The Dardos Awards

Last weeks I was honored to learn that Katie of Obscure Classics awarded Twenty Four Frames The Dardos Award. Thanks Katie!

 dardos1

The Dardos Award is given for recognition of cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values transmitted in the form of creative and original writing. These stamps were created with the intention of promoting fraternization between bloggers, a way of showing affection and gratitude for work that adds value to the Web.

 

Rules:

  1. Accept the award by posting it on your blog along with the name of the person that has granted the award and a link to his/her blog.
  2. Pass the award to another five blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgement, remembering to contact each of them to let them know they have been selected for this award.

 

That all said, I just want to say that there are so many quality blogs out there that it is really impossible to choose five without feeling like I am offending or thinking less of others.  To me the blog community is about sharing and communicating common interests and not a competition. I have learned from many and hopefully have informed a few.The five blogs selected are just a few of the many I enjoy.

 

Congratulations to the following:

 

Judy at Movie Classics 

R.D. Finch at The Movie Projector 

Alexander Coleman at Coleman’s Corner in Cinema 

Pete Emslie at The Cartoon Cave 

C.K. Dexter at Hollywood Dreamland

New Yorker Films Going out of Business

This is tragic.  New Yorker Films who helped introduce Bertolucci, Varda and Fassbinder to the American filmgoing audience is going out of business after 44 years. Their library of over 400 films consisting of works by Godard, Fellini, Bunuel and Almovodar will be auctioned off.  Owner Dan Talbot also ran what was one of the  best and now long gone film revival theaters  “The New Yorker”  located on Broadway and 88th Street. 

Attached is today’s article in The New York Times.

Experiment in Terror (1962) Blake Edwards

 exp-in-terror-still1   Blake Edwards is best known for the “Pink Panther” series and later on for a few hits in the 1980’s like “SOB”, “10” and “Victor, Victoria.” Edwards’ career however, started back to the 1940’s where he began as an actor, though not achieving much success at it. Looking at his credits in IMDB, I noticed he did appear in quite a few well known films like “The Best Years of Our Lives”, “They Were Expendable” and “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.” The roles were very small and if you blink your eyes, well, as they say, you would miss him.

    In the late forties Edward produced, co-produced and co-wrote two low budget westerns, “Panhandle” and “Stampede.” His last film as an actor was a 1948 flick called “Leather Gloves” whose only significance is that it was co-directed by Richard Quine. Edwards and Quine would go on to work on many projects together as co-writers or writer and director or any combination thereof. Their films include “Drive a Crooked Road”, “Operation Madball”, “My Sister Eileen”, “He Laughed Last” and “The Notorious Landlady.” Edwards work as a director began in the early 1950’s with Four Star Playhouse, a TV anthology series. His first feature film, “Bring Your Smile Along” was written by Edwards and Quine. His first significant film was “Mr. Corey” starring Tony Curtis and Martha Hyer. Though he continued to make films, Edwards big break came in 1958 with the private eyes series “Peter Gunn.” With its jazzy hip Henry Mancini theme song and noir like atmosphere, “Peter Gunn”, which only ran for two seasons, has long since developed a following. Edwards revived the character twice since then, in the 1967 feature film “Gunn” with Craig Stevens reviving his role as Gunn and again in 1989 with the made for TV film “Peter Gunn” with Pete Strauss in the lead role. exp-in-terror-insert

    Edwards’ first big screen hits were two military comedies, “The Perfect Furlough” with Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh and “Operation Petticoat” with Curtis again and Cary Grant. This was followed by “Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1961 and then in 1962 Edwards stepped back into the world of noir with “Experiment in Terror” starring Glenn Ford, not as a hip P.I. but as a straight and very square FBI agent. “Experiment in Terror” is based on a novel called “Operation Terror” written by the husband and wife team of Gordon Gordon and Mildred Gordon. They always signed their works as The Gordons. A few of their other novels have been adapted to the screen, most notably “Undercover Cat” which Disney turned into “That Darn Cat!” 

 

    Kelly Sherwood (Lee Remick) is a beautiful young bank teller who is accosted in her garage one night by an unseen asthmatic psycho (Ross Martin) who threatens to kill her and her teenage sister Toby (Stephanie Powers) if she does not steal $100,000 from the bank where she works. Kelly contacts the FBI however; the psychotic madman seems to know every step Kelly makes. FBI agent John Ripley (Glenn Ford) attempts to protect Kelly and her sister while trying to hunt down the psychopath though he has no leads to go on. Ripley working with a local police informant eventually identifies the man as Red Lynch (Ross Martin), a criminal who already has two murders to his credit. Soon after, in order to ensure Kelly goes through with the robbery Lynch kidnaps id sister Toby. It all comes to a climatic boil at the San Francisco Giant’s Candlestick Park in a game with the Dodgers. The film’s suspenseful ending is classic and one the more famous in cinema.

    “Experiment in Terror has a lot going for it, a menacing score from Henry Mancini, excellent noir like cinematography from Philip Lathrop especially in the beginning, which is one of the most menacing openings of any on film on celluloid. A wonderful performance from the beautiful and intelligent Lee Remick while Ross Martin is truly creepy as the sick Red Lynch and Glenn Ford gives it his stoic best. On the minus side, the film is a bit too long. Chopping off about 15 minutes would have tightened up the pace. Edwards though is known for his extended scenes, liking the action to play out. While this worked well in “The Pink Panther” series where it gave Peter Sellers plenty of space and time, here it feels like the pacing drags the film a bit. There is also a subplot involving an earlier victim of Lynch’s who comes to Ripley’s office saying a “friend” of hers is in trouble and would Ripley help. Soon after, Ripley and his partner go to the woman’s apartment, where they find her hanging upside down between a series of mannequins. I can see why Edwards would want to keep this scene in the film. While the scene is eerie and visually stunning, the entire sequence could have been removed without any damage to the overall story. experimentinterror-opening-credtyOther than the fact that this woman was an earlier victim of Lynch’s the only connection between her and Kelly Sherwood is a mysterious note containing the name Sherwood. It remains unclear how the dead woman knew Kelly’s name.  As mentioned Glenn Ford’s character is stoic, straight laced. There is no sign of any personal life nor does he ever show any interest in Kelly as a woman other than the fact that she is a victim that he has to protect. He comes across as a “just the facts” lawman as Sgt. Joe Friday used to say. Then again, no one in the film seems to have much of a love life except for teenage Toby who hangs out with her friends and has a boyfriend. While we never see or here anything about Ripley’s private life, Kelly, whose personal life we do see also seems to be lacking any sort of real relationship with a man, other than the psychopath Red Lynch, in her life. One co-worker who asks her out to dinner is quickly shrugged off with a “call me tomorrow.” True, Kelly does have other things on her mind right now than dinner with a man. You would think though that a drop dead beautiful woman like that would certainly show some signs of a man in her life now or at least in the past. Ross Martin as Red Lynch gives us a menacing vision of a cold psychotic evil criminal who has no problem with killing his victims if they threaten his life or his plans. Yet, there are two scenes in the films where Lynch, the cold-blooded killer, displays he has a heart or at least some feelings. First with his girlfriend, Lisa Soong (Anita Loo) whose son’s hip replacement operation Lynch pays for. The second incident is after kidnapping Toby, he tells her to remove her clothes. After stripping down to a bra and a half-slip, (he mails her outer garments to Kelly to prove he abducted her), Lynch begins to move toward her. Frightened she backs away, he keeps coming however, seeing how frightened she is he suddenly backs down, showing a momentary sign of sympathy, reducing the tension of a sexual attack. While this doesn’t make Lynch “a nice guy” it does provide some dimension to the role that otherwise would be lacking.  Martin, of course, in a few years would become better know as Artumus Gordon in the 1ate 1960’a hit TV Western “The Wild Wild West.”

    “Experiment in Terror” starts off as a sharp noir like thriller, all deep blacks and menacing lighting with extreme close ups of Lynch terrorizing Kelly, this sequence generates such an intense mood that manages to last throughout the rest of the film. While not a great film, Experiment in Terror” is certainly a worthy one to look out for.

Lee Remick: An Appreciation

lee-remick-portatit1

“I make movies for grownups.”  – Lee Remick 

 

    Lee Remick was a woman of deep sensuality, talent, elegance and on top of all that, a classic beauty.  She made her film debut in Elia Kazan’s underrated “A Face in the Crowd” portraying Betty Lou Fleckum, a sexy seductive seventeen year high school cheerleader, who is selected by “Lonesome” Rhodes (Andy Griffith) as the winner of a baton-twirling contest. Rhodes is so turned on by Betty Lou’s sensuality that they run off together and marry.  The following year Lee appeared in Martin Ritt’s “The Long Hot Summer” with Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward and Tony Francisosa, followed by “These Thousand Hills” and Otto Preminger’s excellent “Anatomy of a Murder” where she played the seductive trampy wife of Ben Gazarra who allegedly was raped by the man Gazarra murdered. Remick’s use of her natural eroticism to manipulate others is so straightforward she never allows the character to seem like a stereotypical Hollywood tramp but a full dimensional human being. 

  lee-remikc-a-face-in-the-crowd  The 1960’s got started with her second Kazan film, “Wild River” another underrated gem in which she co-starred with Montgomery Clift and gave what Richard Schickel says “may be her finest performance.”  In 1961, she played Temple Drake, her performance is the best thing, in Tony Richardson’s misfire “Sanctuary” based on two William Faulkner novels (Sanctuary and Requiem for a Nun).  Things improved in 1962 with the released of two Blake Edward’s directed films, the fine thriller “Experiment in Terror” and in what may be her most memorable role, that of the alcoholic wife in  “Days of Wine and Roses” for which she was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar. It is a harrowing performance that will stay with you long after the film is over. At this point in her career Lee should have been swimming right into the top-tier of female stars of the sixties however, a series of uneven choices in her following films would derail that trajectory.  Carol Reed’s “The Running Man”, a decent film did not find much of an audience. This was followed by her first comedy, “The Wheeler Dealers” with James Garner, a pleasant enough movie but nothing to write home about. “Baby, The Rain Must Fall” with Steve McQueen, “The Hallelujah Trail” with Burt Lancaster were moderately successful though neither were groundbreaking.

  lee-remick-phgtos2   In the mid 1060’s, Lee took off some time between films to appear in a couple of Broadway productions. first, the musical “Anyone Can Whistle”, which closed after one week. This was followed by “Wait Until Dark” a play written by Frederick Knott who previously authored “Dial M For Murder.” Directed by Arthur Penn, the play was a hit running for 11 months. In addition to Lee, the cast included Robert Duvall in the role of Harry Roat Jr., the leader of the drug dealers. Lee received wonderful reviews and a Tony nomination for her role as Susie Hendrix the blind heroine. According to Alexander Walker in his biography of Audrey Hepburn, he states that Warner Brothers purchased the rights to the play before it even opened on Broadway and that they were negotiating with Hepburn as early as mid 1965. The play did not open until February of 1966. Upon agreeing to do the role, Hepburn wanted it announced early to avoid accusations, which previously occurred when she did “My Fair Lady”, that she stole the role from the original Broadway actress.  lee-remikc-wait-until-dark-palybill3

    Lee returned to films in 1968, with the release of the enjoyably light thriller “No Way to Treat a Lady” based on an early William Goldman novel. That same year she played Frank Sinatra’s oversexed wife in the uneven version of the best-selling novel “The Detective.” Other movies followed; among them are “Hard Contract” with James Coburn, “Sometimes a Great Notion” reuniting her with Paul Newman, “The Omen” with Gregory Peck “Loot”, “A Severed Head”, “Hennessey” and “Tribute.” There also was a production of The American Film Theater’s version of Edward Albee’s “A Delicate Balance.” However, Lee’s career turned more and more toward TV movies and mini-series. She played the title role in “Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill.”, She also appeared in “QBVII”, The Blue Knight” with William Holden, “A Girl Named Spooner”, “Ike”, “Ike: The War Years”, “Hustling,”, “The Man Who Came to Dinner,” and “Haywire” among others.

    Remick was known to prepare passionately for her roles. The Massachusetts’s born actress lived with a local family in the Arkansas town where they were filming “A Face in the Crowd” and learned from their daughter the art baton twirling for her role as the overly seductive cheerleader.  For her stage role in “Wait Until Dark”, Lee spent a month blindfolded every morning at New York’s Lighthouse for the Blind. In preparation for her role as Kristen in “Days of Wine and Roses”, Lee attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

    lee-remick-daily-news2Lee Remick never achieved the stardom of say an Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn or Shirley MacLaine but her talent was just as great. She sometimes was second choice for a role (Lana Turner was originally offered her role in “Anatomy of a Murder”) yet she persevered and gave us some outstanding performances that will never be forgotten.       

    Despite her elegance, early in her career, 20th Century Fox publicity was trying to build Lee up as “America’s answer to Brigitte Bardot.” According to an interview with Joe Hyams of the New York Tribune, Lee was not happy with the comparison saying, “anyone who’d want to build me up as a sex siren would have to be crazy.”   She added, “I’m an actress and a woman and you can’t classify me with your interview number 4, nor can you dispose of me by comparing me to Brigitte Bardot or Grace Kelly.” At the end of the interview, she smiled “you can compare me with Greta Garbo, I have big feet too.”

    While never compared to Marilyn Monroe, at least that I am aware of, Remick and Marilyn’s careers intertwined three times. In 1956, Lee did a stage version of “The Seven Year Itch” portraying the sexy neighbor that Marilyn would play in the Billy Wilder movie. In 1976, she played Cherie in a West End, London production of William Inge’s “Bus Stop.” In film, a more direct connection came when 20th Century Fox announced after firing Marilyn that Lee would replace her in the ill-fated “Something’s Got to Give.”  Dean Martin who was to co-star stated that, no offence to Remick, but he would not do the film without Marilyn. 20th Century Fox smartly just dropped the production. Five years later the story was resurrected and made with James Garner and Doris Day in the leads with the title changed to “Move Over, Darling.”  Lee Remick premature death at the age of 55 in 1991 was sad, shocking and severed the short career of one of the classiest actresses of our time.

“Wild River” will be on The Fox Movie Channel on March 3rd at 1:30 PM

“Anatomy of a Murder” will be on TCM on April 29th  PM

 

lee-remikc-ananoty3

 Here a good article on Lee Remick from The Passionate Moviegoer

Here is my review of “A Face in the Crowd” from Halo-17 

NY Times Obit.

Check out The Remick Galleries website.

Review of “The Long Hot Summer” from Self-Styled Siren

lee-remick-portatr1

NY Times review of  “A Face in the Crowd” 

NY Times review of  “Anatomy of a Murder” 

NY Times review of  “Wild River”

NY Times review of “No Way to Treat a Lady”

NY TImes reveiw of  “The Wheeler Dealers”

NY Times review of “The Long Hot Summer”

NY Times review of “Experiment in Terror”  

  lee-remick-backstage1

KiMo Theater – Albuquerque, New Mexico

The KiMo Theater in Albuquerque, New Mexico is located on Central Ave (Old Route 66) in downtown. The theater opened in 1927 and remains in use today for live events. 

Here is a link to some historical information on the KiMo Theate. 

Here is a link to the KiMo page on Cinema Treasures.

Here are some photographs I took in 2007.

kimo1-s2

kimo1-s3

Death of Estelle Bennett of The Ronettes

phil-spector-and-the-rone-001

The Ronettes were THE girl group of the early 1960’s with their classic song “Be My Baby”   embodying the pre-Beatles Rock and Roll sound of the period. Estelle Bennett who passed away on February 14th was lead singer Ronnie Spector’s older sister and one third of the famed group.

 The Ronettes only appeared in one movie, the concert film “The Big TNT Show” directed by Larry Peerce.

Estelle also appeared in an episode of “China Beach.” 

The group’s fame did not last long. They broke up in 1966 yet their legacy and classic tunes remain part of a more innocent era that would soon end.   

 Attached below are two articles from the New York. Times   

Estelle Bennett Dies

 A Life of Troubles

tnt

Red Headed Woman (1932) Jack Conway

redheaded_poster

    “Red Headed Woman” is a prime example of an enjoyable film; it is a lot of fun, with some good performances and snappy lines though in fac,t it never reaches the level of quality that would be considered great. 

    Lil’ Andrews (Jean Harlow) is a young woman from the wrong side of town who wants to get ahead in life and will do anything to accomplish her goal, including seducing her boss Bill Legendre (Chester Morris) and wrecking his happy marriage with his wife Irene (Leila Hyamns) in the process.  Lil’ sees this move, as her entrance into society, however, just because you marry up does not mean you will be accepted into the upper classes inner circle. Snubbed by Bill’s friends, Lil’ decides to seduce coal magnate Charles Gaerste (Henry Stephenson) enticing him to throw a big social gathering at her place that for sure the town’s upper crust could not ignore. Comes the night of the dinner party, the guests conspire to leave early. It is her best friend and confidant Sally (Una Merkel) who informs her that they all left her party early only to go over to Irene’s place across the street.

Embarrassed by this set back, Lil’ goes to New York leaving Bill, behind. When Bill’s father suspects Lil’ is having an affair, he hires detectives to follow her. They discover she is not only having an affair with Charles Gaerste but with his chauffeur Albert, Charles Boyer in a small role.  When Lil’ comes back home she finds Bill is back with Irene. Enraged and ever vengeful she shoots Bill. He survives the shooting and eventually divorces Lil’ going back to Irene. A few years later we find Lil’ in Paris with a rich elderly gentleman at the racetrack. When they leave the track, they get into a limo driven by the Albert the chauffeur.red-head-pic

    Harlow’s character has to be one of the most immoral wanton and vengeful women of the pre-code era, using her physical attributes to seduce men as she tries to climb the social ladder. When she asks how a dress looks on her, she is told, you can see right through it, she replies, “good I’ll wear it.” Low-cut tight fitting clothes and even a quick flash of Harlow breasts can be seen in one quick shot. The men are amazingly gullible or just plain dumb, easily being seduced by this lower class heartless woman. Bill, a happily married man with a beautiful sophisticated wife is effortlessly taken in by Lil’s crude charms, as are all the other men she gets her claws into.    

    As for the acting, Harlow is well cast as the callous Lil’ Andrews, reaching her comedic zenith here and a big improvement over her performance from the previous year in Frank Capra’s Platinum Blonde where Robert Williams reporter, marries, in this case, a rich though still unsophisticated Harlow while the real class act is co-reporter and beauty Loretta Young.  Harlow was truly miscast in Capra’s film.

That said, I never found her persona that attractive and could not understand Bill’s attraction to her when he had a beautiful stylishly sexy wife in Irene. I felt the same way when watching Capra’s Platinum Blonde.  LorettaYoung was the real class prize. In addition to Harlow, Red-Headed Woman is served well by Una Merkel as Lil’s best friend and confidant who sticks by her. As for the men, Chester Morris, Henry Stephenson and Charles Boyer well, they just seem to fall all over Harlow.    red-vhs

    In a 1932 TIME magazine article, it was announced that Clara Bow was originally set to star in Red Headed Woman as her return film from retirement. Instead, Bow signed a contract with 20th Century Fox to star in Call Her Savage. Harlow was announced as her replacement. Anita Loos wrote the script based on a novel by Katherine Brush. Loos script is certainly one of the highlights of the film. Like some of Loos other works, The Girl from Missouri, again with Harlow, and How to Marry a Millionaire, they center on female characters that are looking to marry rich and socially upward. The film was directed by MGM director Jack Conway

     Red-Headed Woman caused, as you could probably image, a stir with the censors even in the pre-code era. According to Mick LaSalle in his book Complicated Woman, an Atlanta censor complained “Sex, sex, sex! The picture just reeks with it until one is positively nauseated!” The film is loaded with sex and even a little sadism (After being slapped by Bill, Lil’ seemingly aroused tells him to “do it again, I like it” as she throws her arms around him).  In her obvious and unrepentant use of her sexuality in bedding men to get what she wanted, Lil’ Andrews parallels another Lil’ from the pre-code era, Lil’ Powers (Barbara Stanwyck) in Baby Face. Lil’ Powers, whose childhood was anything but idyllic (her father pimped her out at the age of 14), is given cause for her choices and thus I her find a more sympathetic character than Harlow’s Lil’ Andrews who other than coming from a poor background is given no excuse other than greed for her actions. That said, these two films would make a great double feature.

Playwright Robert Anderson Dies

randerson200

    Playwright Robert Anderson, author of  many hit Broadway plays among them “Tea and Sympathy”, I Never San For You Father”, “ Silent Night, Lonely Night” and “You Know I Can’t Hear You When The Waters Running” died on Monday. He was 91 years old.

    Anderson also wrote the screenplays for “The Nun’s Story”, “Until They Sail” and “The Sand Pebbles” in addition to adaptations of many of his own theater works. Anderson’s work was somewhat controversial at the time. His 1953 play “Tea and Sympathy”, directed by Elia Kazan, about an adulterous interlude between a professor’s wife and a student raised eyebrows. Deborah Kerr made her Broadway debut in this play soon after her steamy performance in “From Here to Eternity.” The play also starred John Kerr (no relation) as the young 17-year-old sexually insecure student. After a failed attempt at suicide, Deborah Kerr’s character offers herself to the boy in order to reinstate his sexual identity and confidence. The play ran for 712 performances. Later in the run, Joan Fontaine and Anthony Perkins assumed the lead roles.  The hit play was made into a film in 1956 with the same two leads and was directed by Vincent Minnelli.   

   Anderson was married (his second wife) to actress Theresa Wright from 1959 to 1978.

   

Attached here is the New York Times obituary.

 

Original New Times Movie Reviews of Tea and Sympathy  and I Never Sang For My Father.

 

New York Times theater review of 2007 revival of Tea and Sympathy.

 

  

tea_and_sympathy_poster

 

tea_and_sympathy-ad

Where Are They? The Victors (1963)

 “Where Are They?” will be an occasional series on missing films. They are rarely, if ever, shown on TV and have never been released on video in any form. Some films I may have seen years ago and some I have never seen.  If anyone has any knowledge where these films have been shown, TV, a film festival or in a basement in your house please let me know.

 victorr

Directed by Carl Forman, “The Victors” is a film that has disappeared off the cinematic map. Unusual film for its time, a serious uncompromising anti-war film that was a big production for Columbia Pictures who had aspirations of Academy Awards for the film. Released during the prestigious Christmas holiday season at almost three hours in length, the film is a grim, epic anti-war drama with an all-star cast.

the-victors-poster

The cast includes Vince Edwards, Melina Mercouri, Albert Finny, George Hamilton, Jeanne Moreau, George Peppard, Maurice Ronet, Romy Schnieder, Elke Sommer, Eli Wallach, Peter Fonda and Senta Berger. With this kind of cast it is strange this film has not seem a home video release.

 the-victors-still1

For Carl Forman this was the only film he ever directed. Better known as a writer (and some time Producer)  of such films as “The Guns of Navarone”,  “High Noon”, “A Hatful of Rain”, “The Bridge on the River Kwai” and “MacKenna’s Gold” among others.  

  victors_sountrackscp516

Part of the film touches on the true life story of Private Eddie Slovik who was the only American solider executed during World War II.

victors1

There are unofficial copies of this film available on the web. Beware! According to IMDB the film has a running time of 175 minutes. Some copies I have seen for sale are closer to 150 minutes. Then again, since Columbia/Sony is not releasing the film it may be the only version we can see.    

 Attached below are a couple of  interesting articles on the film.

Joe Baltake article on “The Victors”

1963 New York Times Review

From Here to Eternity (1953) Fred Zinnemann

from-here-to-still-beach

“A man don’t go his own way, he’s nothin’” – Robert E. Lee Prewitt

 

  

Based on James Jones massive bestseller, Fred Zinnemann’s film version of “From Here to Eternity” won eight Academy Awards out of 13 nominations including Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress. Daniel Taradash, who wrote the screenplay, and won an Oscar, does a magnificent job of reducing Jones more than 800 page novel into a two-hour film. The film had to be toned down for both sex and its anti-military sentiment. The latter, so Columbia would receive cooperation from the military and the former due to the restrictions of the then in force production code.   from-here-to-eternity

    The story begins with the transfer of Private Robert E. Lee Prewitt (Montgomery Clift) to a rifle company headed up by Captain Dana Holmes (Philip Ober). When Holmes learns of Prewitt’s ability as a boxer, he wants him to join the company’s boxing team. Prewitt, who previously blinded another boxer in the ring, does not want to box. Holmes First Sergeant, Milton Walden (Burt Lancaster), he actually runs the unit for the ineffective Captain, suggest that they make “life” difficult for Prewitt forcing him into submission by getting other non-commission officers under his command to help “persuade” him to box. Prewitt is a man who goes his own way and can take whatever is dished out by the Sergeants, still refusing to box. Walden in the meantime has his eyes on the Captain’s beautiful neglected and unhappy wife, Karen Holmes (Deborah Kerr) and they soon begin an affair. Prewitt meets an old friend, the streetwise loser Angelo Maggio (Frank Sinatra). Together they go out to the New Congress Club, a dance club where they can meet girls. It’s here Prewitt meets Lorene (Donna Reed). While at the New Congress Club, Maggio, having too much to drink, gets into his first altercation with Fatso Judson (Ernest Borgnine), the sadistic Sergeant in charge of the Stockade. The fight is quickly broken up by Prewitt. Walden and Karen meet at a secluded beach for a romantic interlude. Here Karen tells Walden how early in her marriage she discovered her husband’s philandering and that during one of his more violent drunken episodes she miscarried their child and now is unable to bear any more children.

 from-here-to-eteneityposter2   At Choy’s bar, a drunken Maggio gets into another mix with Fatso, who pulls out a switchblade. Walden, who is watching, breaks a beer bottle in half and steps in between the two. He tells Fatso, if he wants a fight, fight with him. Fatso backs down, promising Maggio that someday he will get him, saying his type always end up in the stockade eventually. Prewitt and Lorene continue to see each other. She tells Prewitt her real name is Alma and gives him a key to the apartment she shares with another girl. Prewitt’s harsh “treatment” by the non-commissioned officers continues however, he continues to take it never complaining. On another night’s leave, Prewitt and Maggio get ready to go out on the town, only Maggio is slow in getting ready and is the last man in the barracks when the Officer of the Day grabs him for guard duty. Upset Maggio goes AWOL while on guard duty and is quickly arrested and court-martialed. He is sentenced to six months in the stockade where he comes face to face with Fatso and his billy club. Karen wants Walden to sign up for officer training school so he can be transferred back to the states. She will then divorce Holmes and they can marry. Walden who hates officers reluctantly agrees. 

  from-here-to-still  Prewitt is forced into a fight with one of the Sergeants from the boxing team. A group of soldiers gathers to watch, including Captain Holmes, who does nothing to stop the fight until the Sergeant starts losing. Senior officers have been watching from afar wondering why Holmes is not stopping the fight. A few nights later, Walden and Prewitt are sitting on the side of a road drunk when Maggio, badly beaten up, appears. He escaped from the stockade not being able to take Fatso’s brutal beatings anymore. Maggio dies in Prews arms. The following night, Prewitt looks for Fatso and finds him coming of out the New Congress Club. Switchblades are drawn and Prewitt knifes Fatso to death however, Prewitt has been stabbed badly too. Wounded he makes his way to Lorene’s apartment where he remains as he recuperates.  Walden covers up for Prewitt’s AWOL for the next few days. Meanwhile, Karen asks Walden if he submitted his application for officer training and he tells her he did not. On the eve of December 7th, they split up realizing their dreams of a life together could only be a fantasy.

    The Japanese attack Pearl Harbor the next morning. Prewitt, still recuperating at Lorene’s, hears on the radio about the attack and realizing his duty as a solider wants to get back to Schofield Barracks. Lorene pleads with him not to go; after all, what did the Army ever do for him, other that treat him like crap.  As he tries to sneak back to the base, Prewitt is shot by a nervous guard when he does not stop after several cries of halt. When Walden arrives, the guard asks why didn’t he stop? “He was just too stubborn!” Walden replies.

A few days later, Karen and Lorene are evacuated by ship. As they leave the port heading back to the states. Lorene tells Karen her fiancé was a pilot who shot down during the attack. However, Karen recognizes Prewitt’s name realizing Lorene’s fantasy ending.    

    For me, the key role in “From Here to Eternity” is that of Robert E. Lee Prewitt, as portrayed by Montgomery Clift. It is Prewitt who drives what I see as the major theme of the film, that of how does someone maintain his individuality in a system that demands conformity.  Prewitt will not turn his back on his own moral code, not even for the Army that he loves so much.  Walden knows how to play the game; in the military there is no room for individuality; you must conform for the good of the “team.” He sees Prewitt as just being stubborn.  Prewitt’s rebellion is that of a person who knows who he is in life. Unlike Brando’s  50’s rebels  in “A Street Name Desire” and especially in “The Wild One”, Prewitt is not rebelling just for the sake of rebelling, he is standing up for his own principles which are in conflict with the system, in this case, the Army that he loves and wants to be apart of. However, he will not succumb to their demands if it means breaking with his own moral ideas. Additionally, unlike James Dean whose rebellion in both “East of Eden” and “Rebel without a Cause” are both centered on young mixed up teens trying to find themselves by rebelling against ineffective parents. Prewitt is no kid; he knows who he is and what he wants. Prewitt is also representative of director Fred Zinnemann whose main characters often were subject to moral predicaments in films like “High Noon”, “The Nun’s Story” and “A Man for All Seasons.”  fromheretoeternitykerr-on-beahc-pose

    Censorship restrictions at the time forced many changes and toning down, from novel to screen. The New Congress Club where Prew meets Lorene, a whorehouse in the book, became a “Gentlemen’s Club” and the girls went from whores to “hostesses.” The affair between Walden and Kerr was a lot more explicit in the novel than it is in the film. Despite the toning down, the movie still steams sex. Deborah Kerr never looked sexier than she does in this movie. We first see her in a tight fitting sweater as she walks around the base looking for her philandering husband and later on in shorts when Walden make an unexpected visit to her house. There is also the iconic beach scene with the ocean’s waves washing over Lancaster and Kerr bodies that steamed up the screen and still does. It is still surprising how much did get passed the censors. This may have been to some extent due to the casting of Deborah Kerr and Donna Reed in the female leading roles. Both women had “pure” screen reputations, so maybe the censors were more lenient or not paying as much attention. After not seeing this film for a longtime, I was surprised by how short the beach scene is, yet it has resonated strongly in our cinematic erogenous zones.

    Performances are all around excellent and this is confirmed by the acting awards and nominations the film received. Both Burt Lancaster and Montgomery Clift received Best Actor nominations, Deborah Kerr, Best Actress and Frank Sinatra and Donna Reed both received Academy Awards in their respective Best Supporting categories. Ernest Borgnine deserves much credit for his role as Fatso Judson the sadist stockade Sergeant.

    “From Here to Eternity” is overflowing with actors in small roles who would become better known later on, Jack Warden, Mickey Shaunessey, Bruce Cabot, Claude Akins, Joan Shawlee and George Reeves who was already portraying Superman on TV. The novel (1951) was James Jones first, followed by “Some Came Running”, “The Pistol” and “The Thin Red Line.” In all, Jones published 10 books; his last novel was released posthumously after being completed by Willie Morris.  In 1951, the book was the winner of National Book Award for fiction. Jones based “From Here to Eternity” on his own experiences while stationed in Hawaii though most of the story is said to be fiction. It is ranked 62nd in the Modern Library’s list of Top 100 novels. The book is considered, along with Norman Mailer’s “The Naked and the Dead” among the best novels depicting the American soldier in the South Pacific during the World War II era.