From Here to Eternity

Movie Information

In Brief: I do not question the classic — even iconic — status of Fred Zinnemann's From Here to Eternity (1953). It's a solidly made picture, and the image of Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr kissing in the surf is one of cinema's most enduring (and most parodied). The performances are excellent across the board, and it's certainly interesting to see Donna Reed as a "social club" hostess (read: hooker) with a heart of some metal other than gold. The story — dramas, romances and conflicts taking place at Pearl Harbor just before until just after Dec. 7, 1941 — is fairly compelling, too. But I freely admit it's a film I've never warmed to very much. I think it just has a little too much trademark Fred Zinnemann "importance" to suit me. Still, yes, it's a classic.
Genre: Drama
Director: Fred Zinnemann
Starring: Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed, Frank Sinatra
Rated: NR



To be quite blunt about it, I’ve said about all I have to say about From Here to Eternity. On the one hand, it seems remarkable that only the previous year Zinnemann had made the beautifully straightforward and unpretentious High Noon, but then again High Noon was out of keeping with Zinnemann’s usual output. Though he didn’t make it into Andrew Sarris’ landmark book The American Cinema: Directors and Directions (1968), Zinnemann has always seemed to me to perfectly fit into the Sarris category of “Strained Seriousness.” That’s to say he seems to try altogether too hard to make important movies that are rarely more than midcult — in other words, Oscar-bait that offers the illusion of being heavier than it is. That’s kind of how I feel about From Here to Eternity. And, yes, I am well aware that that’s a minority opinion.

The Hendersonville Film Society will show From Here to Eternity Sunday, Aug. 30, at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing Retirement Community (behind Epic Cinemas), 333 Thompson St., Hendersonville.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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