Starring: Montgomery Clift, Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr
Director: Fred Zinnemann
Running Time: 118 mins
From Here To Eternity is an American film about a private who suffers cruel punishment for insubordination to his bully of a captain, while the captain’s wife and second-in-command fall in love in secret on a military base in Hawaii in 1941.
This is a wonderful film, with genuine, engrossing drama and romance with the lead-up to the USA’s involvement in World War Two as the backdrop. Complete with a stunning all-star cast who are fantastic from start to finish, From Here To Eternity grabs you right from the beginning, telling a beautiful and moving tale of personal determination and faith in the face of opposition, all in brilliantly cinematic fashion that cements it as a true classic of film.
There’s so much that I loved about this film, but it’s hard to look past the lead performances. First off, having a cast that includes Montgomery Clift, Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed and Frank Sinatra all in one is heaven enough, but the way that the film manages to bring all those big screen personalities together into one story is really impressive.
All five of the film’s big names are great throughout, with both Clift and Lancaster’s staunch and immensely likable performances winning you over right from the start, while Kerr and Reed impress with far more presence and depth than is often afforded to a typical love interest. And of course, offering up a lot of the film’s comic relief is Frank Sinatra, who is a whole lot of fun to watch, and yet he, too, brings about genuine drama and character depth to the story.
As a result, you’ve got five major personalities to follow throughout, and that’s often recipe for a messy disaster when it comes to storytelling. In the case of From Here To Eternity, however, all of their different stories are weaved together in brilliant fashion, and although there are certainly imbalances at times, it’s a beautiful story that allows you to really connect with each of the leads as individuals, and yet be entirely engrossed in how their differing situations all come together in a story with ever heightening drama.
Romance of course forms a major part of the plot, with the relationships between Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr and Montgomery Clift and Donna Reed, respectively, proving a piece of the film’s emotional core. However, the story’s most striking element arguably comes in the form of the resistance and determination we see from both Lancaster and Clift’s characters as they struggle with their consciences under the direction of their camp captain.
While it’s not quite Full Metal Jacket, the film offers up an enthralling and often inspiring display of durability and morality, with Clift’s staunch resistance to the captain’s bullying and Lancaster’s moral dilemmas as he enters into a relationship with his superior’s long-suffering wife both proving elements that make for fascinating and moving watching throughout.
In the end, I really loved From Here To Eternity. A true classic of cinema that tells a wonderfully engrossing and moving story in enthralling fashion, all complete with five fantastic lead performances that make for a fun and powerful watch, and that’s why I’m giving it an 8.0 overall.