Director: Fred Zinnemann
Note the strategically placed calendar indicating that it’s December 6, 1941. Oh, and we’re at a Hawaiian military base. Anyone have plans for tomorrow..?
Mature anti-war drama shows surprising sensitivity in its treatment of masculinity, conformity, relationships, and the struggle to maintain one’s principles. Montgomery Clift and Burt Lancaster give nuanced performances conveying deep pathos, both deservedly receiving Oscar nominations for their efforts (they must have split the votes as William Holden won instead for Stalag 17). Their co-stars Deborah Kerr and Frank Sinatra are very good too. The iconic beach scene featuring Lancaster and Kerr is a highlight, as is the gripping depiction of the attack on Pearl Harbor in the film’s final fifteen minutes. It has some lulls and isn’t my favourite film adaptation of a James Jones novel (that honour remains with Terrence Malick’s version of The Thin Red Line), but it’s a fine film nonetheless.