Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

War weekend 1: From Here To Eternity

A recent weekend had a spate of war movies on tv, some of which I had not seen in decades, and proved fascinating again now.
FROM HERE TO ETERNITY, 1953 – I had not seen this in years, it had almost become a cliché of the Hollywood war movie. Sitting down and watching it from the start, particularly after seeing PEARL HARBOUR again a few days earlier, proved to be totally enthralling, as Zinnemann aided by Daniel Taradash’s screenplay from James Jones’ vast novel, fashions a complex movie with a tight-script aided by that tremendous cast. 
There was a recent short-lived new musical based on the book in London recently which even put back some of the gay material they could not use in 1953, but that could not save it, even with Sir Tim Rice's score.

Little moments here fascinate – those first looks between Monty Clift and Donna Reed, that entertainer at the Congress Club, or those smouldering intense scenes between Lancaster and Deborah Kerr. The brutality of the army is shown as Prewitt (Clift - heart-stoppingly beautiful here in his prime) refuses to box and Maggio (Sinatra) falls foul of brutal Fatso Judson (Borgnine). Those girls toiling at the Congress Club include weary Joan Shawlee and Jean Willes. Mickey Shaughnessy and William Ober also excel. Pearl Harbour when it comes is quick and gripping and its soon that last scene on the ship as Kerr and Reed leave Hawaii. 
Donna Reed’s classy Lorene isn’t as brassy as Jane Russell in THE REVOLT OF MAMIE STOVER (also covering prostitution in those Hawaii years, Jane Russell label) while Kerr is simply a revelation here. 

Michael Bay’s PEARL HARBOUR from 2001 is so inferior in every way to Zinnemann’s classic that one need barely mention it. I just watched again for the main sequence, where the special effects come into their own, while the 3 pretty people grapple with some puerile romantic triangle and then get their revenge on Japan !   
Carl Foreman's all-star 1963 THE VICTORS (a riposte to THE GREAT ESCAPE or THE LONGEST DAY?) was meant to be shown this afternoon, but for some reason was pulled from the tv schedules. At least we have seen it several times and commented on it here - War label.

No comments:

Post a Comment