|From Here to Eternity [VHS]
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Here's a model for adapting a novel into a movie. The bestseller by James Jones, a frank and hard-hitting look at military life, could not possibly be made into a film in 1953 without considerably altering its length and bold subject matter. Yet screenwriter Daniel Taradash and director Fred Zinnemann (both of whom won Oscars for their work) pared it down and cleaned it up, without losing the essential texture of Jones's tapestry. The setting is an army base in Hawaii in 1941. Montgomery Clift, in a superb performance, plays a bugler who refuses to fight for the company boxing team; he has reasons for giving up the sport. His refusal results in harsh treatment from the company commander, whose bored wife (Deborah Kerr) is having an affair with the tough-but-fair sergeant (Burt Lancaster). You remember--the scene with the two of them embracing on the beach, as the surf crashes in. The supporting players are as good as the leads: Frank Sinatra and Donna Reed won Oscars (and Sinatra revitalized his entire career), and Ernest Borgnine entered the gallery of all-time movie villains, as the stockade sergeant who makes Sinatra miserable. Zinnemann's work is efficient but also evocative, capturing the time and place beautifully, the tropical breezes as well as the lazy prewar indulgence. This one is deservedly a classic. --Robert Horton
- The best movie I ever saw
All I can remember of the movie from 1954/1955 was that it was the best movie I had ever seen. Well, being about 13 years old, what did I have to measure it by? At that age, I hadn't been allowed to go to movies, even with my girlfriends. We sneaked off to see "From Here To Eternity". We probably told our parents that we were going to see Bob Hope/Bing Crosby or Gene Autry. (Just a few that I can remember from back then.) Oh, but I remember From Here To Eternity very well. The only other thing was that I fell instantly in love with Montgomery Clift. But, as all young lovers do, I dropped him a year or so later for James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause. Turns out, I wouldn't have stood a chance with either one of them since they had those sexual hangups. Oh well. Shortly after that my future and still husband dropped in. I wouldn't have traded him for either one of them. Oh, I'm suppose to be reviewing the movie. All of those stars, producers, writers, everyone involved, from the movie made it a great movie. I've seen it many times over the years on TV and still loved it and so I'm positive that I will enjoy having this DVD just as soon as I can get it ordered. And then I can watch it over and over and reminisce...more info
- Fine Film about Military Life on the Cusp of WWII
Wow. I saw this last night on TCM for the first time. I really wish I'd taken the time to see this movie earlier. This film is so much more than the classic beach scene they play constantly on greatest movie moments clip shows. Burt Lancaster gives a strong performance as Sgt. Warden, the first sergeant to an incompetent, philandering captain. Warden begins an affair with the captain's wife, Karen, played with aplomb by Deborah Kerr. The romantic beach scene is nice, but the real fireworks come right after, when Warden demands to know how many men she's been with. Deborah Kerr's performance when she answers makes watching the film worthwhile and it's barely begun!
The other main plot follows Montgomery Clift as Pruitt, a private and his buddy, Maggio, played by a charismatic Frank Sinatra, who almost steals the whole film. He's a confident, funny drunkard of a solider, an absolute delight to watch. Pruitt has his own problems, in that Captain Holmes wants him to box, which he cannot do after an incident from his past. Consequently, (with the exception of Maggio), he is made a pariah within the unit. Soon, his work ethic and love for the Army forge a bond between him and Warden. Pruitt also is in love, with Lorene, played by Donna Reed, a social club girl. Meanwhile, Maggio runs afoul of the stockade sergeant, a brilliantly nasty Ernest Borgdine.
The depiction of military life and the bond between the men in this movie was really well done. All three of the main male characters face conflict, but they never buckle, sticking to their convictions, no matter the cost. The relationships between the men and women were never facile, but multi-layered, as complex as any in real life. The actors all give amazing performances in this movie, never falling to soap opera hysterics. The ending came as a complete shock to me. I never expected the film to end as it did, and it was a nice change from most of the current Hollywood schlock that's out there. It's been quite some time since a movie surprised me. Little wonder that it took a film from 1953 to do so.
I have to say, there are so many fine moments in this film, it really surprises me that the kiss in the water is the one most deeply associated with this movie. In my opinion, the scene in which Montgomery Clift plays "Taps" is a much more striking scene, much more symbolic of the film as a whole. I had goosebumps during that whole segment, and at the end, where Lorene/Alma meets Karen on the ship. This is a romantic film, but it is so much more than that. A classic truly deserving of the label. ...more info
- From Here to a Half Century in the Past
This film deserves its status as a classic if for no other reason than the fact that it pushed the boundaries of what could be depicted in the Hollywood of the early Fifties. Set on pre-war O'ahu and only a dozen years after the famous historical event that serves as its backdrop, this film avoids an easy reliance on the attack on Pearl Harbor to capture its audience. Indeed, we are given only occasional reminders of this imminent military disaster, which contributes to the tone of dramatic irony in this film. For despite the very real anguish in the lives of these characters, and the trials of military treatment, we as the audience know it pales by comparison to what will soon ensue. Paradise, too, is mostly a backdrop as the action fixates on a small group of soldiers and their personal lives. Herein is the strength of the film: its round characterization, which is convincing and therefore engaging. Sinatra gives his role more zeal than it deserves and Deborah Kerr and Donna Reed are (dare I say it?) too old for their roles, but other than that the acting is superb. If you've ever visited Hawaii, you'll enjoy the vistas, although they're actually few and far between. If you've lived in Hawaii, or been stationed on one of the bases there, you'll quickly be scratching your head at the lack of local flavor. That is, this is nearly an all-haole (re: white) production in place where whites even then were not the majority. You do see the occasional Chinese, although those walking Chinatown near Nuuanu Street look like they walked out of a Qing Dynasty mural. Still, the conflicts are genuinely configured and the resulting tension is thick and suspenseful. For this reason, more than any other, this film deserves a place on your home video shelf. And need I say that the film benefits from the endearing title of the novel on which its crisp screenplay is based?...more info
- From Here to Enternity and Back!
A true love story in all aspects! A good snapshot in time, with believable circumstances of the attack on Pearl Harbor. While the love scene on the beach is probably the most talked about scene, I find the final scenes with Deborah Kerr and Donna Reed to be the most memorable and heart tugging. Burt Lancaster and Montgomery Clift's honest exchanges about love while sitting drunk in the middle of a road was some of the most accurate dialog between two men on the subject. A movie for all times for all seasons!...more info
- Definitely one of my favorite films
Donna Reed and Frank Sinatra earned Oscars for roles that were completely unlike what they'd be known for later. (As a matter of fact, this is known as the movie that saved Sinatra's career.)And what nobody else has mentioned is that Deborah Kerr completely loses her British accent; she sounds completely American.
I might be behind the times, but I think the beach scene is extemely erotic. When Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr fall into each other's arms, and the waves start crashing--isn't imagining the rest more fun than having every detail spelled out for you?...more info
- RIP, Deborah Kerr
Strange. I picked this up because it's one of my favorite WWII movies, though it's little light on the war. Now, only days after receiving it, news that one of its most famous players, Deborah Kerr, has died. I think "the kiss" with Burt Lancaster has probably been done to death by others -- lord knows in this day-and-age it doesn't seem that racy compared what Hollywood routinely portrays. But immerse yourself in the time and place, and it's one of the hottest scenes in a movie of the era.
I think "the kiss" tends to overshadow what is otherwise a very rich and gritty movie. The way everyone goes about playing out their lives, filled with the normal travails, tragedies, and triumphs, while in the background we know what is coming and are desperate to see how these people will react to the events to come. An excellent ensemble cast (Sinatra at his finest as an actor) pulls us in to their world and gets us so engrossed in their lives that I think we tend to forget what's about to happen. The story also highlights the times, the combination of head in the clouds and rough around the edges that was America at the time.
Anyone who wants a good story could do much worse that "From Here to Eternity."...more info
- Left me wondering why it is a great film
Since I was a kid I had heard about this famous movie. As a child and teenager it was sort of a forbidden fruit. Now I finally had time to rent it and see for myself " the passion, the romance...." etc. I would hardly call a several second embrace in the waves a towering romantic story. The lines of the lovers are stilted and corny and I find it hard to believe the story of an affair that begins with only one pathetic glance.
Pruett was a man of morals. Of that there can be no doubt. If the movie was about anything, if was about standing up for what you believe is right. It was also a story about the abuse of power in the Army. Those were its strong points.
My curiousity is now satisfied. I suppose that for the 50's that scene in the surf might have been scandalous and that the conversation was a product of a stiffer form of society. Nevertheless, I rate it as just so so. Definitely not a romance by today's standards. The best scenes came at the end, when everyone rallied to the attack on Pearl Harbor....more info
- From Here to a Classic
From Here to Eternity is more than the classic scene of Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster rolling around on a beach, covered in ocean waves. It's a story about America during World War II. It's about human beings trying to live normal lives during an abnormal time. Taking place just before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, this is more than a war movie. It's a human story of love, honor, humor, and hope. Anyone who enjoys real-life drama will appreciate this well-written and well-acted story.From Here to Eternity (Superbit Collection)...more info
- "A man don't go his own way, he's nothing."
We've all seen the "beach scene" and I have to say that I was disappointed that it was so short in the actual film.
Montgomery Clift (who the producers didn't want but the director stubbornly fought for) is the real star here, giving a wonderfully layered performance as a former boxer who will not join the service team, under any circumstances. He is therefore put through all sorts of hell to get him to reconsider. He takes it with quiet grace and confidence, sure that he can take anything other than getting back into the ring. Clift's best friend Maggio (Frank Sinatra) is always taking up for him and definitely pays the price later on. Sinatra is wonderful in this Oscar-winning performance.
Clift's sergeant, Burt Lancaster, is meanwhile having an affair with his commanding officer's wife, Deborah Kerr, playing bad girl against type. I didn't really care much about their relationship because the commanding officer was such a jackass.
The romantic angle that matters here is the one between Clift and Donna Reed (who also won an Oscar) as a dance hall girl (yes, that Donna Reed!). Theirs is a truly sweet love, more so because they are both so damaged and vulnerable.
The Pearl Harbor scenes, once they happen after all this quiet time, are truly shocking (especially when a soldier is gunned down by a plane while running to warn others), although you do get subtle hints at what is coming. In one scene, where Lancaster is on the phone planning to do something the next day, a calendar behind him clearly reads "December 6."
Through all this, I was never bored. This is really an excellent film; very entertaining and gripping. I would definitely recommend it if you are a film fan in general or a fan of WWII films in particular....more info
This is the most overrated Academy Award winner for Best Picture I've ever seen. It's a soap opera! Ooh, the bad wife, the good hooker -- talk about setting women back a thousand years. And Prewitt was a poor excuse for a main character -- waaah, I don't wanna box anymore. Suck it up, soldier! The boxing had nothing to do with anything, it was only in the story to please the macho men in the audience. Sinatra was unconvincing. Borgnine was one-note. The big romantic kiss on the beach was laughable. There was only one good moment in the whole movie -- when Borgnine pulls a knife and Lancaster breaks a bottle. A war movie without a freakin' war at least needs a little action -- and then even then, nothing happened! Totally disgusted....more info
- 6 great stars in a 5 star movie
This wonderful movie was based on a novel by James Jones,which was so controversial for it's time that it had to be toned down.
It was a harsh look at military life in the days shortly before the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The story revolves around 5 main characters, who live in and around the base at Pearl Harbor. Robert E. Lee Prewitt ("Prew") played by Montgomery Clift is a boxing champion, transfered to the base on the whim of the Captain. But "Prew" refuses to fight anymore because of an unfortunate incident and he pays the price for his refusal. His buddy "Maggio" played by Frank Sinatra is scrappy and ill fated. "Lorena"(Alma) played by Donna Reed is the girl "Prew" falls for. She's a "working girl" but forms a deep attachment to him. Sargent Warden who is played powerfully by Burt Lancaster, is always looking out for his men, but has an affair with his Captains wife, Karen Holmes played by Deborah Kerr. Karen by the way is no stranger to stepping out on her husband. It is in this film that we see the famous love scene on the beach with them.
"Prew" and "Maggio" are both treated indecently by the military but to Prew the army is his home and he sticks by his loyalties.
There's another character that needs to be mentioned here and that is "Fatso". Played brillantly by Ernest Borgnine. He is the guard in stockade and is brutal in his treatmentof the G.I.s.
The story draws you into to the lives of these characters and culminates with the attack on the Pearl Harbor base. It was directed by Fred Zinnemann, shot in Black and White, in Hawaii. It won 8 Academy Awards including Best Picture(1953) Best B&W cinematography, and both Frank Sinatra and Donna Reed won Best Supporting that year.
The DVD is a GOOD transfer. There are though some spots where it's a little grainy but this does not take away from the enjoyment of this film. It only ocassionally reminds us that this IS a film that was made 50 years ago but is still one of the finest ever. The sound is great, the full screen, is the original theatrical presentation.
If your looking for extras there are several goodies with this DVD. My favorite was the interviews with Fred Zinnemann, we get to see a little of his personal home movies made during the shooting of this film (and in COLOR!). I also enjoyed seeing the theatrical trailers for this and The Guns Of Navarrone, and The Bridge on The River Kwai which are included.
This is one of those movies where you just don't want it to end!
so kick back and enjoy.....Laurie...more info
- Doesn't hold up well with time
Seeing this movie again after 50 years I felt a certain disappointment. There were just too many difficulties to overcome when this was made, all owing to the strict censorship of the time.
(1) The realistic, if very profane, language spoken by soldiers could not be used in the 1950s. The language of the novel was a big departure in popular American fiction, and the movies had not caught up with readers.
(2) The extra-marital affairs were treated somewhat mysteriously. Sex scenes are either eliminated or indicated by crashing waves. If the movie goer didn't know the "code," some scenes were lost.
(3) The Donna Reed character was a prostitute in the book, but in the movie she was like a USO hostess who never ever went upstairs with the boys. This takes away from the angst Prewitt feels about her.
(4) The violence was substantially downplayed, especially in the alley knife fight and in the long fistfight, where the men land haymakers and no one has so much as a bloody nose or a fat lip. Hollywood has never staged a realistic fight.
(5) The captain is forced to resign for his evil doing, but in the book he is praised by his superiors. The Army wouldn't allow the use of their facilities without this "correction."
This is a brief overview of the problems. If this were to be remade today, it would be much grittier and much more realistic. There are some good moments, such as the Pearl Harbor attack, but they are not enough to erase the flaws....more info
- The real love story - a man and the army
My favorite scene in this movie isn't the famous Burt Lancaster (Sgt. Warden) - Deborah Kerr (Karen Holmes) beach romp, but that of Montgomery Clift's Private Robert E. Lee Prewitt silhouette walking alone across the barracks, sticking out sorely among the unity of soldiers marching by. I sometimes wonder, if Clift had died suddenly as his peer James Dean had, would he have achieved similar heights of pop culture iconoclasm? Clift once again plays the tortured young man with an honor system established by his own rules, a melancholy misfit who shuffles through the movie a little hunched, one hand in pocket as if to hide something of himself from the world. Although Prew won't box on the company team because he swore he won't get back in the ring, after accidentally blinding a sparring partner, he will seek revenge tragically for his "buddy boy" Private Maggio (Frank Sinatra).
In the "ah-cen-chu-ate the positive" post-World War II era in which the movie was filmed, it is the soldiers who takes his orders and does his job well, and by the book, that remains standing tall. Here, it's Sgt. Warden, tall and handsome, a hardened soldier on the outside to protect his innermost sensitivity. There is only one way to interpret honor, and that is by the Army's terms....more info
- The "fantasy" of every red-blooded American male
Yeah, the story is great, and the acting is top-notch from all the principal characters.
But, let's be honest, the most memorable element of the film is the "romp" on the beach between stars Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr.
Like Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" made many-a-hotel customer cautious in the shower, "Eternity" made "making out on the beach" an alluring possibility....more info
- Test of time...
The trouble here is the test of time.... Of course this movie is great, otherwise it would not have won 8 Oscars.
But to watch it nowadays is.... strange. The acting is not up to today's standards. Chaplin's movies got older much better than FROM HERE TO ETERNITY, for example.
I watched it again yesterday and I liked it, but I came nowhere close to such excitement....more info
- Yawn Squared. Better Yet, Cubed
Okay, I saw this movie for the first time 22 years ago when I saw it in my high school film class. I was not really impressed with it then, and what I remembered most from the film after all these years was the famous beach scene, and only because my teacher pointed it out as pretty risque' for back then.
Fast forward to today, where I am now 39 years old and I watched it for the 2nd time. I was not impressed this time either. To me it was a total waste of time, and depressing to see people live such meaningless lives. I was in the military for a few years in my youth and to see these men in this movie brought back all the memories, that yes, 95% of them spent their free time at the bar spending all their money on drinking. It's a weird set of values, folks. I didn't drink, and was quite bored. Was glad to leave the military.
Also, I do not believe taking a human life is right, no matter what the situation. The violence that pervaded this film disturbed and saddened me as well.
Nor was the commanding officer's wife right in her relationship with another man. Nor was her husband doing his duty, it was sad that they did not love each other. I know this happens in life, but I don't care to watch people try and solve their problems without God's truth.
I know many do not share my values, to those who do, I just want to say that this is not worth your time....more info
- Everyone has dreams
This is a great movie, and it is even greater after reading the back of the box. According to the box, many of the actors in this film were not the first choice. For instance, the studio didn't think Sinatra could handle a non-singing role, yet he got the part and won the 1958 "Best Supporting Actor" Oscar for his performance. The box also mentions that George Reeves (the old Superman from television) was in the film, but was cut because audiences kept referring to him as Superman. The back of the box has some interesting reading.
The movie is set in Hawaii, just before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Each character has his or her own dreams and goals, and these dreams butt into other people's dreams. For instance, the captain wants a championship boxing team, but the best boxer in the company doesn't want to fight. The captain and the boxer then begin the long battle of wills to see who has the greater claim.
With the attack on Pearl Harbor, we learn that all these goals must be put aside for the greater good. We can not sacrifice the whole for the individual. Stepping outside of the group has dire consequences as Montgomery Clift's character shows us.
I would highly recommend seeing this movie....more info
- Great Movie
This is a wonderful movie. I have always enjoyed movies set around WWII and this fit the bill. The choice of actors was amazing. They worked well together and I can't think of anyone else who would have played the parts better. No matter how many times I see it, the beach scene is still the best....more info
- From Here to Eternity
Others will give a better low down on the story, cast, quality, etc...but outside of the drama and romance, this comes very close to garrison life in the US (brown shoe) Army during peace time. My favorite scene is where DiMaggio crowns Fatso with a chair in the New Congress Club. Not to say this is the only action, just my favorite part. This movie would lose some effect if it were in color. ...more info
- A View of the Peacetime Army
The film opens at the Schofield Barracks in 1941 Hawaii. Prewitt transferred from Fort Shafter to this rifle company; why? We learn about his past, the new outfit, and what is expected. The captain has a domestic problem, and awaits a promotion. The boxers in this outfit are all non-coms. Prewitt is given extra drill to change his mind about boxing. Sgt. Warden is advised to have some fun by his captain, and this leads to an adventure. On payday the soldiers engage in gambling; easy come, easy go. The film shows pre-war Hawaii. There is a private club with hostesses who dance with gentlemen. Some of the hostesses can take a gentleman into the parlor - to talk. [The scene at the beach seems false, as if the censors were active.]
Prewitt's lack of co-operation leads to added punishment. But he shows he can blow a bugle. Sgt. Jordan picks a fight with Maggio, Sgt. Warden stops it. Maggio makes a big mistake in walking away from guard duty. He is court-martialed and sent to the stockade. Sgt. Warden meets with Captain Holmes' wife in secret. They make plans for the future. So does Prewitt and Alma. Prewitt is pushed once too far, and a fight occurs. We see more about the personalities of the people. Prewitt sadly gets to play 'Taps'. Later Prewitt meets with Sgt. Jordan for a final goodbye. Captain Holmes' conduct is recognized. A new Captain Ross makes changes. Sgt. Warden's affair with Karen ends after these changes.
Then December 7 arrives on a Sunday morning. There is a surprise and things change. America will never be the same again. Sgt. Warden takes command and orders a defense of the barracks. Prewitt ties to return to the Army, but is mistaken for a saboteur. This is a tragic ending, a warning about anyone who bucks the system. This is a good story but it was simplified from the novel. They toned down the raw language and situations. Wasn't Hawaii regarded as a great posting? There is a warning at the end. If a person ever tells you a sad story to gain your sympathy it is very likely to be a confidence trick.
- Pearl Harbor Background for Human Destinies
Sweeping Oscars in 1953, this war drama becomes truly war at the very end, when the two main characters - brave soldiers played by Burt Lancaster and Montgomery Clift - are along with their female darlings caught in the fire of 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. One of the first US movies to deal with this blow dealt by Japan, "From Here to Eternity" nevertheless pushed forward the boundaries for various topics in film, having come not ahead of its time, but right at the nick of it. Frankness in intimate relationships, violence and army abuse are tackled with realism unheard-of before. The film has somehow got dated with time, but it still is carried on broad shoulders of Burt Lancaster, whose steaming beach encounter with Deborah Kerr (wife of his superior) remains among the most memorable love scenes ever put on the screen. Another main character, Robert E.Lee Prewitt (then bright young star Clift), is the centerpiece of the story. The talented boxer and bugle-man, who nevertheless has his own code of conduct, becomes an outcast of the army machinery despite his very desirable soldier qualities. The role of his friend Maggio brought a Best Supporting Oscar to Frank Sinatra, who allegedly got the role thanks to his underworld connections. Donna Reed (It's A Wonderful Life) won one for actresses as Prewitt's flame Alma, a luxurious prostitute whose only dream is to return home with the money and live a "decent" life. The film also got six more Academy Awards (total eight of 13 noms), including Best Picture and Best Director for Fred Zinnemann (High Noon, A Man for All Seasons)....more info
- Crashing Waves As Passion.....
I love this classic film. The enormity of the attack on Pearl Harbor tends to obscure the fact that there were human beings involved. This film, taken from the James Jones novel, not only tells an interesting story about some not so everyday lives prior to the attack, but its effect on those lives, during and after. All the actors are great. I greatly admire Montgomery Clift, and he is wonderful here. Apparently, he punched like a girl, and had to be trained to effectively portray his role as a boxer. But to me, it was Burt Lancaster, as the drill sergeant, who is the most interesting character in this film. Deborah Kerr, as his commanders wife, with whom he's having an illicit affair, was cast against type, and convincingly portrays that "come here-go away" pent-up sexual frustration. Yes, this was the film that most famously sublimated crashing waves as sexual passion, the 1950's version of raw sex. Oh, the good old days!! Donna Reed won best supporting actress for her sensitive and underplayed role as a prostitute who falls in love with Clift. And Frank Sinatra, who apparently was unemployable at this time, and unwanted for this role, was finally, after much pressure and influence, cast as "Maggio", and he is great in his portrayal, for which he won best supporting actor. I must admit to not having seen the recent Pearl Harbor story with Ben Affleck, I find all those computerized special effects redundent. To me, the attack in "Eternity", while relatively simple in comparison, is much more effective, realistic, and terrifying. I must admit to not liking most modern movies, I don't like todays acting style, for the most part, and they always look like glossy music videos to me. So this film may seem dated to some (and, after reading some of the other reviews, apparently does.) But if you appreciate great storytelling and craftsmanship, rather than being assaulted by relentless special effects and blasting music, then you'll probably like this classic film. I have not seen the dvd version, which many are criticizing, but have owned a vhs version for years, and the quality has always been very good. A great film, which deservedly won Best Picture of 1953....more info
- A classic that lives up to its reputation
From the days when doorstop novels (or at least large chunks of them) were turned into films rather than mini-series, From Here to Eternity may be toned down to please both the censors and the US Army, whose co-operation was vital to the film, but it's still a superb piece of film-making that slips in a few powerful punches between the lines.
Set in Pearl Harbor in the months leading up to the Japanese attack, it focuses on two professional soldiers: Prewitt (Montgomery Clift), a hard-headed ex-boxer given 'the treatment' by his commanding officer to force him to fight in the regimental boxing championships, and the company's Top Sergeant (Burt Lancaster), who is having an affair with the officer's frigid wife (Deborah Kerr).
Daniel Taradish's screenplay is a masterpiece of snappy construction, perfectly mirrored by Fred Zinnemann's directorial style that brings out both the toughness and the sentiment with a convincing lack of sensationalism. And what a cast: Lancaster a convincing mixture of toughness and emotional vulnerability, a surprisingly sexy Kerr, Donna Reed playing tough against type, Borgnine at his meanest and a wonderful array of character actors. Clift may make an unlikely boxer, but his performance is one of his best, as is that of Sinatra, always under-rated as an actor on those occasions when he made an effort, as his doomed best friend Maggio.
With a good DVD transfer, this is let down by the extras - only a teaser trailer, a making-of featurette that runs a full two minutes (!!!), a brief extract from a documentary about the director and an audio commentary by Tim Zinnemann and Alvin Sargent. This is still well worth adding to your collection, though. Classic films often don't live up to their reputations. This one does....more info
- Over-rated And Dated, But Still A Wonder
Burt Lancaster and Ernie Borgnine steal this movie so easily, you wonder why the rest of the cast showed up. It does have its moments, despite the fact that it's laden with 50's sentimentality and the mumbling method style of Monty Cliff. Unfortunately the soap opera aspects of this film somewhat minimize the import of the main event itself. Still, it beats the recent 'Pearl Harbor' hands-down in every department except for the grimy horror of the attack's special effects, and makes a much more endurable flick. Don't expect much accuracy in depicting the very different ambience of the early 1940's; this is early 50's revisionist history from the first reel (even Donna Reed's hairdo is wrong), and the big attack is merely a backdrop for the melodrama rather than a driving force. For misled fans of 'Pearl Harbor', the acting here makes the cast of that recent movie look like amateurs. "Eternity" isn't as satisfying as it was in the 50's, but it's still a good ride....more info
- Top Rate Acting!
The first time I saw this movie it immediately went on my top five list of favorite classics. I was highly impressed with the acting, especially Montgomery Clift and Frank Sinatra. Frank Sinatra truly deserved the Academy Award he received as the hilarious yet tragic soldier, Maggio. Donna Reed received an Academy Award, too, for her fabulous portrayal as a dance hall girl who wishes to lead a proper life back home in Oregon when she has saved a large bag of money. Ernest Borgnine is excellent as the vicious James "Fatso" Judson, the army stockade leader. The ending of the movie is so sad it makes me feel like crying sometimes!I can't recommend this film enough!...more info
- A Screenwriter's Delight
I never got around to watching this film in its entirety until last year; growing up, mum and dad always watched b&w films which I hated, in my youthful ignorance, but this one, I can see exactly why they loved it.
It's a seamless movie from beginning to end, and although fans of the book (I haven't read it) deride it for not having been faithful enough to the core of the book, I think it stands alone as a monumental piece of cinema; one that couldn't be remade today with any living actor.
Montgomery Clift and Burt Lancaster as the dual-leads both hearken to different schools of acting; Clift as a method actor, and Lancaster as a genuine tough guy (a-la Cagney), but the casting director knew what he/she was doing. Sinatra, more known for his singing career (and a few movie musicals["Anchors Away"]) pulled this role out of his hat, and deservedly picked up an oscar. Deborah Kerr and Donna Reed also hold their own, but the real killer in this film isn't the acting or the scenery--it's the dialogue.
I recommend it to any writer, as a primer in how to write a classy, lean script that never wastes a line....more info
- "Why doesn't that officer stop that fight?"
U.S. Army private Robert E. Lee Prewitt (Montgomery Clift) is fighting for his life in a boxing match with another officer who started the fight. His commanding officer, Captain Holmes, had been pressuring him to fight with the company's boxing team, but he had refused. Holmes' commanding officers observing this from above make the above comment.
In the movie, the year is 1941, the place is Schofield barracks, where some of the shooting for the film actually took place, just 8 miles from Pearl Harbor. The movie was based on a book of the same name, a bit controversial in that its depiction of Army life was graphic and not commending. The fate of the really harmless, Maggio (Frank Sinatra), another private first class who half the time is near dead drunk, is one of the many tragedies of the story. The men in the barracks are merely biding their time, training, boozing, chasing skirts while their officers, during their breaks, read the newspaper on events of the war in europe. Pearl Harbor is just 8 miles down the road...Two separate love stories develop between Seargent Warden (Burt Lancaster) and Mrs. Holmes (Deborah Kerr), the wife of the Commanding Officer of the barracks, and Prewitt and a call girl, Lorene (Donna Reed).
This movie is not over-rated; it's still a classic in my book. I was moved the first time I saw this years ago as much as I am now. Although, the second time around, I'm more enamored with Clift's acting, the other hero in the story. Interestingly his birthday was yesterday, and he died young at 46 of a heart attack. He started out on Broadway, was reluctant to try Hollywood, was very selective about the parts he'd choose to be in. He was unique, untraditional in many ways. It was rumored that he was a homosexual, though I'm not so sure, neither do I care; he was just a d--n good actor who prepared the way for Brando and Dean. There are so many other great actors in this film too, and the footage of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, from newsreels of other naval battles, is so realistic, so effectively woven into the story. Well worth watching several times over, and never mind the famous, steamy smooching scene on a beach of Honolulu; there's much more to the story than that. True gem of a movie....more info
- Is it the Greatest Pearl Harbor Movie???
Personally I do like this movie, in contrast to Pearl Harbor then this movie admits it is a love-story and actually has some good action in it too. The of course there is In Harms Way and Tora Tora Tora, where In Harms Way is similar to Pearl Harbor and From Here to Eternity with love-triangles and betrayal and sneak attack. Tora! Tora! Tora! being the movie telling the factual story.
I have just completed a project for the USS Arizona Memorial comparing the movies, take a look and cast your vote;
- A Very Convincing First Sergeant
This is a case of an outstanding movie being adapted from a great book.
FROM HERE TO ETERNITY presents a realistic portrait of army life in Hawaii immediately before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The film features strong performances by Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, Frank Sinatra, Donna Reed, Ernest Borgnine and Montgomery Clift. An extremely competent supporting cast includes Jack Warden, Philip Ober and Mickey Shaughnessy.
Burt Lancaster makes a convincing first sergeant. One who is running the show and is full of knowledge about how the army really works. He also has good instincts when it comes time to act as he demonstrates in the showdown with the sadistic "Fatso" played by Ernest Borgnine. Borgnine himself is exceptional in his most famous impersonation of a villain.
Frank Sinatra definitely deserves his Oscar in the role of the defiant Maggio. However, after seeing Lee Marvin play a drunk it is hard to appreciate any other actor's attempt compared with Marvin's portrayal in PAINT YOUR WAGON.
FROM HERE TO ETERNITY was a relatively low-budget production but it still managed to receive five Academy Awards and eight nominations....more info
- An All-Time Great but Too Bad About the DVD!
This is an all-time great film for many reasons and should be in any film buff's dvd library. The screenplay is excellent and in a rarity for the time, there is really no happy ending at all and what I really liked about the film is that it came across as sincere and true to life; it hit home that in life, we don't always get the happy ending that we want at least not in the short term. The acting is also very, very good even for the often underrated Montgomery Clift who never got his due as a great actor not only for this brilliant role but also for his work in "The Misfits" and "A Place In the Sun". I thought Donna Reed was even better here than in "It's a Wonderful Life". Frank Sinatra thoroughly deserved his Oscar too.
One thing that is regrettable though is that this film wasn't made in colour which is a real waste of a wonderful setting. Having lived in Honolulu for a few years I can tell you that black and white doesn't do justice to what must be among the most beautiful settings that you can find in the world for any film let alone this masterpiece. In fact, among the special features is a clip of director Fred Zinnemann's home movies from the set and even that was in colour! The featurette "The Making of From Here To Eternity" was very good as well as the excerpt from "Fred Zinnemann: As I See It" which is where we get to see his home movies.
Too bad the dvd hasn't been restored well and so the picture and sound quality is poor. The good news is that with the advent of Blu-ray, the powers that be have the opportunity to do a much better restoration job on this great classic. Let's hope they clean up the picture frame-by-frame and provide at least Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound options of a superiorly remastered sound.
Great movie but you may want to wait for a better dvd version....more info