It’s 1941, just before the bombing of Pearl Harbour. In the naval base in Hawaii, Private Robert E. Lee (Montgomery Clift) has transferred in, bringing his reputation as a bugler and a boxer. However, after a recent tragic boxing accident, Lee refuses to box regardless of the punishment dished up to him by Captain Dana Holmes (Philip Ober). Meantime, Karen (Deborah Kerr) the wife of Holmes has, in a quite disturbing, almost assaulting manner, commenced a relationship with First Sergeant Milton Warden (Burt Lancaster). And then there is also Private Angelo Maggio (Frank Sinatra), a mate of Lee,who is constantly tormented by Sergeant James R. Judson (Ernest Borgnine).
The film is possibly best known for the sexy beach kiss between Lancaster and Kerr, but the romance is not really the main player in the film. In fact, it was the other storylines that I enjoyed more; the abuse of power and bullying, the moral stance taken by Lee, and the way everything is abandoned when, at the end, the Japanese attack.
I’ve seen this film several times, each time thinking that I had not seen it previously. For me, it’s worth watching for Frank Sinatra. I love the comic characters in old films; especially when the main drama is so theatrical.
From Here to Eternity won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Frank Sinatra), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Donna Reed), Best Director (Fred Zinneman), Best Writing, Screenplay (Daniel Taradash), Best Cinematography, Black-and-White, Best Sound Recording, Best Film Editing and was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Montgomery Clift), Best Actor in a Leading Role (Burt Lancaster) Best Actress in a Leading Role (Deborah Kerr), Best Costume Design, Black-and-White and Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture