- 18 Oct 10
Adapted from a characteristically robust novel by James Jones (author of The Thin Red Line), From Here to Eternity doesn’t skimp on subplots or machismo.
Even those who’ve never sat through Fred Zimmermann’s war epic will know it as the film that (allegedly) inspired the horse’s head scene in The Godfather. If that doesn’t ring any bells there are any number of parodies of that scene between Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr cavorting in the Hawaiian waves.
Despite its romantic associations From Here to Eternity often feels like a never-ending bar brawl. Montgomery Clift, the silver screen’s most heart-wrenching actor, headlines as Private Robert E. Lee Prewitt, a talented former boxer who has hung up his gloves after blinding one of his former opponents. His fellow soldiers are having none of it. Captain Dana “Dynamite” Holmes (Philip Ober) promises that Prewitt will return from the South Seas as a corporal or sergeant if he helps Company G win a boxing trophy in an upcoming bout. Following a suggestion from First Sergeant Milton Warden (Lancaster), Holmes resolves to make the reluctant Prewitt’s life as miserable as possible. The young fellow stands firm just the same until Staff Sergeant Fatso Judson (Borgnine) has a go at Prewitt’s only friend, the hot-headed Maggio (Sinatra).
Adapted from a characteristically robust novel by James Jones (author of The Thin Red Line), From Here to Eternity doesn’t skimp on subplots or machismo. Between Kerr’s extra-marital with Lancaster, Ober’s court-martial and the looming shadow of Pearl Harbor, we always feel we’re watching an old-fashioned Oscar winning extravaganza. (Sure enough, the film won eight Academy Awards from its 13 nominations.)
Beneath the pomp and circumstance lies the genuinely touching (and rather homoerotic) friendship between Sinatra and Clift and a hell of a lot of fighting.