From Here To Eternity (1953)

From Here To Eternity poster

Genre: drama

Description:
The film focuses on the Schofield Army Barracks in Honolulu, in the languid days before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Private Robert E. Lee Prewitt (Montgomery Clift) is stationed there with his friend Angelo Maggio (Frank Sinatra). But soon enough both men find themselves provoked and bullied by their superiors. Meanwhile Sergeant Milt Warden (Burt Lancaster) puts his career at stake by beginning an affair with Karen (Deborah Kerr), the wife of his commanding officer.

The original trailer:

 

Facts:

The film is based on a novel by James Jones. The film doesn’t follow it closely though, because the book was too explicit and long for Hollywood standards. Therefore James Jones was not happy with the feature as he felt it was too sanitized.

-The casting for From Here To Eternity became legendary when Mario Puzo used it as a subplot for his book The Godfather. Rumor had it that Frank Sinatra had gotten the part because his Mafia connections had forced the studio to do so. This is mimicked in the book, resulting in the infamous scene where the director wakes up next to his horse’s head. In reality people involved have claimed that it was Frank’s wife Ava Gardner who talked to her studio boss and persuaded him to give Frank the part that would signal his comeback.

-Originally, Joan Crawford was to play the role of Karen Holmes, but she and the studio eventually disagreed over the terms. They took a chance on Deborah Kerr, who was looking for a sexy part as her ladylike image limited her choice of roles.

-Studio boss Harry Cohn did not like the casting of Montgomery Clift as he felt he was ‘no soldier, no boxer and probably a homosexual’. But director Fred Zinnemann refused to make the film without him.

-The passion between Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster was not completely fictional, as the two were involved during filming.

-The now classic scene where Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr kiss in the rushing water on the beach was not in the script. It was a last minute inspiration from the director.

-Montgomery Clift, Frank Sinatra and author James Jones were especially close during filming, often going out on drinking binges. Montgomery also coached Frank on acting, for which he was very grateful.

-Although From Here To Eternity became wildly successful, people did not expect much from it before filming. Therefore, the budget was only 1 million dollars and it was shot in a mere 41 days.

-Because of the strict censorship at the time Donna Reed’s character was never referenced as a prostitute but always as a nightclub hostess.

– Montgomery Clift was a method actor and had a hard time letting go of the character of Prewitt after filming. He would often show up drunk in Hollywood establishments with his bugle and Hawaiian shirts just like in the film.


Awards:

Wins:

Best Picture – From Here To Eternity – 1954 Academy Awards Of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Best Supporting Actor – Frank Sinatra – 1954 Academy Awards Of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Best Supporting Actress – Donna Reed – 1954 Academy Awards Of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Best Director – Fred Zinnemann – 1954 Academy Awards Of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Best Writing – Daniel Taradash – 1954 Academy Awards Of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Best Cinematography – Burnett Guffy – 1954 Academy Awards Of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Best Sound – John P. Livadary – 1954 Academy Awards Of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Best Film Editing – William A. Lyon – 1954 Academy Awards Of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Best Supporting Actor – Frank Sinatra – 1954 Golden Globes
Best Director – Fred Zinnemann – 1954 Golden Globes
Outstanding Directorial Achievement – Fred Zinnemann – 1954 Directors Guild of America
Best Written American Drama – Daniel Taradash – 1954 Directors Guild of America

Nominations:

Best Actor – Montgomery Clift – 1954 Academy Awards Of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Best Actor – Burt Lancaster – 1954 Academy Awards Of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Best Actress – Deborah Kerr – 1954 Academy Awards Of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Best Costume Design – Jean Louis – 1954 Academy Awards Of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Best Music – Morris Stoloff and George Duning – 1954 Academy Awards Of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Best Picture – From Here To Eternity – 1954 British Academy of Film and Television Awards

From Here To Eternity Monty and Frank

 

Influence:

From Here To Eternity opened to rave reviews and was an instant hit with critics and the public. It made millions at the box office and was nominated for thirteen Academy Awards.
Although it was a sanitized version of the book, the film still captured the feeling of the time well. The cast brought out the best in the script. It is even said that Burt Lancaster and Montgomery Clift did not win an Oscar because they were both so good that they cancelled each other out. Frank Sinatra was one of the big surprises of the film. Up until then, he had only done comedies and musicals but in From Here To Eternity he proved he was a good dramatic actor as well. The film also proved to be his comeback, as his career had been in a downward spiral.
Fro Here To Eternity is most famous for its sensual scene in the sea with Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr. The scene has become a Hollywood staple and has been re-enacted many times.




 

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