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From Here to Eternity (1953)


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This is a film about illicit sex, military machismo and tragic loss of love, friendship and ultimately life. The filmmakers did, however, have to make some compromises when adapting James Jones's novel: Alma becomes a "hostess" rather than a prostitute and the very downbeat ending, where Captain Holmes is essentially rewarded for his brutality by the military, was replaced with the morally acceptable punishment of his actions by a more self-aware army. Although Private Robert E Lee Pruitt's story provides the meat of the film, there are other subplots woven into the narrative, including a couple of doomed love affairs, which explore themes of adultery and social acceptance. Sergeant Warden (Burt Lancaster) begins a torrid affair with the commander's wife Karen (Deborah Kerr) leading to one of the most famous moments in movie history--the "clinch in the surf". From then on everything is challenged. Love, honour and eventually whether you should conform or stand up for what you believe in. At the end the couples are left wondering about the future of their relationship, but fate decides for them as the Japanese launch their attack on Pearl Harbor, leaving us with one of the most dramatic and moving endings of any war film.
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