Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Overlooked Movies: From Here to Eternity

Overlooked?  A movie that won best picture and whose director also got an Oscar?  A movie with two Oscar-winning performances and a couple of other nominees?  I think so, in the same way that James Jones, the author of the novel it's based on is pretty much forgotten today.  Jones was really big in the '50s, though, and so were movies based on his novels.  Especially this one.  Probably anybody around me age remembers seeing From Here to Eternity in the theater and remembers especially the beach scene with Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr, one of the most famous and most parodied movie scenes of the era.

There's a lot more to the movie than that, though.  Montgomery Clift is Prewitt, who falls for a prostitute (Donna Reed). Ernest Borgnine is vicious bully who has it in for Maggio (Frank Sinatra, who won an Oscar).  Prewitt's a boxer who refuses to box for reasons of his own, though his commanding officer schemes to get him back in the ring.  All this happens in the days just before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which occurs near the end of the film.

Like Some Came Running, this movie tells you a lot about the attitudes of the 1950s.  In some ways, it's almost a quintessential movie of its era.  If you haven't seen it, give it a shot.  For us old folks, it's a shot of nostalgia that's hard to beat.  For the whippersnappers, it's a time capsule that brings the '50s to life (even if it's set in the '40s).


Deb said...

One of the greats--and I never miss a chance to see Amy movie featuring Deborah Kerr, for whom my parents named me.

James Jones's daughter wrote a semi-autobiographical novel, A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries. It was made into a pretty good movie starring, I believe, Nick Nolte, in the James Jones role. Now that is truly a forgotten movie.

Deb said...

any, not Amy.

/Stupid auto-correct!

Anonymous said...

I don't see how you can call this forgotten, though I guess I'm going to contradict myself by saying I'd forgotten that Donna Reed won an Oscar for this one too.

Deb, re your Deborah Kerr comment I can still remember going to see THE GYPSY MOTHS with her and Burt Lancaster together again, in 1969.

At one key point a voice rang out across the theater, saying, "Deborah Kerr naked! I'm telling my mother."

Now that is a forgotten movie, Bill. Maybe another week?


Bill Crider said...

I haven't seen that one, Jeff, but I read the book many long years ago. Forgotten book, forgotten writer (James Drought).

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised you missed it. Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, Gene Hackman, Scott Wilson (fresh from IN COLD BLOOD, still around these days in THE WALKING DEAD), William Windom, Bonnie Bedelia.

Despite its failure John Frankenheimer called it his favorite among his films. It was filmed in Kansas.


Deb said...

My mother was so shocked when Julie Andrews appeared topless in "SOB," I could never tell her about Deborah Kerr in "The Gypsy Moths," it would be too crushing--even 40 plus years on.

Bud said...

Everybody was good in this one, but, for me, Borgnine & Reed, were the headliners, acting-wise.

Cap'n Bob said...

My first wife was named after Donna Reed's character, Lorene.