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Trivia / From Here to Eternity

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  • Actor-Inspired Element: See Throw It In! for the details about the beach scene. The kiss was going to be filmed with the lovers standing up. Burt Lancaster suggested doing it with them lying on the beach.
  • AFI's 100 Years... Series:
  • Backed by the Pentagon: The US Army reluctantly co-operated, after producer Buddy Adler convinced them too (he had been a Lieutenant Colonel during World War II). However they were unhappy with the depiction of military sloppiness and brutality in both the book and the film.
  • Career Resurrection:
    • The film revived Frank Sinatra's flagging career and gave him a new lease as a dramatic actor.
    • Deborah Kerr became a star in her native UK with notable parts in Major Barbara, Love on the Dole and Black Narcissus - the latter of which got the attention of Hollywood. Although she got her first Oscar nomination with Edward, My Son, she soon found herself typecast as an English Rose in Costume Dramas - in what she mockingly called "poker up the arse parts". The low point for her was Young Bess, where she lost out on the lead role and got stuck with the insignificant role of Catherine Parr - which led to her nearly leaving Hollywood altogether. But her next big project was a war drama called From Here to Eternity - which saw her going against type as a depressed adulteress. It broke her out of typecasting, got her another Oscar nomination and secured her status in Hollywood until she retired in the late 60s.
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  • Cast the Expert: Many of the extras were real soldiers. Though they had to be trained on how to use the outdated equipment from the 1940s.
  • Contractual Purity: Deborah Kerr was frustrated at being typecast as a Proper Lady in Gorgeous Period Dress - so the steamy beach scene was done as a way to combat it a little. It earned her a second Oscar nomination. Although she would still go on to play many more nuns, governesses and English Roses, Kerr credited the film with helping shake up her image. When posing in a swimsuit for publicity photos, she quipped "I feel naked without my tiara."
  • Creator Breakdown: Frank Sinatra suffered one while filming - as his marriage to Ava Gardner collapsed. Reportedly he told Montgomery Clift he was going to commit suicide one night.
  • Deleted Scene: Several had to be cut to meet the 120 minute dictate, much to the director's disappointment. One such scene would have Prewitt mistakenly think Pearl Harbour was being attacked by the Germans.
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  • Disowned Adaptation: James Jones, who wrote the novel on which this film was based, was not happy with the film, considering it to be too sanitized.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Both male leads shaved their hairy chests for their Shirtless Scenes.
  • Executive Meddling:
    • The Hays Code forced several changes from the book:
      • Lorene was a prostitute in the novel. The brothel is changed to a Gentleman's Club, and the whores are referred to as 'hostesses'.
      • Karen was left barren after getting gonorrhoea from her husband. As the code forbade any mention of STDs, it's instead caused by a bad miscarriage.
      • Several of the soldiers fraternise with gays in the book, which of course is left out of the film. Though it has been argued that Judson's abuse of Maggio has the subtext of sexual abuse.
    • The US Army forced a couple of changes themselves:
      • Holmes is a Karma Houdini in the book, and even gets promoted and transfers out of the company. The army insisted that Holmes be forced to resign in disgrace.
      • Maggio's abuse at the hands of Judson is left mostly offscreen and only implied. The army also insisted that it be made clear the abuse was an isolated incident and not standard practice.
      • Maggio dies when falling off a truck, implying the fall was a partial cause of death rather than the torture.
  • Fake American: British Deborah Kerr plays an American woman Karen Holmes.
  • Hostility on the Set: Montgomery Clift told friends he thought Burt Lancaster was a terrible actor and "a big bag of wind" (an attitude perhaps fuelled by his resentment over having to take second billing). Lancaster for his part was incredibly intimidated about working with Clift.
  • I Am Not Spock: Ernest Borgnine ran into some trouble a couple of years later in the Bronx - where a group of locals were not happy that his character had killed Frank Sinatra's in this movie. He had to talk them down and explain that he and Sinatra were good friends in real life.
  • Irony as She Is Cast: Sergeant Judson, who hates Italian-Americans, is played by Italian-American Ernest Borgnine.
  • Jossed: As said above, a rumour persisted that George Reeve's role was cut down because audiences kept going "there's Superman" whenever he appeared on screen. The director claims that is false, but that didn't stop the movie Hollywoodland from saying it was true.
  • Method Acting: Montgomery Clift threw himself into his role, learning how to box and play the bugle. Despite this, he still had to be dubbed on the bugle and a double was used for the boxing scenes. He 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.
  • The Other Marty: Joan Crawford was cast as Karen. However she insisted on shooting the film with a camera man of her choice, and was replaced with Deborah Kerr.
  • Playing Against Type: Invoked by the director, who wanted to cast the two female leads against type. That gave us:
    • Karen Holmes, the depressed adulteress who makes a habit of sleeping with her husband's soldiers, is played by Deborah Kerr - who was typecast as various English Roses, nuns and princesses.
    • Lorene (real name Alma) the Hooker with a Heart of Gold is played by Donna Reed - usually wholesome Girl Next Door types, with her most famous role being George Bailey's saintly wife Mary in It's a Wonderful Life.
    • Prior to this, most of Frank 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.
  • Promoted Fanboy: Montgomery Clift had been a fan of the book and wanted to play Prewitt as soon as he'd read it two years prior to the film being made.
  • The Red Stapler: Aloha shirts were already around, but the movie's success helped popularise them.
  • Star-Making Role: For Ernest Borgnine.
  • Romance on the Set: Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr were rumoured to have had an affair around the time the film was made.
  • Throw It In!:
    • The iconic image of the waves washing over the two lovers on the beach was not scripted. Fred Zinneman came up with it there on set at the last minute.
    • The scene in which Maggio meets Prew and Lorene in the bar after he walks off guard duty, was actually Frank Sinatra's screen test for the part of Maggio. To impress Fred Zinnemann, he did an ad-lib using olives as dice and pretending to shoot craps. The entire sequence was kept as is and used in the picture.
  • Wag the Director: Burt Lancaster's anxiety manifested itself in a pattern of difficult behavior, nitpicking over his lines, the camera angles, and his appearance. During breaks in filming he would go off by himself to jog or do push-ups. He argued so much with the normally even-tempered Fred Zinnemann, he finally provoked the director into telling him to go "screw" himself.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Walter Matthau, Tyrone Power and Ronald Reagan were among the actors considered for Sgt. Warden. Robert Mitchum wanted the role, but Howard Hughes balked.
    • Matthau was offered the role of Dana "Dynamite" Holmes, but he didn't think the part was very good and passed on it.
    • Joan Fontaine turned down the role of Karen, and later cited it as one of her biggest career regrets. Rita Hayworth was also considered for Karen.
    • Eli Wallach was initially cast as Angelo Maggio but had to immediately turn it down due to a Broadway commitment.


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