Study Guide

From Here to Eternity Production Design

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Production Design

To Stand Up… Or Lie Down?

Burnett Guffey won an Academy Award for his cinematography on this movie (he also won one for Bonnie and Clyde in 1967). Guffey filmed a lot of film noirs, and he seems to have brought his aptitude for that shadowy style to certain scenes—like when the soldiers are on the town at night and when Prewitt has his knife fight with Judson.

From Here to Eternity doesn't really linger on the natural beauty of Hawaii, though. Instead, it explores the close-quarters social world of military life on the island.

One of Guffey's most important contributions has to be the movie's most famous scene—the kiss on the beach, where Sgt. Warden and Karen Holmes roll around in the sand, snogging, as a wave crashes over them. It wasn't described this way in the screenplay, which only called for a (yawn) standing-up kiss. Capturing the kiss lying down changed the whole nature of the scene, making it significantly steamier.

An Assist From John Ford

Also, we should note that Guffey was responsible for the closeup battle footage with the movie's characters shooting at the Japanese plains.

But he wasn't responsible for the footage of the actual bombing of American ships—the epic, large-scale footage. Those images came from a collage of real and reconstructed battle footage taken by the famous director John Ford (who mainly did classic westerns like The Searchers) for a wartime documentary he made on Pearl Harbor entitled December 7th.

Oh, and since it was made way back in 1953, From Here to Eternity was shot on film, definitely not on digital. (Just thought we should mention it.)

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