It's 1941. Robert E. Lee Prewitt has requested Army transfer and has ended up at Schofield in Hawaii. His new captain, Dana Holmes, has heard of his boxing prowess and is keen to get him to represent the company. However, 'Prew' is adamant that he doesn't box anymore, so Captain Holmes gets his subordinates to make his life a living hell. Meanwhile Sergeant Warden starts seeing the captain's wife, who has a history of seeking external relief from a troubled marriage. Prew's friend Maggio has a few altercations with the sadistic stockade Sergeant 'Fatso' Judson, and Prew begins falling in love with social club employee Lorene. Unbeknownst to anyone, the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor looms in the distance.Written by
Ed Sutton <email@example.com>
To land the part of Maggio, Frank Sinatra had to audition for the role. Columbia head Harry Cohn refused to pay for his screen test, insisting that Sinatra foot the bill for it himself. Sinatra agreed and flew over to Hawaii from Africa where he was with his then-wife Ava Gardner on the set of Mogambo (1953). See more »
When Sergeant Warden walks over with Private Prewitt to the Supply store, we first see Corporal Leva with his hand at his ear. In the next shot, his hand is down on the table. See more »
Why don't you tell the truth, you just don't want the responsibility. You're probably not even in love with me.
Sergeant Milton Warden:
You're crazy! I wish I didn't love ya; maybe I can enjoy life again.
See more »
Opening credits prologue: SCHOFIELD BARRACKS HAWAII 1941 See more »
Fred Zinnemann's "From Here to Eternity" is really more of a soap opera than a war story. Still, it is very well done, and very entertaining. The main attraction isn't World War II, or the soap opera story lines - the main attractions in "From Here to Eternity" are the actors' performances.
Montgomery Clift's is the "main attraction" performance. He makes his character the central figure, despite other story lines, and his performance is mesmerizing. Every look Clift gives, every facial tic, every syllable is fascinating to watch. And, it's all very natural very character-driven. Not that all the others aren't terrific, too. Burt Lancaster is a close second, and everyone performs exceptionally well.
Mr. Clift's performance helps elevate both the other performances, and the film in general. Check out how great he makes all the other actors, "look" simply by playing a bugle. This is a case where an actor's performance affects both the other players in the scene, and even leaves its impressions in scenes where the actor doesn't appear. If you take Clift out of the film, you have a much more ordinary movie.
I'm not sure, however, what/if the film is trying to say about war - is it making a statement of some kind? The main story is: Will Mr. Clift's character box (fight) or, won't he fight (box)? I guess he is bullied into fighting, but does not initiate fighting (he blinds a man, symbolically, by knocking him out in an unseen fight). I am not sure if I got the film's message, or even if there was one.
I would have also made either MORE EXPLICIT or MORE SUBTLE the whole prostitution part - it was a place to have sex during the time, I guess. Donna Reed and the other women were prostitutes, I guess. Since they couldn't make it more explicit, they toned it down to make us really think these men went to town so they could exchange "nice" smiles with "nice" women. Elsewhere, Mr. Lancaster and Ms. Kerr's sound like they've had physical relations, when, it looked, to me, like they'd only been hit by a wave. I know this was the '50s, but filmmakers had developed many subtle ways of relaying this information for the prior half century...
So, what it boils down to: This is a great wartime soap opera, with great performances.
********* From Here to Eternity (8/5/53) Fred Zinnemann ~ Montgomery Clift, Burt Lancaster, Frank Sinatra, Deborah Kerr
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this