I’m not exactly sure how I feel about From Here To Eternity. It was one of those films I didn’t really connect with, but without any real justification. It’s funny, but sometimes you strike those.
My closest comparison to From Here To Eternity would have to be Pearl Harbour. I can see that Pearl Harbour was striving for a similar emotional heart as Eternity’s, with both films being, foundationally, about people and how they interact with one another. However, there’s a key difference in structure. Where Pearl Harbour is bound to the inevitable attack on Hawaii, with the film is built around it from start to finish, in From Here To Eternity the attack is the last thing on our mind, and when it finally arrives at the end of the film it simply releases the taughtness around the complex human drama which has unfolded. Really, From Here To Eternity has little to do with the attack, it is simply a setting for an analysis of the human condition which shows that human beings deal with the same issues regardless of time and place. In this respect, From Here To Eternity is a much more complex and developed film.
There is also a very interesting representation of the United States Army in From Here To Eternity. I was expecting something decidedly more ‘pro-American’, a kind of reclaimation of the wounding of American pride done by the attack, yet the army is presented as being fraught with difficulty and corruption, especially from those in power. Again, the message is that people are people, regardless of time, place, rank and position.
There’s loads in this film, it just wasn’t quite for me. It’s strange, because Frank Sinatra is probably the best supporting actor I’ve ever seen, the film is complex and multi-faceted, and it also has some classic moments which you’ve kind of got to see at least once in your life. Maybe I just missed the glitzy showbiz style of the last couple of winners…