When the movie From Here to Eternity is mentioned, people usually think of that famed adulterous kiss Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr share on the beach, the waves brushing up against them to cool their burning passion. But there's more to this Best Picture winner than the celebrated lip lock.
Set in Hawaii during the months leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor, Pvt. Robert E. Lee Prewitt (Montgomery Clift) is transferred to Schofield Barracks. At his previous post Prewitt was a bugler and the unit's top boxer, the latter makes Capt. Dana Holmes (Philip Ober) constantly tell Prewitt to join the boxing team and he refuses. First Sgt. Milton Warden (Lancaster) suggests to make life difficult for Prewitt in order for him to change his mind. As the other soldiers make his life a living hell, the only soldier that supports Prewitt is his friend Pvt. Angelo Maggio (Frank Sinatra).
As all of this is happening, Warden begins an affair with Holmes' wife Karen (Kerr) who's unhappy with her marriage. The relationship goes well until Karen asks Warden to apply for officer training; problem is Warden doesn't want to be an officer.
Another thing that From Here to Eternity is famous for is the rumor that Frank Sinatra called upon the Mafia to get into the movie. Yes, he desperately wanted the role, but he didn't go that far to get it. As most people know, author Mario Puzo used that rumor for his novel The Godfather for the character of Johnny Fontane. And Sinatra was not too pleased about that.
There's one scene in the movie, I'll admit, that I got teary-eyed over. Maggio had been beaten to death, and a mourning Prewitt plays a sorrowful "Taps". The scene cuts from him to the other soldiers listening feeling remorseful for the soldier they once abused. It goes back to Prewitt with tears running down his face. When he finishes playing, he just walks away without saying a thing. Heartbreaking.
My Rating: *****