From Here to Eternity
As producer Tim Rice said in his introduction to this preview screening of From Here to Eternity, the night was about showcasing a musical that had enjoyed a six-month run on the West End and was now being immortalised in film for everyone’s continued enjoyment. Fair enough, because it’s a pretty good show. From Here to Eternity is big, melodramatic, and at times a true spectacle. The set pieces are fantastic, the musical numbers complemented by kinetic choreography, and the talented cast give an excellent performance overall.
Robert Lonsdale as the damaged but ultimately heroic Private Prewitt was captivating to watch, and Darius Campbell had a compelling richness to his baritone. Leading ladies Siubhan Harrison and Rebecca Thornhill did well to be more than the romantic interests in a heavily male-centric script.
And although From Here to Eternity sometimes suffers when the drama gets laden on a little too thick and syrupy, you can’t help but be moved when all the bombs go off and the hero sits clutching his chest, trying to stopper the trail of blood. It’s just that kind of show.
So how, then, does From Here to Eternity work as a film? The cinematography is dynamic and utilises the available space effectively. The stage is opened up to audiences in ways not possible from the stalls: we get sweeping pans, dramatic close-ups and top-down shots. From Here to Eternity seems tailor-made for a cinematic experience: there are explosions, multiple set changes, and even some terrific slow motion scenes. The tightness and forced attention that cinema affords means these thing don’t get missed by the audience. Yet other things do get lost. The choreography by Javier De Frutos is so snappy and precise that you want to be able to see every bit of it, but you won’t. Perhaps more importantly, you’ll lose the atmosphere of actually being there; the buzz of the audience, or the hum of the orchestra before the show. It’s this and a few glaring cuts in the editing that make you wonder whether you shouldn’t just be seeing this show live.
Due to a technical glitch during the final moments of the screening we were unable to see the closing number of From Here to Eternity, which was a real shame: without the usual send-off of a musical theatre show there wasn’t the cathartic release it had been building too. Presumably this sort of thing won’t happen during the film’s run, so it’s not something an average audience should have to worry about. Instead, they should come away having seen a dynamic and pacey show that loses a little, but gains a lot from its cinematic showing.
From Here to Eternity is released nationwide on 3rd July 2014.