From Here to Eternity appears in an aspect ratio of 1.37:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. The Dolby Vision transfer looked excellent and gave us a terrific representation of the source.
Sharpness appeared solid. Very little softness appeared, and when it did occur, it came from the source photography. The movie boasted consistently fine accuracy and delineation.
No moiré effects or jagged edges caused issues, and edge haloes remained absent. With a fine layer of grain, I detected no signs of digital noise reduction, and this clean presentation lacked specks, marks or other print flaws.
Black levels came across as deep and dense, and contrast impressed. Despite a few awkward “day for night” elements, low-light shots displayed nice clarity and delineation.
HDR added range and dimensionality to these elements. Everything satisfied in this smooth, film-like image.
In terms of audio, two English mixes appeared. Given the age of the material, the film’s original DTS-HD MA monaural audio sounded quite good.
Some of the dialogue was poorly looped – especially the beach shots, which seemed artificial – but the speech usually appeared reasonably warm and distinct, and I detected no problems related to intelligibility or edginess.
Effects showed thinness typical of the era, but they remained acceptably clean and accurate, and the explosions even offered a modest boom. I won’t say that my subwoofer got a workout, but the low-end material seemed more than adequate for a film of this era.
Music displayed good clarity and depth as well. Overall, this was a good representation of an older monaural soundtrack.
Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the disc packed a Dolby Atmos remix that seemed like something of a mixed blessing but proved reasonably satisfying. On the positive side, this new track definitely opened up the soundfield.
During quieter scenes, I heard gentle ambience as well as the occasional example of audio from the sides. For example, speech might come from the left speaker, or the closing of a cabinet might pop up from the right.
Louder scenes provided expanded material, and they came to life fairly well. Of course, the Japanese attack at the end offered the most active sequence, and the battle demonstrated pretty good localization and blending. Elements moved across the spectrum well and meshed together surprisingly smoothly.
Scenes like those in bars and clubs also benefited from the broadened soundfield, as they presented a decent sense of atmosphere. The beach shots featured the most noticeable examples of split surround usage, as the waves crashed behind us.
Like some other segments, those elements sounded somewhat unnatural at times, but usually the track came across as acceptably well integrated. The mix’s producers didn’t go crazy with effects placement, so the soundfield seemed positive for the most part.
The Atmos mix lost some points when it came to the sound of the surround elements, as they could come across as artificial. For instance, a scene with rain didn’t blend with the 1953 source, and this meant the precipitation felt like the recording from a different era that it was.
Other effects worked better, though, and most sounded fairly natural and well-integrated. Music showed reasonable clarity and life as well.
Dialogue resembled the speech from the mono track, which meant the lines felt fairly natural and concise. I’m not a big fan of surround remixes from elderly mono tracks and prefer that 1953 audio, but the Atmos mix worked surprisingly well.
How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray from 2013? Both sported identical mono audio, but the 4K’s Atmos track became an improvement over the BD’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 version, mainly because it offered superior quality.
As for the 4K’s Dolby Vision image, it showed improved accuracy, contrast, blacks and overall clarity. Because the Blu-ray worked well, the 4K didn’t blow it away, but it became a good step up.
The 4K set mixes old and new extras, and on the 4K disc itself, we open with a program called Strength and Sacrifice. It runs 20 minutes, 14 seconds and includes notes from film historian Steven C. Smith.
“Strength” looks at the source novel and its cinematic adaptation as well as some cast/crew/production notes. It offers a decent but fairly general overview that lacks real insights.
Under Eternal History Revisited, we find two featurettes: “Filming the Unfilmable” (29:58) and “Final Victory” (22:46). Across these, we hear from film historians Alan K. Rode, Virginia Campbell, Kim Morgan, and Robert Osborne, Burt Lancaster biographer Kate Buford, director’s son Tim Zinneman, actor’s daughter Tina Sinatra, and actor/Montgomery Clift friend Jack Larson.
Over these programs, we learn about challenges related to the movie’s path to the screen, the climate of the era, director Fred Zinneman’s approach to the material, casting and performances, and the film’s release.
This becomes a pretty quality overview of the movie’s creation, albeit with an emphasis on the cast. Still, it gives us nice material and ends up as a worthwhile piece.
In addition to two trailers, the 4K concludes with a 1980 From Here to Eternity TV pilot. It lasts one hour, 37 minutes, 25 seconds and includes a cast of then-or-future notables like William Devane, Kim Basigner, Barbara Hershey, and Don Johnson.
Note that a 1979 mini-series version of Eternity predated this “Pilot”. The latter launched a short-lived TV series. The entire 1979 mini-series appears on a bonus disc in the “Columbia Classics Volume 3” package.
The “Pilot” picks up at a point roughly three-fourths of the way into the feature film. This feels like an odd choice, mainly because it clearly assumes viewers watched the mini-series, but the 1979 edition proceeded past the events in the “Pilot”.
This makes the “Pilot” a weird beast, as it gives us virtually no introductions to the characters but it also covers events from the mini-series. Most of the “Pilot” covers the attack on Pearl Harbor, so I guess the producers figured they should skip the preliminaries and get right to the action.
Whatever the case, the “Pilot” provides a pretty forgettable affair. While it creates a more expansive view of the warfare – which only takes up about 12 minutes of the feature film – it lacks much real drama.
The story goes well past the ending of the novel, 1953 film and mini-series. I guess the producers envisioned the show as a nighttime soap opera but at least via the “Pilot”, it fails to engage.
The “Pilot” presents adequate audio for its era, but picture quality disappoints. The image seems fairly soft and presents drab colors.
Plenty of print flaws materialize as well. While I don’t expect a major restoration, the “Pilot” still came with subpar viauals.
By the way, the “Pilot” loses some music from the original broadcast, presumably due to rights issues. These leaves unintentionally amusing scenes such as ones in which people dance without any musical accompaniment.
The included Blu-ray copy that duplicates the 2013 release linked above. We start with an audio commentary from director’s son Tim Zinnemann and Alvin Sargent, a bit actor in Eternity who later worked with the elder Zinnemann on 1977’s Julia and who also became a successful screenwriter.
Sargent snared Oscars for his work on Julia and 1980’s Ordinary People. Both men were recorded together for this running, fairly screen-specific track.
On the positive side, the commentary starts off very well, as during the first half of the movie, the two contribute a lot of useful information. Zinnemann relates many details about the production and his father.
Tim also tosses in some personal perspective from childhood encounters with some of the stars, especially Montgomery Clift. Sargent also provides good notes about Fred Zinnemann and his brief experiences on Eternity as well as some of his later work.
However, the track peters out badly during the second half of the movie. Long stretches of silence start to dominate, and even when the men speak, their remarks tend to be fairly bland.
Some interesting facts still appear from time to time, but with much less frequency. Overall, I think this is a fairly good track at times, but be warned that it doesn’t keep up its early pace.
A few other supplements appear as well. Possibly the crummiest program of its sort that I’ve ever seen, we find a two-minute, 23-second piece called The Making of From Here to Eternity. No, that’s not a misprint; the featurette really does last less than two and a half minutes.
In its entirety, it tells us that only Burt Lancaster was anyone’s unanimous choice among the main actors; all the others had opposition. We also find out that the romantic beach scene is really famous.
We glimpse scant shots of Fred Zinnemann’s behind the scenes home movies from the set, but these amount to maybe 10 seconds total. Otherwise we simply hear a narrator and watch snippets from the film.
All of the information already appeared in the commentary, and in greater detail. Whose idea was this joke?
It’s about as useless a featurette as I could imagine. It’s pointless and it seems actively insulting to find something this inane presented as a “making of” program.
Somewhat stronger - but not by a ton - are the Excerpts from Fred Zinnemann: As I See It. This nine-minute, 33-second program combines movie clips, more home movies, and interviews with Zinnemann. Most of the latter seem to come from the Nineties, though one appears to be from the Fifties or Sixties.
The brief home movies continue to be moderately interesting, but Zinnemann’s remarks become redundant after the commentary, which provides most of the same information, and in more detail, too. For example, Fred Zinnemann discusses the studio’s original choice to play Prewitt but doesn’t name him.
Tim Zinnemann tells the same tale but lets us know who Columbia wanted. The program also includes far too many movie snippets, as I’d estimate those fill more than half of the short show. Ultimately, it’s mildly watchable, but not very compelling.
To conclude, we find Eternal History, a “graphics-in-picture track” that combines text, photos, and interviews. We hear from Tim Zinnemann, author/film historian Alan K. Rode, journalist/film historian Virginia Campbell, film critic Kim Morgan, 80 Years of the Oscar author Robert Osborne, Frank Sinatra’s daughter Tina, actor/friend of Montgomery Clift Jack Larson, and Burt Lancaster – An American Life author Kate Buford.
Essentially this track offers the same information as the standalone featurettes on the 4K. Some differences may emerge but expect very similar experiences.
Overall, From Here to Eternity offers an interesting and surprisingly gritty experience. The movie shows its age at times, but it still appears to work quite well. The 4K UHD provides excellent picture quality along with generally positive audio and bonus materials. The 4K UHD brings us a fine representation of a classic film.
Note that as of January 2023, the 4K UHD disc of From Here to Eternity can be purchased only as part of a six-movie “Columbia Classics Collection Volume 3”. This set also includes 4K UHD versions of It Happened One Night, To Sir, with Love, The Last Picture Show, Annie and As Good As It Gets.
To rate this film visit the original review of FROM HERE TO ETERNITY