"Then I'll meet the proper man, with the proper position, to make a proper wife, and can run a proper home and raise proper children. And I'll be happy. Because when you're proper, you're safe."
So says Alma as played by Donna Reed in 1953's FROM HERE TO ETERNITY. Based on the bold best-seller by James Jones, the film was directed by Fred Zinnemann and the screenplay was written by Daniel Taradash. Taradash did an excellent job at keeping key scenes with much of the same dialogue while relocating them to a place that would appease the Hollywood censors of that time. For instance, the famous kissing scene that Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr did on a beach? In the book, the characters said the same lines naked in bed. There was horizontal action for Donna Reed's character too.
Alma was an Oregon girl from the wrong side of the tracks. She loved a guy who rejected her because she was from the wrong side of tracks. Hurt, she headed to Hawaii where she heard she could make "a stocking full o' money." She plans to return to Oregon with enough money to buy a house for her and her mother. She wants security. She falls in love with the Army private. They live together for a time -- until war starts.
One small detail about Lorene moves me every time I see From Here To Eternity. At The New Congress Club, she's Lorene. Then we learn that her real name is Alma. When she's at home with Prew, the Montgomery Clift character, she dresses like the "proper wife" she longs to be. To me, Lorene is probably emotionally detached during on-duty sex at the club. She's in Hawaii, far away from Oregon, where no one knows her. She does what she does solely for the money to make herself and her mother comfortable. Only her body is engaged in sex. Not her heart and soul. It's different with Prew. They love each other. At home, she wears a small crucifix on a chain around her neck.
From Here To Eternity was nominated for 13 Oscars and won 8 of them. It won for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress (Donna Reed) and Frank Sinatra won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor as Prew's loyal friend, Maggio. Maggio, an Italian-American soldier, is the victim of bigotry and bullying.