgetary conditions and the technology available at the time limited this. The final scene, as Douglas stands outside watching the troops leer at a female German singer, makes us think who is worse, the generals more than happy to fire upon their own men to make them attack, or the soldiers themselves, reduced to their base urges in the face of death.
Choose film 7/10