How did Paths of Glory come together?
Once Kirk Douglas agreed to do the film, he was very helpful in influencing United Artists to finance it. He was scheduled to do another film for UA called The Vikings, and I think he suggested that if they didn’t do Paths of Glory, he would take The Vikings elsewhere. Do you know the story about how I fired Tim Carey on the set of Paths of Glory?
Well, I got a call at six in the morning from the Munich police, saying Tim had been found abandoned on the highway, bound hand and foot, claiming he’d been kidnapped. They thought production was responsible, looking for publicity, that it was a staged act. I said I knew nothing about it, but we needed him to work—they were holding him down at the police station. I told them that Tim was making up this story because he wanted the publicity, not us. So they said they would accommodate us by bringing him to the film studio—they were gonna interview him there. But Tim wouldn’t agree to the statement he was supposed to sign, he kept changing things about it. So I went up to Tim and said: “We’re all waiting for you. Sign the paper and get to work.” And he wouldn’t sign the paper, so I fired him right there. You’ll notice in the battle scene, you never see the three men put on trial for cowardice. That’s because the battle was the last thing we filmed, and we couldn’t show the two other actors without showing Tim, too.
– James B. Harris, “Interview: James B. Harris” by Nick Pinkerton; Film Comment, April 3, 2015