March 14, 2014
From Here to Eternity
Fortunately, there's no actual boxing in this movie, or I might have turned it off. But there are a few fight scenes, all of them involving Montgomery Clift, who seems too small to actually defeat any of the gorillas he's up against. Despite all the scuffles, Prewitt refuses to participate in any organized fighting, much to the chagrin of his superior, who proceeds to make his life a living hell. Prewitt befriends an amiable private played by Frank Sinatra and falls in love with a girl (Donna Reed) he meets at a gentleman's club. Even though Montgomery Clift's performance is striking, it's never completely clear why someone so fiercely independent as his character would want to join the army in the first place. One can accept Lancaster's rule-following sergeant much more easily.
Eternity juggles more stories than it seems able to, but the finale is exciting and the film still holds up: the actors are all generally interesting, and the presumably steamy aspects of the Jones novel seem to at least have gotten through here via dialogue (and that famous beach make-out scene), even if it's pretty tame by today's standards. The supporting cast includes Philip Ober (as the disreputable captain), Ernest Borgnine, and Jack Warden.