A 1950s black and white classic set in a Hawai’i military base prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, From Here to Eternity is a true landmark of film.
Towering in its telling, the ebbing narratives of the unit and the Commander’s wife (Deborah Kerr – Separate Tables, The King and I) are captivating as a newly transferred private, Robert Prewitt (Montgomery Clift – The Misfits, The Search) is bullied by the rest of his unit for refusing to join the boxing team. Only Private Maggio (Frank Sinatra – The Man With the Golden Arm, The Manchurian Candidate) befriends him and the two find themselves increasingly ostracised by the unit overseen by Sgt Warden (Burt Lancaster – Elmer Gantry, Sweet Smell of Success).
Whilst unquestionably dated and jingoistic, director Fred Zinneman (High Noon, The Nun’s Story) acquired an extraordinary cast for the adaptation of James Jones’ best-selling novel. Famed for the risque (at the time) Kerr/Lancaster beach scene, From Here to Eternity may be pure melodrama – but it’s pure melodrama at its best.
Nominated for 13 Oscars in 1954 including best actor (Clift and Lancaster) and actress (Kerr), won 8 including best film, director, supporting actor (Sinatra), supporting actress (Donna Reed), screenplay, cinematography.