From Here to Eternity ★★★★★
This is best known for its sex scene – Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster having it away on a beach while waves crash around and over them. Nothing explicit, both chastely clad but daring stuff in 1953. Fred Zinnemann’s film about the trials and tribulations of three soldiers – Sgt Lancaster and Privates Montgomery Clift and Frank Sinatra – in Honolulu just before Pearl Harbor won eight Oscars, including the best supporting actor award that revived Sinatra’s then flagging career. Clift, the persecuted boxer/bugler who refuses to fight for his new regiment, heads a superb cast. Sinatra is his only friend, sadistic Sgt Ernest Borgnine his chief persecutor. But main interest lies in the dangerous romance between Lancaster and his commanding officer’s flighty wife, Kerr. The different threads of the story make for compelling viewing even 60 years after the movie was made. Tension and a sense of impending disaster run through it and the attack on Pearl Harbor is a masterly set piece.
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