Classic Hollywood. From Here to Eternity. Frank Sinatra & Burt Lancaster. Yareah review by Dewey Edward Chester.
Adapted from a novel, the story is an episodic collage of American soldiers stationed in Hawaii on the eve of Pearl Harbor.
Author, James Jones, proved that when men fight each other, they are open for attack: every word uttered, every move made by his characters is structured to prove this premise.
Featured in the motion-picture are Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Cliff, and Frank Sinatra; with Deborah Kerr and Donna Reed who portray the women in their lives.
From Here To Eternity won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress.
Explicit Scenes were changed from the novel to appease the censors. For example, the book’s famous beach scene details the Kerr and Lancaster characters having sex.
But the actors refused to do it standing up, so they lay in the sand, kissing passionately with ocean waves gently rolling over them.
This on-screen chemistry between the two spilled off-screen and it was alleged they were romantically involved.
Opening to rave reviews, From Here To Eternity was an instant hit. The Los Angeles Times said:
“This picture is so realistic that mere words cannot describe it. Lancaster wallops the character of Sergeant Milton Warden, who wet-nurses a weak commanding officer and the G.I.’s under him.”
The story opens when Private Robert E. Lee Prewitt transfers to a rifle company at Schofield Barracks.
Captain “Dynamite” Holmes has heard Prewitt is a talented boxer and wants him to join the company boxing team, yet he refuses for personal reasons.
Furious, Captain Holmes asks First Sergeant Milton Warden to prepare Court Martial papers; however, Warden suggests Prewitt can be induced by doubling his company punishment.
Secretly, Sergeant Warden is having an affair with Holmes’ wife, Karen, who reveals to him that Holmes has been unfaithful; she tells Warden if he becomes an officer she will divorce Holmes and marry him.
Meanwhile, Prewitt and his friend, Private Angelo Maggio, have spent their weekend pass at a local nightclub where Prewitt falls in love with a girl named Lorene. Her goal is to marry a “proper” man with a “proper” job and live a “proper” life.
Suddenly, in the club, Maggio and Staff Sergeant James R. Judson come to violent blows of anger: Maggio smashes a barstool over Judson’s head; Judson pulls a switchblade, but Sergeant Warden intervenes.
Enraged, Judson attacks Warden, who dramatically breaks a bottle in half to use as a weapon. Judson backs down; however, he warns Maggio that sooner or later he will end up in the Stockade where Judson threatens to kill him.
Sure enough, Maggio gets drunk a week later and Military Police arrest him. He is sentenced to six months in the Stockade where, of course, Judson is waiting.
Meanwhile, Private Prewitt gets a weekend pass to meet Lorene at the club, but Captain Holmes is there, still angry Prewitt didn’t join his boxing team.
Holmes encourages another solder to fight Prewitt who displays his marvelous skill by knocking out the offending soldier.
But the incident has been witnessed by the Base Commander who forces Holmes to resign.
Finally, Maggio escapes the Stockade, then dies in Prewitt’s arms after telling of abuse he suffered at Judson’s hands.
Angered, Pruwitt kills Judson with a switchblade and takes refuge at Lorene’s house.
The day Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, Prewitt attempts to rejoin his company of men but is accidently shot dead.
Hawaii is evacuated of civilians, and on the ship back to the states, Karen and Lorene now recognize the hopelessness of getting married to soldiers at the start of a World War.
Video: 1953 HITS ARCHIVE: From Here To Eternity – Frank Sinatra.