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. Winner of eight Oscars(r), including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting awards for Sinatra in a career-defining role and for Donna Reed as a not-so-wholesome club hostess.
Not much of a bonus package on the DVD, considering the film's classic status. The best is the audio commentary, which features Tim Zinnemann, the director's son (and a filmmaker in his own right), and Alvin Sargent, who connects with Fred Zinnemann in two unrelated ways: he wrote the Oscar-winning screenplay for Zinnemann's Julia
, yes, but years before that he was an obscure actor who had a couple of scenes in From Here to Eternity
. Their comments are pleasantly anecdotal, shedding insider light on the making of the film and Fred Zinnemann's meticulous approach. Fans of Montgomery Clift will be intrigued by the different, conflicting memories of that troubled actor. A making-of featurette is a bogus montage of very brief location footage, and patching together a few excerpts from an interview with Fred Zinnemann doesn't constitute much of an extra feature (why not include the entire interview?). The usual trailers and skeletal filmographies fill it out. --Robert Horton