From Here To Eternity was my father’s favorite movie. When I was young we had to watch it every time it was on television. Years later I came to realize it is actually quite a good movie but as an 8 year-old I mostly remember thinking it was long, boring, and usually on opposite something I would rather have watched.
Released in 1953, the movie was hugely successful. It grossed more than $30,000,000 making it the highest grossing film of the year and one of the highest grossing films of the decade. Remember, not only are these 1953 dollars but ticket prices were much lower so that gross represents a huge number of movie-goers.
The film was nominated for 13 Academy Awards and won 8 including; Best Picture, Best Director (Fred Zinnemann), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor (Frank Sinatra) and Best Supporting Actress (Donna Reed)
The film was responsible for resuscitating Frank Sinatra’s career as he transitioned away from ‘Bobby-soxer’ heart-throb to movie star/entertainer. In Mario Puzo’s novel The Godfather, the character of Johnny Fontaine is allegedly based on Sinatra. The famous horse’s-head-in-the-producer’s-bed scene was allegedly based on Sinatra’s efforts to be cast in this film. For whatever it’s worth, the director denies it ever happened.
I overuse the word iconic but the movie was a feature of the popular culture of its time. The beach scene with Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr is an instantly recognizable image for most Americans over a certain age.
Nowhere can this be seen more clearly than in the snapshot of my parents; below. The picture was taken the year after the movie was released.
I don’t know what is more shocking; seeing my parents in this position (by the time I was old enough to remember, they were no longer on good-enough terms for this) or the fact that it was so obviously posed for someone taking the picture.
There are two purses in the photo so I imagine it was a double-date. The other couple took the picture. I wonder if they then switched positions; my parents yielding the quilt and taking the same picture of the other couple.
Did everyone’s parents (or grandparents) do this in the 1950’s?