Synopsis by Karl Williams
Set in the French trenches, this WWI melodrama was cowritten by William Faulkner and directed by Howard Hawks. Hard-drinking Captain La Roche (Warner Baxter) delivers the same hollow speech to each wave of fresh soldiers assigned to his command, only to see them senselessly slaughtered by the Germans. La Roche's new officer is chipper Lieutenant Denet (Fredric March), who doesn't comprehend the futility of his assignment. Both men fall for beautiful nurse Monique La Coste (June Lang), who prefers Denet. La Roche's troops welcome "Private Moran" (Lionel Barrymore), the eldest private in the army and a grizzled veteran. In reality, Moran is La Roche's father. In a battle, La Roche is blinded. His father helps him direct artillery fire at the front, but both men are slain. Although he has won the girl and La Roche's command, Denet is forced to give the same pointless speech to his doomed recruits. Although Hawks had directed an earlier film of the same title, The Road to Glory (1936) was not a remake of that picture, but of a popular French war movie, Les Croix des Bois (1932), from which studio executives cannibalized combat footage for use in the new version.
war, alcoholism, army, atrocity, battle [war], commander, death, doctor/nurse, explosion, father, France, front-line, Germany, love, love-triangle, mission [quest], officer, privacy, replacement, romance, slaughter, soldier, son, speech, terror, tradition, trenches, tunnel, unit, veteran [military], war-atrocities, waste, hawk [bird], man, march [military]