From Here to Eternity

HereToEternitySuggested by Brad Nelson • In 1941 Hawaii, a private is cruelly punished for not boxing on his unit’s team, while his captain’s wife and second in command are falling in love. In this landmark film, passion and tragedy collide on a military base as a fateful day in December 1941 draws near.
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4 Responses to From Here to Eternity

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Okay, so this is little more than a glorified soap opera. Still, what a cast. I thought the love affair between Burt Lancaster (as Sgt. Milton Warden) and Deborah Kerr (as Karen Holmes, wife of Lancaster’s boss) was superb. The other plot lines were just okay.

    This picture won eight Oscars. Oddly, the acting Oscars were misappropriated, at best. I love Donna Reed, but that was not anywhere near an Oscar-winning performance as the “escort” girl (or whatever she actually was). And as much as I like Sinatra (indeed, this is why I took another look at this picture, my ongoing Sinatra retrospective), I wonder if he doesn’t get marks simply because anyone is astounded when you can get a trained seal to jump through a hoop. To see a crooner give a passable performance as a boozer (basically Frank playing himself) was considered a hoop indeed.

    I think Frank tried a little too hard to be that character. Mickey Rooney would have aced it. Why Frank got the Oscar, I don’t know. The best performance in this film by far was by Deborah Kerr, followed closely by Burt Lancaster. These two, and Montgomery Clift, were nominated for Oscars but did not win. Clift was okay but it’s very easy to overdose on his saccharine “gosh, just little ol’ me” performances. It’s a bit treacly. Imagine, say, Steve McQueen in that role.

    Ernest Borgnine — in quite a departure from the next year’s “Marty” — plays a sadistic sergeant, and he plays it well, although it’s not a big role. Jack Warden weaves in and out as good filler, as does Claude “Ape has killed Ape” Akins. Philip Ober is weak as Capt. Dana Holmes but certainly believable enough.

    But it’s the Lancaster/Kerr illicit romance that really sparkles and makes this an “adult” film in the old sense. The rest is just a remake of a sorts of “Anchors Away.” Nothing to write home about. Yes there are some nice moments of bugling by Clift, but again he seems somehow ill-matched for the role. I don’t completely buy it.

    But I completely buy the Lancaster/Kerr affair and wish the film would have donated more time to it. Overall, this is a classic you should watch at least once.

  2. Anniel says:

    I remember going to see this movie when it first came out. The scene on the beach was considered very steamy and risqué because they were almost nude. Someone had remarked on having only bathing suits separating their skin. Think of it, bathing suits! I felt very embarrassed to admit I had seen the movie. That scene was an iconic moment for many people around the world.

    I liked Sinatra but knew very little about him since I was never a groupie. I was upset he and Nancy had split. But I was impressed that he was revived by appearing in this movie.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I’ve never seen From Here to Eternity, but I will note that there’s a scene in Airplane that I’ve had described as a satirical version of that beach scene.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      There was more passion and heat in that beach scene than in a hundred porno flicks. Also give credit to Lancaster (libtard that he was) for keeping his body in shape.

      Sinatra had his share of ups and downs…many of the downs self-induced. I don’t really understand his ability to come back. But I think deep-down the public did love him and wanted him to succeed. I think the public kept giving him more chances, if only because there hasn’t been anything like him before or since.

      He was pretty awful to Nancy. But even if he was excessively cruel to her, it’s difficult to have the kind of career that he did and a home life, at least early-on. By the time he married Barbara (1976-1998) he was a different man than he was in his yute…more settled and mature…certainly more confident as well.

      One thing I learned about Sinatra is that he didn’t just have a good voice. He apparently had an enormous ear for music, bands, instruments, and even conducting. It certainly didn’t hurt learning the business from Harry James, Tommy Dorsey, and some of the top-notch musicians he worked with or hung around with.

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