FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953) B/W 118m dir: Fred Zinnemann
w/Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, Montgomery Clift, Frank Sinatra, Donna Reed, Ernest Borgnine, Jack Warden, Philip Ober, Mickey Shaughnessy, Harry Bellaver
A tight, tough screenplay, sensitive directing, and superb acting characterize this adaptation of the James Jones novel set in Hawaii in the months before Pearl Harbor. One of the best American films of the 1950s.
From The Movie Guide: "FROM HERE TO ETERNITY was an uphill battle all the way for director Zinnemann. Most of his war was with Columbia's dictator, Harry Cohn, who had purchased the novel for $82,000 and was determined to retain its seamy story, raw language, and violence, rejecting one adaptation after another. The Army was not happy with Jones's fierce indictment of its system and refused to allow the use of Schofield Barracks unless some major concessions were made. One chief point involved the role of Captain Holmes. In the novel he gets away with everything and is even promoted to major, but in the film he is cashiered for his cruelty and malfeasance.
"The featured roles were also difficult to cast under Cohn's capricious supervision. Zinnemann had to fight to cast Clift, who gave one of his greatest performances; ditto Sinatra, whose faltering career received a much-needed boost here. He had to beg Cohn for the part of Maggio and ended up playing it for practically nothing (the episode was exaggerated and fictionalized by Mario Puzo in The Godfather). Joan Crawford was to have played the straying wife, but the icy-turned-passionate Kerr helped keep the famous lovemaking scene on the beach more realistic and low-key. Reed's part, on the other hand, was softened somewhat, her occupation changed from prostitute to 'hostess.'"
FROM HERE TO ETERNITY won eight Oscars: Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actor (Sinatra), Supporting Actress (Reed), Adapted Screenplay (Daniel Taradash), Cinematography (Burnett Guffey), Editing (William Lyon), and Sound (John P. Livadary). It was also nominated for Best Actor (Clift, Lancaster), Actress (Kerr), Score (Morris Stoloff, George Duning), and Costume Design (Jean Louis).