As many of the faithful followers of this blog know, over the times of my writing here, I’ve posted many articles about books and movies, two of my most favorite pastimes. And today, I’m mixing the two.
As of late, between all the times I’ve been spending watching my favorite baseball team, the Atlanta Braves, I’ve used other free time and my TV to watch what I consider to be classic movies, many of them from the black-&-white era. It’s so much of a nostalgic feeling to see all those great actors, many of them now deceased, performing in iconic roles. I just recently watched a movie again, one I’ve viewed uncountable times over the years. Made in 1953, From Here to Eternity truly was a classic, winning eight Academy Awards of the 13 nominations it garnered.
And what an all-star cast graced the screen: Burt Lancaster; Montgomery Clift; Frank Sinatra; Donna Reed; Debrorah Kerr; Ernest Borgnine ; Jack Warden; Claude Akins; and George Reeves. So many famous actors and actresses to be in one movie! Lancaster, nominated four times for an Academy Award, winning Best Actor in 1960 for Elmer Gantry. Clift, also nominated four times for an Academy Award. Sinatra won the Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in this movie, just as Donna Reed was winner of the Supporting Actress Oscar. Borgnine won the Best Actor Oscar in 1955 for his work in the heart-touching movie Marty, a role that totally clashed with the cruel, sadistic character he portrayed in From Here to Eternity. As for Debrorah Kerr, she was nominated six times for the Academy Award for Best Actress , more than any other actress without ever winning. One of her most memorable nominated performances was in The King and I, as Anna, opposite Yul Brynner. Donna Reed had already starred in another Hollywood classic, It’s a Wonderful Life. Her later work included the television series The Donna Reed Show, which I remember watching as a kid, and later on she starred in Dallas. Jack Warden and Claude Akins were both character actors, but Warden was nominated twice for for Best Supporting Actor later in his career and Akins, making his acting debut in From Here to Eternity, is now remembered as Sheriff Lobo in the TV series B. J. and the Bear. And one of the most interesting appearances is that of George Reeves who later gained fame in the 1950’s television series Superman. One of his earliest movie roles was in Gone With the Wind where he starred as one Scarlet O’Hara’s beaus early in the movie.
The book From Here to Eternity written by James Jones was a fantastic read which I read as a pre-teen kid, believe it or not, after having seen the movie. It takes place in the time leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor and right afterward. That was when I first learned that movies aren’t necessarily exactly like the book it’s named after. Obviously, there were many scenes in the book that didn’t make it to the screen, scenes that certainly weren’t meant for someone of my age. Still, I read the book, with my Mom’s and my librarian’s permission. A most memorable erotic encounter from the Golden Age of movies took place on a beach where Lancaster and Kerr rolled around in the surf kissing, rather torrid stuff for the screen in that era. James Jones, stationed in Pearl Harbor, witnessed the attack and later fought on Guadalcanal. His experiences led to authoring three WWII novels, all of which are in my library. And these books, as well as the movie, are on my all-time-favorites list, never to be forgotten.