Published on February 14th, 2008 | by Chris0
From Here to Eternity (1953)
I've seen From Here to Eternitya few times now, and each time I wonder how it continually winds up on the top of the "best war movies of all time" lists. Is it a bad movie? Absolutely not, but I think it makes a better "chick flick" than war movie, and the reasons are pretty obvious.
We have Sgt. Warden (Burt Lancaster) going after an affair with Captain Holmes' (Philip Ober) wife Karen (Deborah Kerr.) Without a doubt these are the steamiest parts of the film, and produce the famous "beach kiss" scene we've all seen a million times over. In the end though, she wants more than he's willing to give up, and it basically ends.
More important is the tale of one Pvt. Robert E. Lee Prewitt (Montgomery Clift) aka "Prew." He's brought to Hawaii by Capt. Holmes to join his boxing squad. The problem is that Prew has shunned the ring, having accidentally blinded a man by a knockout punch. The fun ensues as he's beaten and ridiculed into going back to the ring, but he'll have no part of it. Between him and his buddy Maggio (Frank Sinatra) the drinking and reveling they do outweighs anything they do on the base.
Along the way Prew meets up with one of the "companion" girls at the local club, Alma (Donna Reed) and they fall hopelessly in love. (sigh)
Unfortunately it's the reveling that gets Maggio into trouble, and in the stockade, where the warden Sgt. "Fatso" Judsen (Ernest Borgnine) beats him so badly he has to force an escape. He gets rolled from the truck he escapes on, and dies in the arms of Prew....
...who of course goes out after blood, and after Fatso. He knifes him in an alley, and holes up with Alma.
Oh, and did I mention this all takes place on Hawaii? In the days leading up to Dec. 7, 1941? Yeah, I guess that's important, as the Japanese start their attack, Prew is torn between facing his punishment for murder, and getting back to his squad. He finally chooses the latter, and is shot and killed trying to sneak back onto the base.
From Here to Eternity ends with Karen and Alma leaving the island, mourning in each their own way, and discovering the connection that exists between them.
I dunno, maybe I "had to be there" to understand why this consistently rates high on everyone else's war movie scale. Maybe the portrayal of the island's nightlife and base-life brings back memories for those who were there and remember it.
I just don't get it. From Here to Eternity is your typical sappy 50's soap opera love story (and it does get rather 50's-ish quite often) and just doesn't do it for me. I'm sure there are parts I'm leaving out, but its just not that memorable to me. As a love story I'd give it a full 9/10, but as a war movie I'm going with five.
(I guess this is as fitting a day to post a review of From Here to Eternity as any, too 😉
From Here to Eternity
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In this landmark film, passion and tragedy collide on a military base as a fateful day in December 1941 draws near. Private Prewitt (Montgomery Clift) is a soldier and former boxer being manipulated by his superior and peers...
DVD InformationBinding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Manufacturer: Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment
Original Release Date:
- Burt Lancaster
- Montgomery Clift
- Deborah Kerr
- Donna Reed
- Frank Sinatra
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
What is more eternal than love and brotherhood?,
This review is from: From Here To Eternity (Amazon Video)Its power may have waned a little bit since it first came out over 50 years ago, but FROM HERE TO ETERNITY still remains one of the classic war films as well as an interesting look into military life circa 1941. The story follows a handful of characters whose lives all intersect in Hawaii during the months prior to the bombing at Pearl Harbor. You have Montgomery Clift as Pvt. Robert E. Lee Prewitt: a loner with a troubled past, Burt Lancaster as Sgt. Warden: a tough, but understanding NCO, Deborah Kerr as Karen Holmes: the company commander's wife, and Frank Sinatra as Angelo Maggio: a wiry Italian fellow who befriends Prewitt and loves to drink. As was typical for films of the period, there is a romantic/melodramatic element which forms the basis for the story and informs the way we see the characters. This aspect was kind of dated, but it allows the casual viewer a window into these characters' lives the way a straight military picture couldn't have done. The two main romantic... Read more
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Great drama that won the Best Picture oscar,
This review is from: From Here to Eternity [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)From Here to Eternity won the Best Picture Oscar and it is a movie that still stands up to the test of time. In the days before Pearl Harbor, several stories play out at the Schofield Barracks in Hawaii. One soldier has an affair with the Captain's wife, another soldier becomes romantically involved with a...um..."dance hall hostess" while at the same time resisting being forced to join his company's boxing team, and another soldier pits himself against a formidable foe. If you are thinking that the attack will be the main focus of the film, you are wrong and will have to wait until the end for that to happen. This is a tour-de-force movie about relationships.
Montgomery Clift beats expectations as the soldier who doesn't want to box. Burt Lancaster is tough to the soldiers but in offguard moments shows he has a strong, caring side. Frank Sinatra pulls off the little tough guy, Maggio, superbly. Deborah Kerr and Donna Reed, both cast against type, turn in very... Read more
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
PRISTINE BLURAY ENHANCES STORY,
This review is from: From Here to Eternity [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
It took an eternity but I finally had to have this bluray. The black and white photography is really sharp with very little artifacting looking much like a new film and the DTS tracks were bright, crisp and fulsome leaving nothing wanting. In particular we noticed the scene where Montgomery Clift blows taps no hiss surfaced in the dead silence of the solemn scene, just the pure clear notes of his lonesome trumpet; when it went silent it was a full silence, not dead, and no hiss at all. Very nice tracks to listen to dialog of some great performances by huge stars of an era before my time. Really enjoyed the pristine picture quality of Hawaii locations. The attack on Pearl Harbor looked great. I was tempted to give 5 stars
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Summary: I just don't get it. From Here to Eternity is your typical sappy 50's soap opera love story (and it does get rather 50's-ish quite often) and just doesn't do it for me. I'm sure there are parts I'm leaving out, but its just not that memorable to me. As a love story I'd give it a full 9/10, but as a war movie I'm going with five.