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"From Here to Eternity" contains the best performance delivered by an actor of any gender on celluloid. Montgomery Clift is assertive, funny, tough, sensitive and charismatic in the pivotal role of Robert E. Lee Prewitt, the rebellious loner with the streak of nobility. It is easy to see why James Dean idolized him after seeing his portrayal in the film. It is also a shame modern actors don't mention his name more often when listing their influences. As often noted, he preceded Brando by two years (he first appeared in Red River, released in 1948; Brando bowed in The Men in 1950)and created the arch-type of the 1950's rebel. But due to his intelligence, Clift also informed his characters with a sense of purpose. He didn't simply rebel. For instance, in Eternity, he apologises after an angry outbreak at his girlfriend. Instead of appearing weak, he impressed me all the more for doing so. It makes him appear more mature than the typical rebel. In another instance, when he feels his friend Maggio is being unfairly attacked, he "stares down" the attacker proving he looks out for his friend, another attractive quality. When the non-coms dole out extra punishment to him to force him to box, he refuses to file a complaint but likewise refuses to comply to their demands. Such moments distinguish Clift from other, more typically macho Hollywood leading men of the era and contributed greatly to Eternity's long initial run at the box office and its status as a classic piece of Hollywood cinema. It is time someone set the record straight and restored Montgomery Clift's name to its rightful place in the pantheon of Hollywood's great leading men. For proof, look no further than From Here to Eternity.