79 of 82 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
From Here To Eternity is probably best remembered for the famous beach love scene of Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr, but there's a lot more to this legendary film. It tells the story of the lives and relationships of several characters in the time leading up to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. The film is well cast. Lancaster gives a strong performance as the tough sergeant in love with his superior's wife, and Kerr is equally fine as the frustrated wife who has become famous for her dalliances. Frank Sinatra gives a charismatic performance as Maggio, the soldier with a love of drinking who gets himself into trouble. Donna Reed convincingly plays a "toned-down" prostitute who doesn't want to fall in love with a soldier, but does. The best performance is given by Montgomery Clift as the soldier Reed loves, a bugler and former boxer who critically injured a man in a fight and doesn't want to step back in the ring. Clift was an actor capable of digging deep into his characters, and unfortunately, he seems not to be as well known today as others from his time. The dialogue is sharp and mature, the attack scenes are excellent, and there are a number of dramatic, memorable moments in this film. Watch it for the beach scene, for Clift's superlative performance, and for all the qualities one would expect in a top notch film from Hollywood's Golden Era.
178 of 205 people found the following review helpful
on October 21, 2001
Now pay attention, widescreen DVD fans (I am among them)...!
Do not go looking for widescreen format before 1954, because with a couple of exceptions (see "sir-critic" below), they don't exist. One must be a student of history to some extent as a classic movie fan: when collecting a video library, know your format history; the key year is 1954. (Interestingly, it is the same key year for stereo music recordings, at least in the Classical world.) Also remember that a post-1954 movie is not necessarily a widescreen film, either, especially in the first few years. (See my review of "Moonstruck" for more aspect ratio commentary that you'll find very interesting, if this one is interesting to you. I ranted about its full-frame release and found out that I didn't know what I was talking about, more or less.)
"From Here to Eternity" is a great classic film that was shot and originally released in 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Like many, many other pre-1954 movies, this film was probably re-released several times in theaters with a "widescreen" format, but they just lopped off the top and bottom of the picture for the release. This was a grotesque practice, butchering many fine films and ruining the painstaking framing of shots by the cinematographer. You don't want a widescreen version of "From Here to Eternity", because it's butchered, I mean, ALTERED.
The important thing for DVD collectors / film buffs is ORIGINAL Theatrical Release Format, i.e., what the director and cinematographer intended you to see. The video release companies should be heavily encouraged by us to provide this information on the DVD and VHS boxes, so that we know a film's true original aspect ratio, and whether the particular edition is or is not altered, I mean, BUTCHERED.
Why is the television screen a 1.33:1 aspect ratio? Because movies' ratios were 1.33:1. TV programs and movies were filmed with the same cameras and film. By the early '50s, TV was becoming so important that film studios needed a new hook to keep people coming to the theaters, so Cinemascope and others were born to amaze audiences. Try to imagine seeing a 2.55:1 Cinemascope picture in the theater when all you've ever seen up to then was 1.33:1 films and TV. WOW!! THAT would keep you coming back to the cinema! Later cinematic hooks would be in sound, still more or less unachievable at home -- remember Surround Sound's forerunner, "Sensurround" (used for "Midway" and "Earthquake")?
Remember film fans, you might have to do a little research on a given movie before assuming that a video release is not the true format.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2005
I never got around to watching this film in its entirety until last year; growing up, mum and dad always watched b&w films which I hated, in my youthful ignorance, but this one, I can see exactly why they loved it.
It's a seamless movie from beginning to end, and although fans of the book (I haven't read it) deride it for not having been faithful enough to the core of the book, I think it stands alone as a monumental piece of cinema; one that couldn't be remade today with any living actor.
Montgomery Clift and Burt Lancaster as the dual-leads both hearken to different schools of acting; Clift as a method actor, and Lancaster as a genuine tough guy (a-la Cagney), but the casting director knew what he/she was doing. Sinatra, more known for his singing career (and a few movie musicals["Anchors Away"]) pulled this role out of his hat, and deservedly picked up an oscar. Deborah Kerr and Donna Reed also hold their own, but the real killer in this film isn't the acting or the scenery--it's the dialogue.
I recommend it to any writer, as a primer in how to write a classy, lean script that never wastes a line.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2001
The first widescreen film was "The Robe," released in
September 1953. Every film prior to that, including
"From Here to Eternity," was shot in Academy Ratio, i.e.
fullscreen. So quit yer complainin'!
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2005
The first time I saw this movie it immediately went on my top five list of favorite classics. I was highly impressed with the acting, especially Montgomery Clift and Frank Sinatra. Frank Sinatra truly deserved the Academy Award he received as the hilarious yet tragic soldier, Maggio. Donna Reed received an Academy Award, too, for her fabulous portrayal as a dance hall girl who wishes to lead a proper life back home in Oregon when she has saved a large bag of money. Ernest Borgnine is excellent as the vicious James "Fatso" Judson, the army stockade leader. The ending of the movie is so sad it makes me feel like crying sometimes!I can't recommend this film enough!
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
From Here To Eternity is an outstanding adaption of the popular James Jones novel. It's an extremely romantic film that deals with the lives and loves of several soldiers just before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Even if you've never seen the film, you've probably seen the famous "beach scene" between Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster. It is considered one of the most romantic movie scenes ever, and it certainly deserves that title! Deborah Kerr gives what many consider her finest performance as Karen, the woman whose marriage has had no meaning to her for a very long time. She frequently has scandalous affairs with the men in her husband's company. This was a giant leap for her, since before that time, Kerr's career had been built on playing prim, no-nonsense English ladies. This is a heart-wrenching movie, and it should be seen by all!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
"I never knew it would be like that." is what Deborah Kerr says of her torrid affair with muscular Burt Lancaster. Who can forget that unforgettable scene on the beach in Hawaii where Burt and Deborah are locked in a passionate embrace. No nudity or foul language but so much more erotic and the meaning is unmistakable. A classic. They don't make 'em like that anymore!
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2006
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Actually, it's an urban legend of sorts that George Reeves's role in FROM HERE TO ETERNITY was cut down due to his sudden popularity as Superman. The source of this tale is Jack Larson, who starred with Reeves as Jimmy Olsen on the Superman show. He saw the film (FHTE) the day it opened and remembers audience members calling out "There's Superman." The next time he saw the film, he says Reeves's role had been severely cut.
The problem with this is manifold. First, Jack's next viewing of the film, as he told me personally, was some twenty-five years later. I'm convinced that his memory of what he'd seen in that initial viewing had "expanded" over the years, particularly in light of the impact of Superman typecasting
on Reeves's career and life. Secondly, Daniel Taradash's first-draft screenplay, and every draft thereafter, contains exactly the scenes for Reeves's character that are in the film as released and as now seen, and not one scene more nor less. Taradash told me personally that he did not write a single scene for Reeves's character that was not in the final release
print or in subsequent video releases. Thirdly, director Fred Zinneman told me personally that not only was not one of Reeves's scenes cut from the film, but that not one frame of the film was cut after the first audience screenings. He was at the same viewing that Jack Larson attended and, while he allowed as that there might have been some muttered reference to Superman from audience members, he does not remember any and that in any case, there was no impact whatsoever on the film as released, nor even any discussion of the matter. He said the video release of the film is identical to the original theatrical release and that not one frame of Reeves's scenes was cut for any such reason. Fourthly, the editor of the film and its assistant director also confirmed and concurred with the statements of Taradash and Zinneman. Fifthly, several of the cast members, including Frank Sinatra and Claude Akins, assured me they knew of no such reduction in Reeves's screen
time for any reason.
Part of the problem may stem from the fact that Sgt. Maylon Stark, Reeves's character, is a vastly more important character in the novel of FROM HERE TO ETERNITY. Scores of characters from that huge book were either trimmed or eliminated. Sgt. Stark remained, but in a smallish way, in the film. But it was a small part in the first place, long before George Reeves was cast. It was never reduced further, due to his Superman fame or for any other reason.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2004
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.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2006
Fred Zinnemann's "From Here to Eternity" and David Lean's "The Bridge on the River Kwai" have one thing in common: a good war story about people with whom we are extremely identified and concerned...
It may seem strange to consider "From Here to Eternity" as a war film, since a great part of it deals with the military life in a peacetime army... But war is very important to this motion picture... The December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is its definite point, its explosive end, the ruthless attack on U.S. military mind...
The attack is one of the great sequences in War Films... The sound of the Japanese planes is heard, then there are explosions, and confused soldiers rising from their early breakfast... The Japanese Bombers dive and sweep firing with machine-guns the courtyard and its large buildings, while men run in every direction...
When a non-fighting companion refuses to pass out arms to his pals, the soldiers break down the door of the ammunition room, take the machine guns to the roof and fire to the flying planes...
When they succeed in hitting one plane they are delighted by the flavor of war...
With this powerful scene all the connecting parts that hold together the characters of the story are permanently altered... The great event reduces the characters' pains and passions... World War II is a force that modified everything... War, in this film, is bigger than people...
The highlights of the film are many, but let me mention the best: Clift playing a flamboyant blues in a local beer joint... The blues came rushing out, expelled from his body by the strength of his feelings; the romantic-erotic scene between Lancaster and Kerr on a deserted beach; Clift playing "Taps" and his tears running down his face...
Burt Lancaster portrays the tough 'efficient' sergeant who knows how to bend the rules without breaking them... He guides and supports his 'philander' pretentious Captain... He proves himself as an inspiring leader of men when the barracks were under attack...
Montgomery Clift gives, perhaps, the best performance of his career as the bugler-boxer soldier, whose convictions are stronger than 'The Treatment.'
Deborah Kerr plays the cool and reserved young lady stimulating her feelings of love in different ways...
Frank Sinatra is terrific in his rebellious role of Angelo Maggio... He gives a deep and intense characterization, winning an Academy Award...
Donna Reed is excellent as the charming social woman of the evening...
Winner of eight Academy Awards, "From Here to Eternity" is a clear indicative of how war comes into collision with the destinies of people, throwing them violently into a turbulent and dangerous situation...