I’ve been belly-aching since early November 2009 about Sony Home Video’s refusal to release a Bluray of From Here to Eternity, despite Grover Crisp‘s digital restoration having been completed three and a half years ago. Over and over I’ve written about Sony spokesperson Fritz Friedman, an extremely kind and considerate guy, giving me the old friendly run-around whenever I ask. “Maybe next year…before too long…down the road,” etc.

Sony management obviously doesn’t see much revenue potential for a Bluray of this, one of Columbia’s crown jewels, but why can’t they make it available through some kind of Warner Archives-type arrangement or at least offer a digital download through iTunes or Amazon Prime?

I’m writing this because I had never seen Crisp’s high-def version of Fred Zinneman‘s 1953 Best Picture winner until it played on Turner Classic Movies a couple of nights ago. It’s clearly a significant enhancement over the DVD version that everyone has been looking at for the last 11 years or so. “Prettier”, less contrasty, smoother skin tones, greater specificity (especially in terms of the fabrics, hair follicles and the glistening look of rain-soaked streets) and so on. I like my Blurays to “pop” above and beyond what i’m used to from DVD versions, and Crisp’s Eternity definitely does that.

Why doesn’t Sony just sell the Bluray rights to Criterion?

It’s just a shame that a better-looking version of a venerated classic is being kept out of collector hands ad infinitum. Here it is Oscar night, and 59 years ago at the 1954 Oscars ceremony this puppy won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay (Daniel Tarsdash), Best Supporting Actor (Frank Sinatra) and Best Supporting Actress (Donna Reed), and the home video division of the remnant of Harry Cohn‘s once-great Columbia Pictures refuses to honor it with a Bluray version that offers an unmistakable visual upgrade? Later this year Paramount will issue a 60th anniversary Bluray of George StevensShane, another 1953 standout. Why doesn’t Sony get the lead out?

(l. to r.) Frank Sinatra, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr, Burt Lancaster, James Jones and Fred Zinneman on way to Honolulu for filming.