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on 17 December 2010
To my surprise I have found these three early career films by Kubrick to be highly enjoyable and yet highly professional, showing raw talent in THE KILLER'S KISS that rapidly develops into a full blown masterpiece with PATHS OF GLORY two years later. The Kubrick hallmarks of inventive and yet realistic direction, high quality acting, and impeccable photography are present in all three movies. I have to say that KILLER'S KISS was a very pleasant surprise, far better than I had expected after reading several reviews. THE KILLING is, to me, one of the best heist flicks ever and PATHS OF GLORY is a film of great humanistic value with an incredibly honest performance from Kirk Douglas.

The quality of the copy in all three films is first rate.

This boxset is great value for money - strongly recommended!
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VINE VOICEon 11 November 2008
This bargain "collection" features three of Stanley Kubrick's earliest feature films: Killer's Kiss, The Killing and Paths of Glory.

Killer's Kiss (1955) was, after the barely-released and now-unavailable Fear & Desire, the first of Kubrick's movies to see the light of day. It draws heavily upon a short boxing documentary which Kubrick produced earlier, called "The Day of the Fight", but is none the worse for that, and certainly has its moments. Look out for the scene amongst the shop dummies and the chase through the streets near the end which is eerily prescient of the much later "2001: a space odyssey" (1968).

The Killing (1956) is a giant leap forward, and tells its story in an unconventional way, which Tarantino acknowledged as a prime source for his "Reservoir Dogs" debut. The characters are well-developed and we really care what happens to them in this tense story of a racetrack heist.

Paths of Glory (1957) can be seen as the first of Kubrick's anti-war trilogy, the others being "Dr Strangelove..." (1964) and "Full Metal Jacket" (1987). It has the finest cast of these three films and features Kirk Douglas as Colonel Dax, a French commander in the trenches during the First World War. He is ordered to undertake an impossible task with his platoon by his general (George Macready)who is trying to impress his own superior officer (Adolphe Menjou). When it inevitably goes wrong he insists on holding a court-martial for those involved... The cinematography is especially impressive, featuring wonderful "backwards" tracking shots through the trenches in front of the advancing Dax, and gleaming shots of the generals' palatial surroundings. The final tear-jerking scene features Kubrick's future wife as the young singer.

There are very few DVD extras, but the films themselves are what you will return to time and again. Highly recommended for those who love cinema but haven't seen these films.
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on 10 February 2009
As a dedicated Kubrick fan, I was instantly drawn to watch his earliest three films (excluding Fear and Desire, which is completely unavailable!). It was fascinating to see some of Kubrick's now trademark devices beginning to flourish yet these three movies are simply brilliant films in their own rights. Killer's Kiss is a truly excellent thriller which feels way ahead of its time. The Killing is an intriguing crime story which one can see why it helped to inspire Quentin Tarrantino to make Reservoir Dogs. Paths of Glory is perhaps the strongest of the three, however. It serves as an unsubtle yet powerful anti-war movie which I challenge anyone to watch without feeling angered or shaken by the events on-screen. In conclusion, you are getting three classic and brilliant films on the cheap. Each one would be worth the price but here they come together! You know what to do...
(in case you're wondering, the package comes as a cardboard DVD case which contains three slim DVD cases - ie. slimmer than standard cases)
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Already an established magazine photographer in his early years, Kubrick moved into making films in a NY and not a Hollywood setting with use of non-studio locations where appropriate as shown her with the first two offerings, Killer's Kiss and The Killing. The first item of Kiss is interesting but now seems clearly very first faltering steps of what was to come, plus at an hour is long enough for the weak film noir story told. The best part is the gritty cinematography which for its time and post On The Waterfront, revealed a talent to be noticed.

The jump within less than a year later to The Killing with a much higher standard of acting (Sterling Hayden and Marie Windsor especially), tighter script and storytelling plus greater location shooting shows how quickly Kubrick was learning. The endless double crossing and well paced action around the race track robbery lifted it above the general standard of heist movies then released. The ending still seems a bit of a let down - you rob thousands of dollars and then try and transport it in a second hand flimsy suitcase still seems dumb for such a smart criminal - but overall Kubrick had arrived.

Reflecting his career trajectory of not repeating himself in any genre, in a year Kubrick had moved to a WW1 setting in Paths of Glory. Filmed in Europe it is still a brilliantly shot trench warfare film even nearly 60 years later with its story of treachery in French senior military leadership. The film reflects what was to happen at Verdun in 1917 of shooting French soldiers on charges of cowardice to maintain morale in the face of imminent military defeat, though the film makes no specific reference to those events. If there is a criticism it is that the action outweighs the quality of the character development, even though most of the actors turn in very credible performances and one can see why Kirk Douglas and Kubrick worked with each other later on Spartacus.

Great value box set and while extras are only the trailers these are fascinating vignettes in themselves on each film.
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on 12 October 2009
The three discs are brilliant reminders of what was to come later in the master's life. 'Killer's Kiss' is a tight, raw early work - with a beautifully inventive action finale. 'The Killing' is a fantastic heist movie - it really stands up as a work well ahead of its time. See it and find out where Tarantino gets most of his ideas! 'Paths of Glory' - prepare to despair, not at the film but at the story it portrays so emotionally. A super box set and terrific value for money.
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on 14 February 2011
Early Kubrick films. "The Killing" a superb film noire which I first saw as a B-picture in my local cinema. Was the template for a lot of subsequent heist movies. Story is told in a sequence of flashbacks.

"Killer's Kiss" preceded "The Killing" and is again told in flashback which seems to a be a favourite method of the director.

"Paths of Glory" probably one of Kirk Douglas's best films. Shows up the hypocritical and deceitful behaviour of a glory seeking French general during the first World War. Scenes shift from a treeless shell-cratered battlefield to interiors of a luxurious chateau. Very highly recomended.
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on 28 May 2015
Killer's Kiss is the weakest link in this boxset, although the lighting is often gorgeous. It's worth getting for The Killing and Paths of Glory though. Two superb early Stanley films. Paths of Glory is particularly memorable.
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on 2 June 2010
If you like Stanley Kubrick and are never tired of watching his films over and over again, those are some early classics that you must have on your dvd shelf. Enjoy.
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on 7 August 2013
A superb buy at a very cheap price and a fascinating insight into the roots and formation of the Kubrick directorial style.
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on 10 January 2015
Good collection
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