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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Peacetime Classic !
"From Here to Eternity" is a Hollywood classic. It may be the finest film ever about the military in peacetime. The background is Schofield Barracks, Hawaii in the Fall of 1941. That was the old "brown boot" Army! This reviewer is a Vietnam era vet, so I can't address the realism of the setting. Judging by the crisp dialog and snappy khaki uniforms, I'm giving the...
Published on Dec 20 2003 by Mcgivern Owen L

3.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, so-so DVD
While the digital transfer is good and I enjoyed the movie for the first time without all the white noise and sound pops, all the special features that it boasts are disappointing.
For people who enjoy classic movies, you really can't do better than this. The movie is able to stand well enough on it's own without really needing these "features" to back it...
Published on March 24 2004 by Tyler Tanner

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Peacetime Classic !, Dec 20 2003
This review is from: From Here to Eternity (VHS Tape)
"From Here to Eternity" is a Hollywood classic. It may be the finest film ever about the military in peacetime. The background is Schofield Barracks, Hawaii in the Fall of 1941. That was the old "brown boot" Army! This reviewer is a Vietnam era vet, so I can't address the realism of the setting. Judging by the crisp dialog and snappy khaki uniforms, I'm giving the director the benefit of any doubt. I always thought it fascinating that an Austrian born Director could be at the helm of such classics as "High Noon" and FHTE -in consecutive years no less. What did Mr. Zinnemann know of the Old West or the American Army? The male lead is Burt Lancaster as First Sergeant Warden, a tough but fair NCO that any enlisted man would want for his "top". The second male lead is Private Prewitt, played by Montgomery Clift. Prewitt is a top bugler who isn't allowed to bugle and a top boxer who reuses to box for the company team! How that automatic conflict plays out is the heart of the movie. Another conflict is between Frank Sinatra, a happy go lucky but harmless enlisted man who trouble seems to follow and an evil Ernest Borgnine, the top MP at the Schofield stockade. Their "dispute" plays out too, with Clift a surprise key figure in its' "resolution". This reviewer believes that far too much attention has been lavished on the affair between Lancaster and Deborah Kerr, the wife of the Company Commander. I found it hard to swallow that any serious career man would run around openly with an officer's wife. Lancaster was one step away from a bust down to the lowest private and a trip to the stockade. The real female star here was Donna Reed, a bar "hostess' who would be a prostitute in real life. Her sensitivity toward Clift produces some of the best scenes in FHTE. Someone must have agreed because Donna walked off with the Best Supporting Actress Oscar- and promptly fainted after receiving it. The interplay between Lancaster/Kerr and Clift/Reed caused some huge challenges for the Director in making the bawdy best selling novel "clean" for the silver screen in the still conservative, prudish America of 1953. FHTE also contains some of the sharpest dialog and one liners this reviewer can remember. Two favorites: "Never disturb a man when he's drinking" (Lancaster) and "No one lies about being lonely"(Clift). In addition to Reed, Oscars were awarded for Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Film Editing, Cinematography and Supporting Actor, (Sinatra). The last two are important: FHTE revived Frank's career. Many believe that "pressure" was applied to Harry Cohn and Columbia Pictures to hire Sinatra. Do we remember the "horses head in the bed" scene from Godfather I? Others claim that his then wife, Ava Gardner, supplied the "influence". Finally FHTE is yet another example of why black and white classics should not be colorized. If there is such a thing as "beautiful black and white", it is this one. ....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Convincing First Sergeant, Dec 12 2002
Peter Kenney (Birmingham, Alabama, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: From Here to Eternity (VHS Tape)
This is a case of an outstanding movie being adapted from a great book.
FROM HERE TO ETERNITY presents a realistic portrait of army life in Hawaii immediately before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The film features strong performances by Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, Frank Sinatra, Donna Reed, Ernest Borgnine and Montgomery Clift. An extremely competent supporting cast includes Jack Warden, Philip Ober and Mickey Shaughnessy.
Burt Lancaster makes a convincing first sergeant. One who is running the show and is full of knowledge about how the army really works. He also has good instincts when it comes time to act as he demonstrates in the showdown with the sadistic "Fatso" played by Ernest Borgnine. Borgnine himself is exceptional in his most famous impersonation of a villain.
Frank Sinatra definitely deserves his Oscar in the role of the defiant Maggio. However, after seeing Lee Marvin play a drunk it is hard to appreciate any other actor's attempt compared with Marvin's portrayal in PAINT YOUR WAGON.
FROM HERE TO ETERNITY was a relatively low-budget production but it still managed to receive five Academy Awards and eight nominations.
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5.0 out of 5 stars FROM HERE TO ETERNITY [1953] [Blu-ray] [US Import], Aug. 9 2014
Andrew C. Miller - See all my reviews
FROM HERE TO ETERNITY [1953] [Blu-ray] [US Import] Powerful! Unforgettable! A Flawless Film!

In this landmark film, passion and tragedy collide on a military base as a fateful day in December 1941 draws near. Private Prewitt [Montgomery Clift] is a soldier and former boxer being manipulated by his superior and peers. His friend Maggio [Frank Sinatra] tries to help him but has his own troubles. Sergeant Warden [Burt Lancaster] and Karen Holmes [Deborah Kerr] tread on dangerous ground as lovers in an illicit affair. Each of their lives will be changed when their stories culminate in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

FILM FACT: The film won eight Academy Awards out of 13 nominations. 1954 26th Academy Awards Won: Best Picture (Buddy Adler). Best Director (Fred Zinnemann). Best Screenplay (Daniel Taradash). Best Supporting Actor (Frank Sinatra). Best Supporting Actress (Donna Reed). Best Cinematography [Black-and-White] (Burnett Guffey). Best Film Editing (William A. Lyon). Best Sound [Recording] Best Sound (John P. Livadary). 1954 26th Academy Awards Nominated: Best Actor (Montgomery Clift). Best Actor (Burt Lancaster) Best Actress (Deborah Kerr). Best Costume Design (Black-and-White) (Jean Louis). 1954 Golden Globe Award Won: Best Supporting Actor (Frank Sinatra). Best Director (Fred Zinnemann).

The film's title comes originally from a quote from Rudyard Kipling's 1892 poem "Gentlemen-Rankers," about soldiers of the British Empire who had "lost [their] way" and were "damned from here to eternity."

Cast: Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed, Frank Sinatra, Philip Ober, Mickey Shaughnessy, Harry Bellaver, Ernest Borgnine, Jack Warden, John Dennis, Merle Travis, Tim Ryan, Arthur Keegan, Barbara Morrison, George Reeves, Claude Akins, Alvin Sargent, Joseph Sargent, Robert J. Wilke, Carleton Young and Tyler McVey (uncredited)

Director: Fred Zinnemann

Producer: Buddy Adler

Screenplay: Daniel Taradash

Composer: George Duning

Cinematography: Burnett Guffey

Video Resolution: 1080p [Black and White]

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English: Dolby Digital Mono (Original), French: Dolby Digital Mono, German: Dolby Digital Mono, Italian: Dolby Digital Mono, Japanese: Dolby Digital Mono, Portuguese: Dolby Digital Mono, Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono and Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono

Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, German, Arabic, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Korean, Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Polish, Swedish, Thai and Turkish

Running Time: 118 minutes

Region: All Regions

Number of discs: 1

Studio: Sony Pictures

Andrew's Blu-ray Review: Big novels often morphed into big films during Hollywood's heyday, and 'From Here to Eternity' was one of the biggest of its time. Though initially dubbed "Cohn's folly" after Columbia Pictures studio chief Harry Cohn paid a tidy sum for what many considered to be a too-hot-to-handle property, this all-star adaptation of James Jones' bestselling opus about life on a Hawaiian army base in the months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor proved all the doubters wrong when it became a critical and popular sensation upon its release in the summer of 1953. Seamlessly combining grit, brawn, romance, and a climactic aerial assault, the film also helped usher in a new era of adult-themed motion pictures that pushed the boundaries of censorship, challenged the sanctity of American institutions (in this case, the U.S. Army), and realistically depicted complex human relationships. Sure, the script severely waters down the novel's raciness, crudity, and violence, yet it maintains the tough-minded tone and core thematic elements that make the story so involving. And maybe that's why this bona fide classic continues to impress and move us six decades after it first stormed onto the screen.

'From Here to Eternity' concentrates on character, values, ideals, injustices, and interpersonal couplings instead of detailing the history and impact of the monumental event, Fred Zinnemann's film paints a far more accurate portrait of life and duty in the days leading up to the 7th December, 1941 than Michael Bay's mind numbing blockbuster treatment. Fred Zinnemann's understated style also suits the material well, shrinking the tale's broad scope to an intimate level, thus enhancing emotional resonance. Prior to 'From Here to Eternity,' military dramas and soap operas were mutually exclusive, but the supremely talented Fred Zinnemann manages to blend the two into a cohesive whole, giving the movie universal appeal and coining a style that would be endlessly copied, but rarely equalled.

And then there's that classic beach scene. Who knew a single shot of the Hawaiian surf cascading over the interlocked bodies of Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster (see the beautiful slip cover art) would test the tolerance of the censors and immediately become one of the most iconic images in all of cinema history? Though the sequence instantly identifies the film and cements its romantic status, it doesn't define it. The theme of a lone wolf standing up against the establishment and sticking to his beliefs at great physical and emotional cost is what truly distinguishes 'From Here to Eternity,' and the message gains even more power when viewed in the context of the time, when the country was still gripped by the McCarthy witch hunts, and criticisms of any government entity were tantamount to treason.

The lone wolf in the film is the newly demoted Private Robert E. Lee "Prew" Prewitt [Montgomery Clift], a transfer from the esteemed Bugle Corps, who's assigned to serve at Schofield Barracks under the arrogant, unscrupulous Captain Dana Holmes [Philip Ober]. Obsessed with the championship of the regimental boxing team he coaches, Karen Holmes [Deborah Kerr] pulled some strings to snag Private Robert E. Lee "Prew" Prewitt, whose reputation as a top-class middleweight preceded him. Yet Private Robert E. Lee "Prew" Prewitt refuses to join the team for personal reasons (which become clear later), much to the chagrin of his commanding officer, who authorises the company's sergeants to give the recalcitrant private "the treatment," a punitive going-over that includes bullying, extra duty, and other forms of abuse. Private Robert E. Lee "Prew" Prewitt, however, refuses to buckle under the constant strain. "A man don't go his own way, he's nothin'" is a line Private Robert E. Lee "Prew" Prewitt lives by, and it applies to other characters as well, most notably Private Robert E. Lee "Prew" Prewitt's best buddy, Angelo Maggio [Frank Sinatra], whose cocky, street-wise attitude and disregard for authority get him more trouble than he bargains for, and Captain Holmes' right-hand man, Staff Sergeant Milton Warden [Burt Lancaster], who enters into a passionate and risky affair with Holmes' neglected and bitter wife, Karen Holmes [Deborah Kerr]. Private Robert E. Lee "Prew" Prewitt also finds love and comfort in the arms of Alma "Lorene" Burke [Donna Reed], a stuck-up "hostess" with a heart of gold in a USO type social club in the book, she's a "lady of ill repute" who longs to leave her tawdry existence behind and become "proper."

Despite the story's anti-military slant, the movie was produced with the cooperation of the U.S. Army, which only demanded a couple of script changes before endorsing the project. Fred Zinnemann and Daniel Taradash reluctantly agreed to the alterations, and the army seal of approval goes a long way toward validating the on-screen action. After years of shamelessly laudatory propaganda films produced during World War II, it's refreshing to see such a warts-and-all portrait of a military body, which is depicted here as a mini totalitarian state where absolute power corrupts absolutely and integrity is only valued under optimal circumstances.

Fred Zinnemann wisely adopts a straightforward cinematic style, allowing the story to tell itself, and concentrates instead on the actors, all of whom assert themselves admirably. All five principals earned Oscar nominations (that's quite a feat!), and it's a shame Montgomery Clift didn't win for his stoic yet sensitive portrait of the hard-headed Private Robert E. Lee "Prew" Prewitt. An actor with the same blistering intensity and broad range as Marlon Brando and James Dean, Montgomery Clift is a magnetic presence who gets under the skin of his characters, exposing their heart and soul in a measured, understated manner. His work here ranks among his best, and it's impossible to imagine anyone else as Private Robert E. Lee "Prew" Prewitt.

Burt Lancaster plays the macho Warden well, and generates plenty of heat with Deborah Kerr, who at the time was cast against type as the adulterous Karen Holmes. Hers is a passionate performance, filled with spirit and heartbreak, and it forever changed the course of her career, instantly shattering her patrician good girl image and allowing her to graduate to more dimensional and challenging roles. The actor-singer Frank Sinatra, who had hit rock bottom professionally, lobbied incessantly for the role and offered to do it for nothing. After a screen test he financed himself, and Frank Sinatra got the job and was paid a paltry $8,000 for his services, but his resulting success (and subsequent Oscar) completely revitalized his career, which never went south again.

A (relatively) young Ernest Borgnine makes a notable impression as "Fatso" Judson, the sadistic stockade sergeant who harbours a grudge against Private Angelo Maggio [Frank Sinatra], and Jack Warden, Claude Akins (in his film debut), and TV's original Superman, George Reeves, also appear in small parts. But aside from Montgomery Clift, the most riveting presence in 'From Here to Eternity' is, surprisingly, Donna Reed, who sheds her perfect wife persona, spawned from the holiday classic 'It's a Wonderful Life,' and sinks her teeth into the pouty, haughty, yet deceptively vulnerable Lorene. Devoid of histrionics and affectation, Reed's nuanced portrayal is about as real and raw as they come, and certainly deserving of the Oscar it received.

Though there's not much war in 'From Here to Eternity,' Fred Zinnemann's film stands as one of the great war films, for it depicts not only the attack on Pearl Harbor, but also more importantly the battle of the human spirit to maintain its integrity, follow its duty, and fight for its beliefs. Crashing waves notwithstanding, this is a substantive movie that earns its stripes, as well as its rarefied standing in Hollywood history.

Blu-ray Video Quality - Fans of 'From Here to Eternity' have waited patiently for its Blu-ray release, and will certainly want to ditch their previous inferior DVD format for this high-quality 1080p transfer. The biggest difference between this high-definition rendering and the Superbit DVD is the pristine nature of the source material, which has been scrubbed clean. Gone are the multitudes of nicks and marks that littered the previous print, leaving a clear, vibrant image that sports excellent grey scale variance and a natural grain structure that enhances the film's realism. Black levels are rich and inky (just look at Lorene's lush gown in her opening scene), with only a hint of crush occasionally creeping into the frame's darkest recesses, and bright whites balance nicely against the neutral greys. Day-for-night sequences look especially well defined, and patterns, such as Karen's striped shirt and the checkerboard table cloth in her bungalow, remain rock solid and resist shimmering.

Gritty, naturalistic photography has always lent 'From Here to Eternity' a harsh, cold look, but clarity is still excellent, even in the rougher-looking exterior scenes. The detail in the Hawaiian shirts worn by the soldiers is striking, and close-ups are marvellously crisp, highlighting the male actors' rugged facial features and female leads' creamy complexions. Montgomery Clift's double in the fight scene with Sergeant Galovitch [John Dennis] is even easier to identify now, and the raindrops that douse Burt Lancaster early in the film are sharp and distinct. Without question, 'From Here to Eternity' looks better here than in any other home video incarnation, so an upgrade is essential for fans.

Blu-ray Audio Quality - The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track also ups the ante aurally, providing superior sound, especially during the climactic aerial attack. Though only minimal surround activity could be detected early in the film, mostly in the ambient effect category, the assault sequence kicks the mix into high gear, with speeding planes soaring overhead and across the soundscape, lending certain shots a thrilling immediacy. The hefty rumble of bombs shakes the room, and rapid machine gun fire also gives the subwoofer a nice workout. Yet as much as the showy sounds shine, so, too, do the subtle nuances. The driving tropical rain, the sound of weeds being yanked out of the grass, even the hairbrush coursing through Deborah Kerr's blond locks all possess a distinct texture that adds essential atmosphere to various scenes.

The music, which runs the gamut from romantic, string-laden love themes and the lazy drawl of the folksy "Reenlistment Blues" to Fatso's sloppy piano tinkling and Prewitt's organic bugling in the bar, flaunts a high degree of fidelity and tonal depth, and thanks to a wide dynamic scale, distortion is never an issue. Dialogue is always clear and comprehendible, and any age-related imperfections, such as pops, crackles, and hiss, have been meticulously erased. 'From Here to Eternity' may be 60 years old, but this crystal clear, well-modulated track often makes it sound much younger, and helps this classic motion picture relate to contemporary audiences.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Audio Commentary: Tim Zinnemann, son of the film's director, and Oscar-winning screenwriter Alvin Sargent ('Ordinary People' and 'Julia'), who played a small part in the picture, sit down for an insightful commentary that starts strong, but fizzles out toward the end. Fred Zinnemann often speaks haltingly, as if he's not completely sure of his facts, but his cogent points concerning his dad's personality and work ethic enhance our appreciation of the film. Alvin Sargent analyses his brief scene with Clift and recalls the actor's kindness and sensitivity, and also outlines how he got another key bit in the movie announcing the Japanese attack. In addition, we learn about alternate casting choices for key roles (Aldo Ray for Montgomery Clift's part, Ronald Reagan for Burt Lancaster's role, and Joan Crawford for the character played by Deborah Kerr); how Fred Zinnemann got the plum directing assignment; script changes that had to be made to facilitate shooting at the U.S. Army Schofield Barracks in Hawaii; why Fred Zinnemann demanded the use of black-and-white film stock instead of colour; Montgomery Clift's rigorous preparation for his role; and some key advice director John Ford gave Fred Zinnemann early in his career. Gaps intensify in length toward the film's climax, but despite the lulls, this is a worthwhile dialogue that especially fans of the film will enjoy.

Documentary: The Making of 'From Here to Eternity [2:00] A pitiful excuse for a making-of documentary, this blink-and-you'll-miss-it piece only skirts the surface of this classic film, as it focuses on casting choices, the iconic beach scene, and the film's Academy Award® victories. Clips from Fred Zinnemann's personal colour home movies shot on location only mildly salvage what amounts to a cursory backward glance.

Documentary: Fred Zinnemann: As I See It [10:00] More colour home movies shot by the director highlight this excerpt from a thoughtful profile of Fred Zinnemann, which includes lengthy comments from the man himself about 'From Here to Eternity.' Fred Zinnemann discusses his affinity for "outsider" films, recalls how he was awarded the plum assignment of helming ''From Here to Eternity,' and why he cast Deborah Kerr against type to portray Karen Holmes. He also says his filmmaking credentials are to "tell the truth as I see it."

Eternal History: Graphics-in-Picture Track: Picture-in-picture tracks often can be frustrating, because the content is sporadic and difficult to isolate. Thankfully, though, that's not the case here, as this enlightening and entertaining bonus view feature combines interview segments with pop-up trivia cards to provide a constant stream of information. A number of journalists and historians, including TCM host Robert Osborne, chime in with plenty of facts and anecdotes, while first-hand recollections from Fred Zinnemann's son Tim, Frank Sinatra's daughter Tina, and Jack Larson, a friend of Montgomery Clift who's best known for his portrayal of Jimmy Olson in the original 'Superman' TV series, give us a more intimate look at the making of this Oscar-winning classic. Topics include the revitalisation of Frank Sinatra's career and his closeness with Clift; the censorship issues that afflicted the famous beach love scene; the possibility of a real-life affair between Lancaster and Kerr during shooting; the appearance of George Reeves (TV's Superman) in a small role; Montgomery Clift's inner conflicts, demons, and self-critical nature; the tyrannical Columbia studio chief, Harry Cohn, and how he interfered with Fred Zinnemann's work; and a distraught Frank Sinatra's distraught inner demons depression over his tempestuous marriage to actress Ava Gardner. The pop-up factoids look at, among other things, the military and literary careers of author James Jones and differences between the novel and screenplay, and supply stats about the cast and film, as well as some behind-the-scenes trivia. Even if you already know a lot about 'From Here to Eternity,' as I do, this recommended track will almost certainly teach you something new.

Finally, with its multi-layered story, provocative themes, and stellar performances, 'From Here to Eternity' stands as one of Hollywood's most absorbing and finely textured productions. This Best Picture winner uses Pearl Harbor as a stunning backdrop for a tale that brims with emotion, vitality, and a rugged individualism that sets it apart from other movies of the period. Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr, Frank Sinatra, and Donna Reed all perfectly embody their roles and file nuanced portrayals that remain solid and strong six decades after the film's premiere. Though it took Sony far too long to release this Oscar-winning classic on Blu-ray, the top-notch presentation is worth the wait, with excellent video and audio transfers, a brand-new picture-in-picture track, and five collectible lobby card reproductions sweetening the pot. 'From Here to Eternity' may be best known for its iconic beach scene, but the crashing waves can't drown the film's spirit or the potent messages it transmits. Diehard movie buffs will surely want to add this first-class drama to their Blu-ray Collection, and those who haven't yet experienced it are in for a real treat and that is why I am honoured to actually add this to my Blu-ray Collection, as it is one of those classic films that will be loved by many generations to come and character driven films of this calibre will go on forever. Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller - Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, so-so DVD, March 24 2004
Tyler Tanner (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: From Here to Eternity (Bilingual) (DVD)
While the digital transfer is good and I enjoyed the movie for the first time without all the white noise and sound pops, all the special features that it boasts are disappointing.
For people who enjoy classic movies, you really can't do better than this. The movie is able to stand well enough on it's own without really needing these "features" to back it up and I recommend this DVD version only for that reason.
However those who love collectors edition DVD's, especially ones on Oscar flicks may feel slighted. There are two lackluster featurettes. One being a "Making Of" that is more or less a rehash of the production notes found inside of the case. The other focusing on Fred Zinneman, the movie's director, is slighlty more interesting. But both have more footage of the film itself than behind the scenes and both run under ten minutes. What they should have done was combine the two. The Commentary by the son of the director also leaves much to be desired. The only reason why I harp on these is that I know what Columbia is capable of doing better. Take a look at "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Bridge on the River Kwai"
However, I'm glad I got this and recommend it despite my gripes. Just be aware of the its shortcomings. It's a great film that speaks for itself and after having the DVD for a few years now, I still find myself taking this off the shelf from time to time.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great acting in a story for its time--not TOP but near, March 20 2003
It is so tiring to keep hearing about a movie, not on its merits, but on how it fits the "political correctness," of today, and worse yet that the sexual portrayal isn't explicit enough. This is a real sickness as we move closer to pure pornography in the name of "realism." Of course Lancaster is "macho" as were men for centuries as a necessity. ANY movie should be judged on TWO BASIC THINGS. Was the acting good in the setting, and was it true to its time in story and presentation (given dramatic license). If these are true than it is somewhere from excellent to great. This film is both, most especially in the action between Sinatra and Borgnine. If you find this film "unacceptable" then you are doomed to miss many of the greatest films, and deserve pity for your ignorance and shallow understanding. Why four stars--it is VERY fine, but not quite great (watch 12 Angry Men and others). Of course, fantasy (Wizard of OZ, Disney cartoons, etc.) have a different standard--but that is another story.
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2.0 out of 5 stars "A man don't go his own way, he's nothing.", March 8 2003
This review is from: From Here to Eternity (Bilingual) (DVD)
Fred Zinnemann's "From Here to Eternity" simply has not aged well. It's place in cinematic history remains secure: Frank Sinatra's Oscar, Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr embracing in the surf, and the Oscar for Best Picture. Yet, what was considered an adult film back in 1953 plays like a run-of-the-mill soap opera in the present day.
As Sergeant Warden (Lancaster) and Karen Holmes (Kerr), the wife of his superior, start to fall in love, Private Prewitt (Montgomery Clift) is trying to find a way to avoid participating in his unit's boxing championship. Prewitt finds support from his friend Maggio (Sinatra) who tries to protect him from the pressures around him and finds love with Lorene (Donna Reed), a "working girl" who has temporarily relocated to Hawaii. Into the mix is thrown a sadistic warden played by Ernest Borgnine and the bombing of Pearl Harbor which plunges all involved straight into World War II.
"From Here to Eternity" is filled with one character after another who is desperate. All of them are either desperate for power, desperate for love, desperate for acceptance, or desperate to escape their past. Yet, the plotlines in the film do not produce the same emotional jolt it did five decades ago. Extramarital affairs, bullying authority figures, and fallen women are all topics on trivial daytime television shows today. These mature themes just do not hold your interest anymore when looked at through the veil of time. When this aspect of the film is removed, what is left is just a routine "day-in-the-lives" story.
Yet the film still has many things going for it. All of the performances are fine: Sinatra reminds viewers just how talented an actor he was in years past, the chemistry between Lancaster and Kerr is still electric, and Clift turns in another low-key but effective performance. And even though it's legacy may be slightly diminished, "From Here to Eternity" will always be fondly remembered as the film that more than any other made making out at the beach fashionable.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A classic, yes, but with holes and a bit slow, Jan. 25 2003
This review is from: From Here to Eternity (Bilingual) (DVD)
Undoubtedly considered a classic, this movie won 8 Oscars in 1953, including best film. I enjoyed it, but it isn't a movie that I think I would want to own.
This movie is actually a little difficult to summarize because it follows two stories. Though the focus is on Private Prewitt (Montgomery Clift), it also follows stories in the lives of his friend Maggio (Frank Sinatra) and Sergeant Warden (Burt Lancaster), one of his commanding officers.
The movie takes place in Hawaii just prior to and including the attack at Pearl Harbor. The basic idea is that Private Prewitt has an iron will and refuses to be broken by his captain, Captain Holmes (Philip Ober), who wants him to box for his company even though Prewitt has given it up after having blinded a sparring partner. I never really understood why Prewitt switched into G Company from the bugle corps, but he does and that is where the movie starts. Prewitt makes friends with Maggio, another private, but is constantly ridden by the other boxers in the company who are all sergeants because they box and want him to help their team win a tournament. Though he never really cracks from their 'Treatment', he does break down at one point and box with one of the other boxers in the company, showing that he can hold his own.
Prewitt's contribution to the movie is his love affair with an escort, Lorene (Donna Reed). Being the hard-nosed soldier he is, we explore his relationship as he falls in love but eventually leaves Lorene - against her wishes - to return to his company on the night of December 7, 1941. On his way he is mistaken for an intruder and shot (he had been AWOL for several days after being wounded in a knife fight in which one of the movie's antagonists was killed to avenge the death of his friend Maggio).
The other love story plays out between Sergeant Warden and Karen Holmes (Deborah Kerr) who is the wife of Sergeant Warden's company commander, Captain Holmes. Captain Holmes has been cheating on his wife since almost the beginning of their marriage and his cheating and drunkenness eventually led her to lose her child and her ability to have more children. She never forgave him (not that I blame her) and has since had numerous affairs with other men. Sergeant Warden falls for her and they have an affair, but in the end he is unwilling to try for a promotion to an officer which is what she wants (symbolic of his love for the military I guess), so their love affair ends. Also, Captain Holmes is eventually forced to resign for his poor command of his company and it seems implied that Captain Holmes and Karen get a divorce, but we are unsure.
The final scene is Karen Holmes and Lorene sailing away from Hawaii. They just happen to be next to each other on the boat and the strike up a conversation. But of them are leaving their loves in Hawaii, likely never to return.
My Comments:
I'm not sure I like the format of the movie in that it doesn't really follow one character but instead follows two love stories. But, that is kind of a minor point. I did like the fact that the 'good guys', Maggio and Prewitt, both end up dying and the love affairs don't work out. You don't usually find that in movies. It is an interesting twist to a love story that makes the story more believable because it isn't a fairy tale.
The storyline isn't entirely perfect. Maggio's drunken rage seems to come from nowhere and, at best, is poorly set up. Then, when he escapes and dies afterward you are left thinking how bizarre the whole situation is. Sinatra was good in the role, he just didn't have much help from the story line.
Also, Burt Lancaster seemed like a carryover from an earlier era when men were supposed to be 'men'. Everything he did he did as though he were a hero poised to fight or come save the day (this is especially apparent in the 'famous' beach love scene). I liked that we explored his relationship and that he didn't always have the answers, but there is just something about his portrayal of the role that makes you think he is an actor trying to act rather than a soldier.
And then there's Donna Reed. I wasn't convinced by her role. Maybe the intent was to show that she was kind of a good girl that just wanted money, but when she breaks out into her spiel about being 'proper', I can't help but think that someone was trying to make a point. She was my least favorite of all of the characters.
Overall, the movie was entertaining, though slow at times. The story didn't make perfect sense, but life rarely does, so why should the story be any different. Some of the acting was forced, but overall it was pretty good. Montgomery Clift was particularly good in his role. If you enjoy classic films, you would probably enjoy this one.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The real love story - a man and the army, Dec 13 2002
Desiree Koh (Chicago, Illinois, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: From Here to Eternity (VHS Tape)
My favorite scene in this movie isn't the famous Burt Lancaster (Sgt. Warden) - Deborah Kerr (Karen Holmes) beach romp, but that of Montgomery Clift's Private Robert E. Lee Prewitt silhouette walking alone across the barracks, sticking out sorely among the unity of soldiers marching by. I sometimes wonder, if Clift had died suddenly as his peer James Dean had, would he have achieved similar heights of pop culture iconoclasm? Clift once again plays the tortured young man with an honor system established by his own rules, a melancholy misfit who shuffles through the movie a little hunched, one hand in pocket as if to hide something of himself from the world. Although Prew won't box on the company team because he swore he won't get back in the ring, after accidentally blinding a sparring partner, he will seek revenge tragically for his "buddy boy" Private Maggio (Frank Sinatra).
In the "ah-cen-chu-ate the positive" post-World War II era in which the movie was filmed, it is the soldiers who takes his orders and does his job well, and by the book, that remains standing tall. Here, it's Sgt. Warden, tall and handsome, a hardened soldier on the outside to protect his innermost sensitivity. There is only one way to interpret honor, and that is by the Army's terms.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone has dreams, Oct. 10 2002
Jeffrey Leeper "kem2070" (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: From Here to Eternity (VHS Tape)
This is a great movie, and it is even greater after reading the back of the box. According to the box, many of the actors in this film were not the first choice. For instance, the studio didn't think Sinatra could handle a non-singing role, yet he got the part and won the 1958 "Best Supporting Actor" Oscar for his performance. The box also mentions that George Reeves (the old Superman from television) was in the film, but was cut because audiences kept referring to him as Superman. The back of the box has some interesting reading.
The movie is set in Hawaii, just before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Each character has his or her own dreams and goals, and these dreams butt into other people's dreams. For instance, the captain wants a championship boxing team, but the best boxer in the company doesn't want to fight. The captain and the boxer then begin the long battle of wills to see who has the greater claim.
With the attack on Pearl Harbor, we learn that all these goals must be put aside for the greater good. We can not sacrifice the whole for the individual. Stepping outside of the group has dire consequences as Montgomery Clift's character shows us.
I would highly recommend seeing this movie.
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5.0 out of 5 stars 6 great stars in a 5 star movie, Sept. 29 2002
This review is from: From Here to Eternity (Bilingual) (DVD)
This wonderful movie was based on a novel by James Jones,which was so controversial for it's time that it had to be toned down.
It was a harsh look at military life in the days shortly before the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The story revolves around 5 main characters, who live in and around the base at Pearl Harbor. Robert E. Lee Prewitt ("Prew") played by Montgomery Clift is a boxing champion, transfered to the base on the whim of the Captain. But "Prew" refuses to fight anymore because of an unfortunate incident and he pays the price for his refusal. His buddy "Maggio" played by Frank Sinatra is scrappy and ill fated. "Lorena"(Alma) played by Donna Reed is the girl "Prew" falls for. She's a "working girl" but forms a deep attachment to him. Sargent Warden who is played powerfully by Burt Lancaster, is always looking out for his men, but has an affair with his Captains wife, Karen Holmes played by Deborah Kerr. Karen by the way is no stranger to stepping out on her husband. It is in this film that we see the famous love scene on the beach with them.
"Prew" and "Maggio" are both treated indecently by the military but to Prew the army is his home and he sticks by his loyalties.
There's another character that needs to be mentioned here and that is "Fatso". Played brillantly by Ernest Borgnine. He is the guard in stockade and is brutal in his treatmentof the G.I.s.
The story draws you into to the lives of these characters and culminates with the attack on the Pearl Harbor base. It was directed by Fred Zinnemann, shot in Black and White, in Hawaii. It won 8 Academy Awards including Best Picture(1953) Best B&W cinematography, and both Frank Sinatra and Donna Reed won Best Supporting that year.
The DVD is a GOOD transfer. There are though some spots where it's a little grainy but this does not take away from the enjoyment of this film. It only ocassionally reminds us that this IS a film that was made 50 years ago but is still one of the finest ever. The sound is great, the full screen, is the original theatrical presentation.
If your looking for extras there are several goodies with this DVD. My favorite was the interviews with Fred Zinnemann, we get to see a little of his personal home movies made during the shooting of this film (and in COLOR!). I also enjoyed seeing the theatrical trailers for this and The Guns Of Navarrone, and The Bridge on The River Kwai which are included.
This is one of those movies where you just don't want it to end!
so kick back and enjoy.....Laurie
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From Here to Eternity (Bilingual)
From Here to Eternity (Bilingual) by Fred Zinnemann (DVD - 2001)
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