From Here To Eternity Gets Its Gay Back


From Here to Eternity, the 1951 James Jones novel that gave birth to the classic 1953 film, may be best known today for its iconic rolling-in-the-surf love scene. But if the unexpurgated version had been published, we’re guessing Frank Sinatra would never have signed on.

Jones’ heirs have agreed to publish an e-version of the manuscript, including bits considered unseemly by original publishers. Says the BBC,

It will include a scene in which Private Angelo Maggio – the character played by singer Frank Sinatra in the film – reveals he is paid to have oral sex with another man. Another scene referring to a military investigation into possible homosexual activity will also feature in the text…The restored version will also include profanity that was considered too extreme for Eternity’s original publisher Scribner.

The Maggio role — which Sinatra allegedly won by horse-in-bed-style strong-arm tactics — revitalized the singer’s career and won him an Oscar. But it’s hard to believe he would have coveted the role — let alone inspired the Godfather — in its true form. But whatever cinema’s gains, the edits chagrined the author, and these revisions would surely please him. As his daughter told the New York Times, “My father fought bitterly to hold on to every four-letter word in the manuscript…The publisher was concerned about getting through the censors.”

From Here To Eternity Uncensored 60 Years Later
Author’s Heirs Uncensor A Classic War Novel [NY Times]

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