From Here to Eternity
August 2, 2013
Lancaster found his biggest role of the Fifties leading Fred Zinnemann's rapturously celebrated and multiple Oscar-winning adaptation of James Jones's best-selling WWII epic set in a US Army base in Honolulu during the days leading up to Pearl Harbor. Seen today, From Here to Eternity is perhaps most remarkable for its stinging pessimism about American exceptionalism and its unvarnished critique of military hubris and blind hierarchy. As an uber-male career officer trying to be just within a system he knows is rigged – and while willfully falling in love with his superior's restless wife – Lancaster brings together the film's unprecedentedly frank depiction of adultery, power abuse and shattered dreams. Interweaving torrid melodrama with a cracked version of the service film, From Here to Eternity offers a sobering reassessment of the stakes and costs of the Second World War on the American psyche.