Saturday, August 01, 2009

From Here to Eternity

DVD review from The Movie Snob

From Here to Eternity (B). Even though this movie was nominated for 13 Oscars in 1954 and won 8, I knew only one thing about it going in: the famous scene of Burt Lancaster (Local Hero) and Deborah Kerr (An Affair to Remember) making out in the surf on the beach. That scene -- the smooching part anyway -- was surprisingly brief. Anyway, the movie is really just a soapy slice of army life on Hawaii in the few months leading up to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Considering that the movie was released just eight years after the end of WWII, it is a surprisingly negative portrayal of the army. Montgomery Clift (Red River) plays Private Prewitt, a sensitive sort who is tormented by his company for refusing to box in an upcoming tournament. Frank Sinatra (The Man with the Golden Arm) plays his buddy, who is victimized himself by a sadistic sergeant possessed of a strong anti-Italian prejudice. The company commander is a hack who does almost nothing except cheat on his beautiful wife (Kerr) and encourage the hazing of Private Prewitt. The commander's wife, in turn, cheats on him with Lancaster's Sergeant Warden, who basically runs the company and has more integrity than most of the other characters (well, except for the adultery part). Donna Reed (It's a Wonderful Life) plays against type as a lady of the evening who falls for Prewitt. Anyhoo, it's a pretty good movie, if a touch melodramatic by today's standards. The film looks great on this DVD, maybe because of something called "superbit" technology, but there are no bonus features to speak of. Definitely worth seeing.

P.S. I actually noticed a continuity error, which I almost never do. There's a scene with Lancaster and Kerr in which he tosses a sheaf of tightly rolled-up papers onto a table. The papers are shown on the table, still curled up tightly. The point of view changes, and when Kerr picks the papers up, they are lying perfectly flat. Woo-hoo! Yay for me!


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