From Here to Eternity, 1953
Directed by Fred Zinneman
Nominated for 13 Oscars, Won 8
Wins Include: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Writing (Screenplay), Best Cinematography (Black and White), Best Sound Recording, Best Film Editing
This film is about the romantic and personal entanglements of various soldiers stationed in Hawaii. Beginning with Prewitt, who had requested to transfer, and ended up in Hawaii, but finds out Captain Holmes had heard about his great boxing skills and wants him on the company team. Prewitt had given up boxing a year ago, and is tormented by various peer soldiers and his superiors when he refused to join the team. As well, Sergeant Warden has started a romance with the captain's wife, who is in an extremely rocky marriage. Not to mention the weekends off the base where Prew finds a woman he loves, all while the attack on Pearl Harbour is looming in the very near future.
I'm not sure why, but I had very little patience for this film. Maybe because there's an exorbitant amount of war/army films that have won Best Picture and I've seen several recently (Patton, The English Patient, etc). Or maybe because I just could care less about everyone's "problems" in this film.
The entanglements came off very melodramatically, and many of the characters were extremely unsympathetic to boot. Prewitt is headstrong and stubborn, as well as most people around him. Prewitt is constantly getting picked up by his superiors and fellow soldiers because he won't join their boxing team. And Prewitt takes a very "I won't give them the satisfaction" attitude towards the abuse. So when he does start to show he weary he is, I can't really feel sorry for him. Especially with how the film ended. As well, all the romantic storylines felt very contrived, and all the woman "troubled". Maybe because it's the 50's but it's tiring always having the love interests being being reluctant about getting together with the man, or blaming the man for not actually wanting to be with her, or saying "don't go do that brave thing! stay and marry me!". This is also in part the portrayal of the men, who are all so strong and stubborn but "romantic". I guess I just don't buy into this thing of the woman being "weak" and the men "strong".
But other than my feminist views of 50's war films, the acting was alright. This had 5 of it's actors up, and 2 of them won (for Supporting Actor and Actress). Frank Sintra was indeed a standout of the film, and I don't think really anyone else compared. His story line was also probably the most interesting (maybe because it didn't revolve around getting together with a girl?). But overall, Sintra was a great choice for the role and he deservedly won for it. Burt Lancaster was also solid, but I felt Montgomery Cliff (Prewitt) was just trying way too hard (Also he looks SO much like Tom Cruise! Just me?) and it came off a little blah, to me anyway.
I find the movie quite dull most of the way through. It moved quickly for not really having a plot, like, at all. And the attack on Pearl Harbor scenes were by far the most interesting thing about the film, and the most well done.
Overall, I wasn't a huge fan of this. Like I mentioned, I just seemed to have very little patience for it and the characters and their circumstances. Like, seriously, Prewitt is able to leave the base one of his first weekends in Hawaii and meets Lorene (and admittedly really connects with her.. though he does also acost a man she's talking with after he left her for a moment) and when he doesn't come back until 6 weeks later, he still expects Lorene to be with him exclusively (which Lorene calls him out on but eventually does go to him). The men seem to all feel self important and all the women a bit cold but weak. I
Maybe it was just a bad day to watch this (this was my second attempt as I wasn't in the mood last week), or maybe I just really didn't like it, but this film didn't go over super well with me and is one I can't imagine I'll watch again in a while, despite some solid performances and a good battle scene.
Emotional Connection- 4/10
Overall Enjoyment- 5.5/10
Overall Package- 6/10