Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. USA, 1953. Columbia Pictures Corporation. Directed by Fred Zinnemann. Screenplay by Daniel Taradash, based on the novel by James Jones. Cinematography by Burnett Guffey. Produced by Buddy Adler. Music by George Duning. Production Design by Cary Odell. Costume Design by Jean Louis. Film Editing by William A. Lyon. Academy Awards 1953. Cannes Film Festival 1953. Golden Globe Awards 1953.
Romance develops between a military wife (Deborah Kerr) and a serviceman (Burt Lancaster) before Pearl Harbour is bombed by the Japanese. Montgomery Clift is brilliant as a fellow soldier who has a destructive relationship with prostitute Donna Reed in this excellent, mature war drama that is still just as potent today as it was when originally released. The scene with Kerr and Lancaster making out on the beach is still a classic image of red-blooded passion, and the film provided Kerr with a image-changing break from her prim, English schoolmarm roles (although we still love her in those too). The role was originally offered to Joan Crawford, but she turned it down after hassling over her salary and wardrobe.