I took a Birding and Soul Restoration Walk at low tide yesterday on the beach by the Garfield Ladner Pier in Waveland, Mississippi. It’s one of the sites on the Mississippi Coastal Birding Trail. A happy hour or more passed as I ambled along the shore, taking photos with a couple of different lenses and soaking in the sights, sounds and smells of the sea.
Another happy hour was spent on the couch later, looking at the photos after uploading them onto my aging MacBook Air. This one really struck me. “From here to eternity,” I thought, feeling pulled into the never-endingness represented by the sky.
There are no birds in the photo; the sky is the main character, the star of the show. The beach serves as a very capable supporting actor, the sand having been sculpted by footsteps and receding tide into interesting, eye-catching shapes and tidal pools.
From here to eternity … the beach as a supporting actor … I’m sure my mental association came from the movie of the same name. If ever there was a movie in which the nature setting plays a significant role, has a character of its own, this one is it.
While it wasn’t graphic, gratuitous or explicit, the iconic sand and surf love scene in this 1953 classic is passionate and moving, and has been described as the most famous / most memorable beach scene in the movies.
I read somewhere that the movie “deserves to be remembered for more than a kiss”, and it is. From Here to Eternity was very well received when it was released, earning 13 Oscar nominations and winning eight, including Best Picture and Best Director. The beach wasn’t nominated for Best Supporting Actor, but the film won the Oscar for Best Cinematography, Black and White, and I’m sure the beach had something to do with it. The American Film Institute includes From Here to Eternity on its Top 100 Films list, at #52, and the late film critic Roger Ebert listed the embrace on the beach as one of his 100 Great Movie Moments.
My rambling thoughts which began on the beach and took me to From Here to Eternity made me want to watch the movie again, so I looked up the Turner Classic Movies schedule, and lo and behold, it is being shown today. Serendipity! DVR time! Actually, it’s a rainy day, I might even watch it when it is broadcast, without feeling couch-potato guilt.
I’m a member of the TCM for Fans Facebook group, and will be hoofing it over there next to share this post and ask about other movies in which the setting plays a stand-out role. Do you have any favorites?
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