Tag Archives: Burt Lancaster

Film: From Here to Eternity

From Here to Eternity featured a terrific cast, including Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr, Frank Sinatra, and Donna Reed. It received 13 Oscar nominations, winning 8, including Best Picture. Uploaded by 2sao.vn.

What does it take for a movie to rise above an enjoyable diversion for a couple of hours and achieve status as a classic? A great story, of course – in this case provided by the James Jones novel. An outstanding cast – would Burt Lancaster, Frank Sinatra, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr, and Donna Reed suffice? And a talented director, like the underappreciated Fred Zinnemann (High Noon, Oklahoma!, A Man for All Seasons, Julia).

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Made in 1953, From Here to Eternity is noteworthy for several reasons. It includes one of the iconic scenes in all movie history, with Lancaster and Kerr kissing (wink wink) in the surf. The Army wouldn’t cooperate in the making of the movie until the filmmakers agreed to make changes that didn’t reflect so harshly on the service. And the movie is credited with saving Frank Sinatra’s career, the singer having got the part only after begging Harry Cohn for the part – and after the original selection for Maggio, Eli Wallach, changed his mind and took a Broadway role instead.

From Here to Eternity received 13 Oscar nods, and won 8, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor (Sinatra) and Actress (Reed). In the American Film Institute’s 100 Years…100 Movies, it ranked number 52.

Film: Ben-Hur

Before the fake world of computer-generated images, the chariot scene of Ben-Hur was filmed with 15,000 extras on a special set that covered 18 acres. Uploaded by oranismo.art.br.

Charlton Heston is more closely associated with this role than any other in his celebrated career. The part of Judah Ben-Hur was originally offered to Burt Lancaster, but Lancaster was an atheist who didn’t want to appear in a film that “promoted” Christianity. So Heston got the part. The religious sections of the film didn’t bother director William Wyler, who was Jewish. Wyler had been an assistant director on the silent version of Ben-Hur back in 1925.

The sheer scale of the movie’s production is mind-boggling. The film used more than a million props, and more than 300 sets were constructed. It had the largest crew ever for a film, and the most extras – 15,000 for the chariot scene alone. Most of that would now be computer-generated, and wouldn’t have the wonderful reality created for Ben-Hur.

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Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Story of the Christ provided the source for the movie, which stayed basically true to the novel. One significant difference is that the movie ends shortly after the crucifixion of Jesus, while the book continues on with Ben-Hur helping Christians to worship during the period of persecution under Emperor Nero.

Opera singer Claude Heater performed the part of Jesus, the only film appearance he ever made. Jesus appears most prominently early in the film, giving water to a suffering Ben-Hur, and of course during scenes leading up to and including his crucifixion.

You can’t feature this movie without discussing the chariot scene, one of the most famous in the history of film. It took five weeks to shoot, and took place on a specially built set that covered an incredible 18 acres. Even now, with virtually anything possible in the era of computer graphics, this is still considered one of the most spectacular productions of all time.

Ben-Hur was the top-grossing movie of 1960, and won 11 Academy Awards, a feat that’s only been equaled twice since. In the American Film Institute’s 100 Years…100 Movies, Ben-Hur ranked number 72, and was the number two in the epic category…