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Monday December 22, 2014
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From Here to Eternity

 

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If you think the "wave" is just a fan phenomenon at sporting events, you've obviously never seen Fred Zinnemann's 1953 star-laden classic From Here to Eternity. Based on the James Jones book and possessing a snarling screenplay by Daniel Taradash, Eternity weaves together the lives of four people stationed at Hawaii's Schofield air base in 1941, just before Pearl Harbor. Some people say this is Montgomery Clift's best performance. Some people say it's Burt Lancaster's best role. Shoot, Frank Sinatra won a best-supporting-actor Oscar for his portrayal of the wisecracking, impishly urban Private Maggio. And let's not forget the women. The matronly Donna Reed here plays an outcast prostitute, Lorene, who frequents a place called the New Congress Club. And then there's Deborah Kerr as Karen, the scorchingly beautiful wife of the company commander whose penchant for leaving her alone has left her bitter and icy.

The story sets up right away with Clift's Private Prewitt showing up late to the base, where Maggio recognizes him as a famous boxer and legendary bugler. Since this regiment is famous for its boxing team, the troops are quite upset at Prewitt's refusal to box. He's hounded and hassled by everyone except Maggio and Lorene. While Prewitt endures unwanted attention, Deborah Kerr suffers from an opposite fate: her husband leaves her alone on the base, where she's hounded by Lancaster's Sergeant Warden.

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