The Ending of Paths of Glory...

Kirk Douglas has claimed that Kubrick wanted originally to film a 'happy' ending for the film Paths of Glory. According to SAVAGE ART, the new biography of Kubrick collaborator Jim Thompson, there was a happy ending screenplay with a last minute reprieve for the three soldiers. Thompson wrote it and Kubrick approved it (apparently the author of SAVAGE ART has read this screenplay). Kubrick retained the ending through three drafts of the shooting script, and finally removed it at the urging of Douglas and the third credited screenriter, Calder Winningham, who demands credit for everything good in the film. On the slim evidence of the screenplay presented here, it would probably have stunk. Thompson was going to throw in a lot of service-comedy elements, really leaden jokes, etc. So it seems Douglas has a grip on reality here, but places the blame exclusively on Kubrick without really acknowledging Thompson's role in the near-debacle.

Also, this book has interesting comments on the previous Kubrick/Thompson effort, The Killing. Here, Thompson felt that Kubrick had robbed him of proper screen credit. The author bruits a notion that Kubrick so immerses himself in other people's screenplays while preparing them that he comes to identify them as his through the process; hence his reported readiness to claim, if not monopolize writing credits. If so, however, it was less so subsequently.

-- Kevin L. Gilbert