The massive James Jones novel, deemed impossible to put onscreen because of its strong sexual content and language, finally emerged as a lavish, star-studded spectacle, much bowdlerized but redeemed by a slew of fine performances.
The film opens as Robert E. Lee Prewitt (Montgomery Clift), a soldier with a reputation as both a fine boxer and bugler, arrives at Schofield Barracks at Pearl Harbor. His new commander, the brutal, philandering Captain Holmes (Philip Ober), promises Prewitt that if he boxes on the company team he
will be rewarded with the post of bugler--a job Prewitt covets. But Prewitt refuses, haunted by a previous ugly experience in the ring. For ...