Archive for Fred Zinnemann

FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953)

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 18, 2016 by cdascher

From_Here_to_Eternity_film_posterDid you ever watch a movie and think to yourself “I wonder if severed horseheads played any role in casting decisions?” Probably not, unless the movie in question is 1953’s From Here to Eternity.

From Here to Eternity is the story of several career soldiers in an infantry company stationed in Hawaii during the last days before American involvement in World War II. There is tough First Sergeant Warren (Lancaster), Private Prewitt (Clift), a bugler and former boxer, and his friend Private Maggio (Sinatra). As the company’s commanding officer Captain Holmes has little interest in the company other than as his personal boxing stable for inter-regimental matches; Warren is the person actually running the unit. Noticing that Holmes likewise neglects his wife Karen (Kerr), the first sergeant takes over in that department, too. Meanwhile, Prewitt – a middleweight boxer of some renown – has transferred into the company. Holmes is disappointed when Prewitt states his refusal to box – having blinded a friend in a sparring accident – leading the captain to push the company NCOs to harass him into boxing again. Between punishments, he falls for Lorene (Reed), whom the movie doesn’t specifically identify as a prostitute, but let’s not be stupid.

Perhaps I was stupid – I honestly didn’t assume she was a prostitute. I thought Lorene just kept the company of men, got paid to do so, and gave them the illusion of a relationship without much effort on their parts. Reflecting now, though, I imagine Mouse is right here. I had the criticism of this film that I do of most, especially from this era – the two main women characters were not fully realized or well developed. Karen seemed to have quite a backstory – the loss of a baby, ostensibly coinciding with a neglectful husband, a sexless marriage, and a prior extramartial lover. She seems to hold a sadness that is deep, but we don’t hear enough about what she thinks and feels for my liking. Continue reading

A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS (1966)

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 31, 2015 by cdascher

A_Man_for_All_Seasons_(1966_movie_poster)A difference in religious conviction can pose quite the hurdle to relationships. I know it became a cause for conversation when my parents got married – my mother was a lifelong Catholic and my father was an Episcopalian. My father wasn’t comfortable signing a document promising to raise his children in the Catholic church, and as a result they were not able to get married in the Catholic church my mother had originally planned. After years in the Episcopalian church following this, my mother eventually returned to the Catholic church on her own. The pull runs deep.

The origin of this split, between the Catholic and the Anglican church, is the subject of our most recent blog film. A Man for All Seasons is a British drama from 1966 that focuses on the life of Sir Thomas More. The theme of the film is that Sir Thomas, as Lord Chancellor, refuses to go against his beliefs and sign a letter asking the Pope to annul King Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon so that the King can marry Anne Boleyn. Sir Thomas feels so strongly in his conviction that this violates the Catholic doctrine that he is willing to resign his post in order to take this position. It is the beginning for a great deal of hardship he and his family must then face. Sir Thomas also refuses to take an Oath of Supremacy pronouncing Henry VIII as the Supreme Head of the Church of England. The King will have his way, and as head of the Church of England, it is announced that he has authority to override the Pope and retain religious purity in his divorce.

A house divided indeed! In our modern pluralistic culture, it’s easy to underestimate what a political and economic power the Continue reading