|A sweaty Montgomery Clift digs for his dinner.|
Welcome to the very first "Holy Moly Discovery" post! I created this tag line to introduce you to films that have really had an OMG!-impact on me. The first of which is one of the films I watched last week: From Here To Eternity (1953). Can I just say how much of a fool I was to have waited so long to watch this film?! Before having seen it in its entirety I had seen bits and pieces of it when it aired on TCM and other local classic movie channels, not to mention the countless times I've seen the kiss-on-the-beach scene played over and over again in Oscar-like movie montages.
From Here To Eternity won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1953 and for very good reason. But, because I hadn't seen the whole film, I didn't know if that award was justifiable yet. I finally caved and bought the DVD off of Amazon a couple weeks ago because it was super-cheap and I was in the mood for a good WWII film. I didn't watch it right away once it arrived though because I was still hesitant about how much I'd actually like it. Does that happen to you sometimes? You purchase a movie and then just leave it sitting unloved on your shelf for the longest time because you're almost afraid to watch it? I almost wish someone had slapped me so that I would have seen it earlier. Sometimes I'm a huge fool.
This film was blessed with an exceptionally talented cast: Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr, Frank Sinatra, Donna Reed, and Ernest Borgnine (whom I've never hated so much!). From Here To Eternity takes place in Hawaii during the months leading up to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. One of my favourite scenes in the film took place towards the end of the picture when Lancaster's Sgt Warden takes a phone call whilst standing in front of his wall calendar. The date on the calendar reads December 6th. Ooooh! Talk about setting the mood.
|Burt Lancaster as Sgt. Milton Warden|
There are a few important story lines in this film and each of them eventually intertwines with the others. The film is very easy to follow despite the sheer number of characters in it, and each story proves to be extremely enjoyable to watch unfold. I experienced so many different emotions whilst watching this film: hatred, loneliness, joy, utter helplessness, doom, sorrow, and hope. I can't remember the last time I grew so invested in a film's ending as I did with From Here To Eternity's. I found myself really caring about these characters - especially Clift's emotionally damaged Pvt Robert E. Lee Prewitt and Sinatra's feisty Pvt Angelo Maggio.
From Here To Eternity starts off nicely, introducing the audience to army life and all it entails. How do soldiers handle the ins and outs of the military and how does fighting for their country affect them? As the film progresses and the plot thickens, we grow to understand each character's motives and wants and needs and accept them (or not) for who they are. The climax of the film occurs in the last 20 minutes or so - blink and you'll miss it, so fast and manic it is, tearing your emotions to pieces.
I feel like this film deserves a second watch (and a third, and a fourth, fifth and sixth). I'm really glad I finally decided to sit down and watch this movie from beginning to end. Really. I loved every minute of it and I'm sure you will to.
If you've seen From Here To Eternity, let me know how you feel about it in the comments section below!