Title: From Here to Eternity
Starring: Burt Lancaster, Donna Reed, Frank Sinatra
Director: Frank Zinnerman
Runtime: 1 hr 58 mins
Is It Any Good?: Marvelous and yet uneven. With a sagging middle that seems caught up in it’s own love “triangle” the last 15 minutes are as close to an adrenaline shot as you’ll find in 1953. It’s interesting to note that this is the first Best Picture to feature the derogatory term “bitch” in it. Frank Sinatra took home the trophy for Best Supporting Actor, and Reed the Best Supporting Actress. The aforementioned final 15 is the attack on Pearl Harbor and it’s well shot and it’s impact felt. If not for the slow middle I’d put this in an upper echelon of romances especially Lancaster and Deborah Kerr who try to hide their love from (Kerr’s character) Karen’s Captain husband whose also Sgt. Warden’s (Lancaster) direct supervisor.
Memorable Quote: Sgt. Milton Warden: You’re crazy! I wish I didn’t loe ya; maybe I can enjoy life again.
Competition: Fair, and coming from all sides. We have a Shakespearean adptation in the Joseph Manciewicz directed Julius Ceasar which many consider the best adapt of The Bard ever put to celluloid. John Gielgud shines and Brando does Brando throughout. Next up is an overlong biblibal epic in The Robe more exclusively known as both the first feature projected in Cinemascope, and one of the most snooze-inducing nominees ever. Truly forgettable outside of Richard Burton’s performance. Next up is Shane George Stevens directs this beautiful, and breathtaking piece set in the wonder of Wyoming. This is the Old West done to the nth degree, and held together masterfully. Lastly we have not only what I consider not just the best film of 1953, but one of the best of all time Roman Holiday. Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn (who won the Best Actress Oscr for it) shine is William Wyler’s vibrant romantic comedy about a European Princess and American reporter. This is the film that should have won, for it’s perfect balance of wry wit, and irrestible charm.
There you have it, 1953. Coming up we have the asension of one the Hollywood’s greatest actors, and a film that defined an era in 1954. Keep it here as we continue our quest and be sure to check out the 87th annual Academy Awards his Sunday February 22nd, 2015.