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From Here to Eternity
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Product Description

An award-winning drama about a close-knit army camp in hawaii before the attack on pearl harbor. Superb cast and performances by all netting 8 oscars including best picture. Studio: Sony Pictures Home Ent Release Date: 03/06/2007 Starring: Burt Lancaster Montgomery Clift Run time: 118 minutes Rating: Nr

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

Customer Reviews:

  • 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
  • War, in this film, is bigger than people...
    Fred Zinnemann's "From Here to Eternity" and David Lean's "The Bridge on the River Kwai" have one thing in common: a good war story about people with whom we are extremely identified and concerned...

    It may seem strange to consider "From Here to Eternity" as a war film, since a great part of it deals with the military life in a peacetime army... But war is very important to this motion picture... The December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is its definite point, its explosive end, the ruthless attack on U.S. military mind...

    The attack is one of the great sequences in War Films... The sound of the Japanese planes is heard, then there are explosions, and confused soldiers rising from their early breakfast... The Japanese Bombers dive and sweep firing with machine-guns the courtyard and its large buildings, while men run in every direction...

    When a non-fighting companion refuses to pass out arms to his pals, the soldiers break down the door of the ammunition room, take the machine guns to the roof and fire to the flying planes...

    When they succeed in hitting one plane they are delighted by the flavor of war...

    With this powerful scene all the connecting parts that hold together the characters of the story are permanently altered... The great event reduces the characters' pains and passions... World War II is a force that modified everything... War, in this film, is bigger than people...

    The highlights of the film are many, but let me mention the best: Clift playing a flamboyant blues in a local beer joint... The blues came rushing out, expelled from his body by the strength of his feelings; the romantic-erotic scene between Lancaster and Kerr on a deserted beach; Clift playing "Taps" and his tears running down his face...

    Burt Lancaster portrays the tough 'efficient' sergeant who knows how to bend the rules without breaking them... He guides and supports his 'philander' pretentious Captain... He proves himself as an inspiring leader of men when the barracks were under attack...

    Montgomery Clift gives, perhaps, the best performance of his career as the bugler-boxer soldier, whose convictions are stronger than 'The Treatment.'

    Deborah Kerr plays the cool and reserved young lady stimulating her feelings of love in different ways...

    Frank Sinatra is terrific in his rebellious role of Angelo Maggio... He gives a deep and intense characterization, winning an Academy Award...

    Donna Reed is excellent as the charming social woman of the evening...

    Winner of eight Academy Awards, "From Here to Eternity" is a clear indicative of how war comes into collision with the destinies of people, throwing them violently into a turbulent and dangerous situation...

    ...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

  • 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
  • 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 classic must see movie
    This was Burt Lancaster at his best. This classic love storey with a military setting was great. The other actors (Montgomery Clift) and actresses also played a big part in this unforgetable movie. The only thing I would change is the ending to make it happy instead of sad....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

  • 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
  • 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.
    ...more info
  • Fom the screen to the heart
    From Here to Eternity remains one of the most compelling stories that shows how people function under the pressures of war, a dysfunctional personality and those who are looking for a purpose in life. The portrayal of the characters in this film shows all of them as victems of their enviorement and their inability to cope with day to day pressures, whether real or imagined and the search for satisfaction in life. Fred Zimmerman's direction was supurb and he brought out the best in each of the scenes along with dramatic camera work that shows the actors at their height.
    Martin Silver ...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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

  • 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
  • Good disc
    This disc is a high-quality preservation of the film, although the opening (title)sequence seems to be different from the old original print...

    ...but overall a good buy....more info
  • 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
  • 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

  • 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
  • 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

  • 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