FF20 - From Here to Eternity

Intro by John Roderick

You know the scene: Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in a passionate embrace, rolling on the wet sand as waves crash over them and the orchestral score practically loses its shit with violins, bordering on hysteria. It is a cinematic depiction of romance that resonated so deeply, it was for a while the gold standard of showing just enough sex to titillate a moviegoing audience that was desperate to paw each other, but stuck in 1950s America.

I mean, you know what the waves are supposed to be, right? Right? It's a classic moment in a classic film that to this day is symbolic of true love and also beach sex until you consider what's really going on here. See, that's First Sergeant Warden in that Speedo and the lady getting wet is Karen Holmes the captain's wife. So it's complicated on that level, but also if you've ever tried making love in the sand and salt water in broad daylight on a beach in Hawaii, you know the chances are good that you're going to get at least a rash.

But there's a whole other story going on at the same time: The incompetent captain has a plan and it would be really great if the new guy, Private Robert E. Lee Prewitt, played by the smoldering Montgomery Clift would just join the entire regimental boxing team like he's supposed to instead of moping about like a movie star, winging that he'll never box again and only wants to play the most soulful of all instruments, the Army Bugle.

Add to that the Academy Award winning and horse decapitating performance of one Frank Sinatra as the incorrigible sidekick, the ageless menace of Ernest Borgnine known as the sadistic guard, and no less than Donna Reed as the hooker with a heart of gold, this film burns with the heat of 1000 telenovas. And did I mention that it's 1941 and the setting is Pearl Harbor? Be sure to keep your eye on the large wall-mounted calendar as we review the 1953 World War II classic From Here to Eternity.

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