A Man for All Seasons

  • Directors: Fred Zinnemann
  • Producers: Fred Zinnemann
  • Writers: Robert Bolt
  • Genres: Biography, Drama
  • Actors: Paul Scofield, Wendy Hiller, Leo McKern, Orson Welles, Robert Shaw, Susannah York, John Hurt, Nigel Davenport

Sir Thomas More was the 16th-century Lord Chancellor of England who refused to sign a letter asking the Pope to annul the King’s marriage and resigned rather than take an Oath of Supremacy declaring the King the Supreme Head of the Church of England. The King is Henry VIII of England and his wife is Catherine of Aragon, the first of an eventual six wives. Both the play and the film portray More as a man of principle, motivated by his devout Roman Catholic faith and envied by rivals such as Thomas Cromwell. He is also deeply loved by the common people and by his family.

From Here to Eternity

  • Directors: Fred Zinnemann
  • Producers: Buddy Adler
  • Writers: James Jones, Daniel Taradash
  • Genres: Drama, Romance, War
  • Actors: Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed, Frank Sinatra, Ernest Borgnine

Private Robert E. Lee Prewitt (Montgomery Clift) is transferred to Schofield Barracks on the island of Oahu. When Captain Dana Holmes (Philip Ober) learns of his reputation as a talented boxer, he pressures Prewitt to join the regimental boxing club that he heads, but the enlisted man stubbornly refuses. 1st Sergeant Milton Warden (Burt Lancaster) suggests that he try to get Prewitt to change his mind by making life as difficult as possible. He gets the other non-commissioned officers to help. Prewitt is supported only by his friend, Private Angelo Maggio (Frank Sinatra).

Behind his commander’s back, Warden begins an affair with Holmes’ neglected wife Karen (Deborah Kerr). As their relationship develops, she asks him to apply for officer training, so she can divorce Holmes and marry him. When he is finally forced to admit that he doesn’t want to be an officer, she sadly ends the affair.

Meanwhile, Maggio antagonizes bigoted Staff Sergeant James R. “Fatso” Judson (Ernest Borgnine). When the undisciplined Maggio goes AWOL, he is sentenced to the stockade, under Judson’s charge. Judson takes the opportunity to beat the defiant prisoner repeatedly. Maggio manages to escape and find Prewitt; he tells him of the abuse he endured, then dies. Prewitt finds Judson and kills him in revenge in a knife fight, but suffers a serious wound across the stomach in the process. He then goes into hiding in the apartment of his girl Lorene (Donna Reed), a nightclub “hostess” with whom he had become acquainted. His wound refuses to heal.

When the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, Prewitt tries to return to camp, but is shot dead by a sentry. At the end, Lorene and Karen meet on a ship leaving for the mainland. Lorene tells Karen that her fiancé was an air force pilot shot down in the attack, but Karen recognizes Prewitt’s name.

High Noon

  • Directors: Fred Zinnemann
  • Producers: Stanley Kramer, Carl Foreman
  • Writers: John W Cunningham, Carl Foreman
  • Genres: Drama, Western
  • Actors: Gary Cooper, Thomas Mitchell, Lloyd Bridges, Katy Jurado, Grace Kelly

Will Kane (Gary Cooper), the longtime Marshal of Hadleyville, New Mexico Territory, has just married pacifist Quaker Amy (Grace Kelly), turned in his badge, and is preparing to move away to become a storekeeper. Soon after, the town learns that Frank Miller (Ian MacDonald), a criminal Kane brought to justice, is due to arrive on the noon train. Miller had been sentenced to the gallows, but was pardoned for reasons never stated in the film. In court, he had vowed to get revenge on Kane and anyone who got in his way. His three gang members wait for him at the station. The worried townspeople encourage Kane to leave, hoping to defuse the situation.

Kane and his wife leave, but Kane has a crisis of conscience and turns back. He reclaims his badge and tries to swear in help, but it becomes clear that no one is willing to get involved. His deputy, Harvey Pell (Lloyd Bridges), resigns. Only his former lover, Helen RamГ­rez (Katy Jurado), supports him, but there is little she can do to help. Disgusted, she sells her business and prepares to leave town. His wife threatens to leave on the noon train with or without him, but he stubbornly refuses to give in.

In the end, Kane faces the four gunmen alone. He guns down two of Miller’s men, though he himself is wounded. Helen Ramirez and Amy both board the train, but Amy gets off when she hears the sound of gunfire. Amy chooses her husband’s life over her religious beliefs and kills the third gunman by shooting him in the back. Miller then takes her hostage and offers to trade her for Kane. Kane agrees, coming out into the open. Amy, however, claws Miller’s face, causing him to release her. Kane then shoots and kills him. Then, as the cowardly townspeople emerge, Kane contemptuously throws his marshal’s star in the dirt and leaves town with his wife.