Literature: From Here to Eternity
Well, what am I? I'm a private no-class dogface. The way most civilians look at that, that's two steps up from nothin'.
Robert E. Lee "Prew" Prewitt
A 1952 novel by James Jones, From Here to Eternity was based on his experiences serving in World War II. It was adapted into a film in 1953, a miniseries in 1979 and a TV Show in 1980. The film version, directed by Fred Zinnemann and staring an All-Star Cast including Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Frank Sinatra and Deborah Kerr, remains the most iconic of these productions. It won eight Oscars in its year, including Best Picture.The 1953 film is also famous for a certain scene involving Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, and a beach. It's an iconic bit, and new viewers may be surprised to discover that it's only three seconds long.In 1941, a few short months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Private Robert E. Lee "Prew" Prewitt is transferred to the nearby Schofield Barracks in Honolulu. His CO at Company G, Captain Holmes, learns that Prewitt was a Boxer and tries to recruit him for the Unit’s Boxing Club. When Prewitt refuses, Holmes decides to make the new recruit’s life a living hell.Other characters in the story include Prewitt’s buddy and only supporter on base, Angelo Maggio; Holmes’s wife Karen and her lover, Sgt. Warden; Prewitt's girlfriend, "nightclub hostess" Alma; and Staff Sgt. Fatso Judson, the brutish stockade guard who becomes Magglio's tormentor.See also The Thin Red Line which features similar characters based on James Jones' real life experiences, including Private Witt, appropriately enough for a subsequent novel.
The Film and Book contains examples of:
- All-Star Cast: In addition to the ones above, there’s also Donna Reed, Ernest Borgnine and Phillip Ober.
- Beach Kiss: The Trope Codifier.
- Big Damn Kiss: The beach scene in the 1953 film won an Oscar by itself.
- Camp Follower: Alma.
- Embarrassing Nickname: Staff Sgt. James R. "Fatso" Judson.
- Good Adultery, Bad Adultery: Captain Holmes cheats on his wife, which makes it all right for her to cheat on him. His behavior previously resulted in her losing a child and nearly dying herself.
- Literary Allusion Title: From “Gentleman Rankers” by Rudyard Kipling.
- Longing Look: Sgt. Warden aims a few at Karen.
- Male Gaze: Every man in the bar watches the waitress' Sexy Walk. So does the camera.
- Making Love in All the Wrong Places: That Scene on the Beach.
- Martial Pacifist: Prewitt, as far as boxing goes.
- My Girl Is Not a Slut: Sgt. Warden is somewhat upset to find that Karen has had numerous other lovers.
- N-Word Privileges: "Only my friends call me 'wop'!"
- Playing Against Type: Deborah Kerr as the adulterous Karen Holmes. Compare that role to her ones in The King and I or An Affair to Remember.
- Also Donna Reed as the
prostitute"hostess" Alma. The role won her an Oscar.
- Also Donna Reed as the
- Real Life Writes the Plot
- Sergeant Rock: Warden to G-Company.
- Sorry Ociffer: Spoofed. Warden pretends to chew Prewitt out for being drunk, while falling-down drunk himself.
- Suddenly Sober: For two guys who couldn't walk straight several minutes before, Warden and Prewitt are remarkably coordinated when Maggio drops in.
- Taps: In the film version, Prewitt (a bugle player) plays this when his best friend is killed.
- Throw It In: Maggio's pretending to use olives as dice was an improvisation by Sinatra.
- War Was Beginning
- World War II