From Here to Eternity ()

directed by Fred Zinnemann
featuring Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed, Frank Sinatra

Show Synopsis

The scene is Schofield Army Barracks in Honolulu, in the languid days before the attack on Pearl Harbor, where James Jones' acclaimed war novel From Here to Eternity brought the aspirations and frustrations of several people sharply into focus. Sergeant Milt Warden (Burt Lancaster) enters into an affair with Karen (Deborah Kerr), the wife of his commanding officer. Private Robert E. Lee "Prew" Prewitt (Montgomery Clift) is a loner who lives by his own code of ethics and communicates better with his bugle than he does with ...

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May 17, 2010

The Victim (and Value) Of Time Testing

TITLE: From Here To Eternity
GENRE: Romantic drama, military life based
CAST: Deborah Kerr, Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Donna Reed and Frank Sinatra
REVIEW: Those last two cast members won Supporting Oscars for their performances in this vehicle. Scene: post WWii/Korea America wants heroes, wants to acknowledge the unsavory roles that need to be performed in life or death conflicts. So while the main story lines of the novel adaptation are played out, awards went to Sinatra playing a male .___.. and Reed playing a female.___.. in the period in Pearl Harbor leading up to the Snaek attack. Clift, Kerr and Lancaster are superb in their character presentations but it was the animals that stole the show and you know what they say about acting with animals. The production, direction and editing so chop up what could have been a fine tale about the major roles, they didn't know they were leaving the little bits so big. There isn't a steady run of film in this movie that lasts more than ten seconds. With the caliber of actors employed, somehow I don't think poor performance was being covered up. Why Black and white? The surf kiss (sex intercourse stand in) is one of the most famous clips in Hollywood history. It lasts three seconds! The director, editor and dumb donny whoever, killed a chance for a greater moment.. Ernest Borgnine was deserving of an Oscar for his roll of (REM he's Italian and so was Frank) being the thug who calls Ole Blue eyes a whop! I laughed so hard at the incongruity of that situation, I had to change my Depends. It was rumored Frank got the job only as a 'favor' for the mob by the studios, a story recalled in the opening scenes of the Godfather. The dialogue is stilted and the actors restricted to two sentence development.
ALTERNATE IDEAS: Just the story of Alma (Reed's part) a woman struggling to make ends meet by selling favors would have worked. A story of Warden, the lifer torn between becoming an officer in the field of his choice and ending up with the girl or deciding as he did to just stay one of the guys. Or, more about Prewitt and his departure from his old company and then romantic involvement with Alma. Or, the biggest question, What did Karen Holmes do after the movie ended? Which way did the leis float for her? All would have been better for us to see than the diced bits we got here. Yah, good movie but it was better then, not now away from those wars. Where's my spleen? I seem to have vented it somewhere.
DVD BONUS: Overdub commentary by the Director's son(?); More Kudos for the director in a "maling of..."; More Kudos for the director for an interview called "As I see it"(?); Theatrical trailer; Incomplete filmographies.
ADDED NOTES: There is no good credits list of the other players in this effort. The titles go :Name. a few big stars, bit parts (but no assigments). gown desiner, editor, screenwriter producer director... GOWN DESIGNER?

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