Saturday, August 20, 2011

From Here to Eternity (1953) (2nd time)

In 1941 Hawaii, a private is cruelly punished for not boxing on his unit's team, while his captain's wife and second in command are falling in love. [imdb]

Nominated for 13 Oscars:

Best Picture (WINNER)
Best Director: Fred Zinnemann (WINNER)
Best Actor: Montgomery Clift
Best Actor: Burt Lancaster
Best Actress: Deborah Kerr
Best Supporting Actor: Frank Sinatra (WINNER)
Best Supporting Actress: Donna Reed (WINNER)
Best Writing, Screenplay (WINNER)
Best Cinematography, Black-and-White (WINNER)
Best Original Score
Best Editing (WINNER)
Best Costume Design, Black-and-White
Best Sound (WINNER)

I'm continuing my Best Picture series with winner number 26, a film that still enjoys a certain amount of popularity. I myself was not a fan the first time I saw it - not that I've changed my mind, but now it feels a bit better. Of course, the film was much more relevant back then, considering only 12 years separated it from the attack on Pearl Harbor - respectfully ilustrated towards the end of the picture.

Otherwise, the film carries a bit too many stories, none of them fully described; it's a bit too segmented and often enough relies on hard-to-believe screenplay decisions. The acting itself seemed a bit different the 2nd time: now I think Monty is pretty bad in the role and I just don't get it why he was considered a good actor in those days. Frank Sinatra himself is quite loud here and the performance seems to be far from Oscar material. I was more impressed with the ladies: Deborah Kerr has much too limited screentime to be considered a lead, but she's intriguingly playing an against-the-type character and she gives a good performance. Donna Reed was better than I remembered, while Burt Lancaster does justice to a very macho role.

While it was a huge success in its era, it feels dated. It has good acting moments, one or two wise directorial choices, but I just don't see it as a classic or anything.

My rating for the film: 6.5/10. The final scene is completely wrong, and I just don't see what they were going for.


  1. Don't say that thing about Monty to many people! :D I saw this movie more than five years ago so my opinion is not reliable.

  2. Monty's a brilliant actor - although I agree he's miscast here. Everyone is acted off the screen by Burt.

  3. I thought the ladies did the better job with their segments.

    I'm keeping my thoughts on Monty. I have yet to see a performance of his I like.