FILM 1598: FROM HERE TO ETERNITY
Montgomery Clift threw himself into the character of Prewitt, learning to play the bugle (even though he knew he'd be dubbed) and taking boxing lessons. Fred Zinnemann said, "Clift forced the other actors to be much better than they really were. That's the only way I can put it. He got performances from the other actors, he got reactions from the other actors that were totally genuine."
The now classic scene between Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in the rushing water on the beach was not written to take place there. The idea to film with the waves hitting them was a last minute inspiration from director Fred Zinnemann.
The MPAA banned photos of the famous Burt Lancaster-Deborah Kerr passionate kiss on the beach for being too erotic. Many prints had shortened versions of the scene because projectionists would cut out frames to keep as souvenirs.
An urban myth regarding the casting of Frank Sinatra was that the Mafia made Columbia Pictures an offer they couldn't refuse. This of course was fictionalized in Mario Puzo's novel The Godfather (1972) and its subsequent film adaptation. The real reason for Sinatra's casting was mainly his then-wife Ava Gardner, who was shooting a film for Columbia head Harry Cohn and suggested to him that he use Sinatra. Although initially reluctant, Cohn eventually saw this as being a good idea, as Sinatra's stock was so low at the time that he would sign for a very low salary. Sinatra had been lobbying hard for the role,even suggesting he would do it for nothing, but he was eventually hired for the token amount of $8,000.
In the book, Karen Holmes reveals that the reason why she can't have children was because her adulterous husband infected her with gonorrhea which led to her having to have a hysterectomy. Naturally this was far too racy for 1953 film censors so had to be toned down.
In the bar scene where Magio asks Prewett for a cigarette he says "gimme a nail." A nail was a nail for his coffin. This was a common expression popular at the time that referred to the health hazards from smoking.
At the time of the original novel's release, it was dubbed "From Here to Obscenity" because of its frank content and profane language. The book was banned in libraries across the US for years.
Frank Sinatra credited Burt Lancaster and Montgomery Clift with helping him find his feet dramatically for the film. Prior to this, most of Sinatra's film engagements had been comedic roles or in musicals but by working alongside such heavyweight actors, Sinatra was able to hone his craft in new directions. Indeed, he and Lancaster remained friends for the rest of their lives. Sadly, the relationship with Clift was not so long-lasting. Three years after From Here to Eternity (1953), Clift was involved in a life-altering car crash that required facial reconstruction and left him addicted to pain medication. This, coupled with his alcoholism, made him a very different person from the actor who played Prewitt. At a party thrown by Sinatra, Clift made a drunken pass at one of the singer's entourage that ended up with him being thrown out of the party and denied access to Sinatra and his inner circle.
Montgomery Clift had real difficulty letting the character of Prewitt go after filming was completed and would often rock up drunk in Hollywood drinking establishments with his bugle and Hawaiian shirts.
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
The beach used many years later for the love scene with Henry and Lucy in 50 First Dates (2004) (QV)
CAMEO: James Jones: in the background chatting with hostesses and other soldiers over Ernest Borgnine's shoulder as Fatso (Borgnine) plays the piano at the New Congress Club.