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4.1 out of 5 stars
Sudden Fear
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69 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2005
This movie is one of Joan's best films. She made it in the 50's during a slow time in her career after "Mildred Pierce". This was sort of Joan's come-back picture of the 50's. And boy did Joan know how to come back with a vengeance!

Joan plays Myra Hudson (I wonder if she's related to Blanche Hudson?) a successful (and rich) playwright. Myra is re-introduced (she recently fired Lester as lead-actor from her previous Broadway play) to Lester Blaine (played by the very handsome Jack Palance) on a train trip back to her home, from NY.

Myra and Jack soon fall in love and quickly marry. Their marriage seems perfect. Joan's character is an older, successful, beautiful, and highly intelligent women. And Lester wasn't at all intimidated Myra's successes.

...In fact Lester welcomes her success and her money. He soon meets up with his former flame, Irene Neves (played by Gloria Grahame). Irene and Lester plot to murder Myra so they can run away with all of her money.

Myra inadvertently learns of their deceitful plot and thus the title "Sudden Fear" is born! It's now a race against time to see if Myra can sidestep the murder plot.

Joan is absolutely devastatingly beautiful in this picture, and she had such a graceful and elegant presence that always took center stage in this picture. This movie is a must-see for any Joan Crawford fan. I have seen all of her movies and this is right up there with the very best films she made during the 30's & 40's.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2004
This flawless piece of 1950's film noir is only undone by how badly it has been transposed onto DVD. Such a treasure should have been fully restored and digitally transferred yet it seems to have been hurriedly recorded directly from the grainy VHS original and the result is a fine film that just doesn't look right.
That said if you're a lover of great film noir, a fan of Joan Crawford or simply nostalgia itself don't miss the chance to see and own this gem of a movie. Joan was one hard-working and dedicated performer who never 'slummed it' as she used to put it. Forget about all that Mommie Dearest drivel and enjoy the greatest female star of all time's finest hour!
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2004
i love this movie, but when i watched this dvd version of it, i thought for a moment that my tv was playing up.
the sound and image are dreadfull !!!! adjusting sound and vision on tv doesn't help either, i prefer copying a video tape on dvd myself.
that's not all, nowadays we expect a dvd to come with trailers, documentarys etc.. you know some extras to enjoy the whole surrounding that made the movie. here: NOTHING ! nothing at all
compare this with dvd of "mildred pierce" or "straight jacket"
they come with FAB extras.
this dvd version is done with no effort at all.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2007
We all know how famous Crawford was for the melodramas' and the often overacting (think of Queen Bee). However, in Suddent Fear she is truly convincing as the wife who has just discovered her husband is out to kill her, hence the title.

Some very tense scenes in this classic film noir. Crawford herself disputed the choice of Jack Palance as the leading man saying he was not attractive enough for the lead. She was right, he looked very odd, almost plastic. That aside, Jack still puts in a good performance.

The DVD is heavily overpriced. Why it needs to be so expensive is anyone's guess. Especially considering the dismal transfer to DVD. Yes, it is as bad as you have read about in other reviews. No Restoration whatsoever. No extras. Should really be alot cheaper than it is. You are paying for Joan Crawford really.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2003
For anyone who has enjoyed a good print of "Sudden Fear," this DVD is likely to be a disappointment . My copy was so dark that I could not enjoy the performances (especially Joan Crawford hiding in the closet and acting by the whites of her eyes.)
This is one of my favorite films, but I was not happy with the quality of the DVD.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2006
The movie is a masterpiece of noir with performances that are superb. However, the grainy gooey VHS-like picture quality can only be attributed to a very poor and shoddy transfer by KINO.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2011
The picture on this DVD was actually ok. But the sound was absolutely wretched. We had to turn the sound up almost all the way to even hear the dialogue -- and even then it was muffled and unclear. Kino should never be allowed with in 10 miles of a classic old movie. I won't be buying anymore Kino DVD's ever again.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2008
This is one of those great film noir classics and Crawford gives one of her great performances. However, all of this is marred by the poor sound quality by Kino. I had to turn up the volume on my TV all the way to hear it. Crawford (in her last Oscar nominated role) and this superb film deserve much better.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2011
Stars that I always enjoy watching, Joan Crawford, Gloria Grahame...flawless. I could watch this film every week. Love the location shots. Great camera work, authentic locations. Good story...a middle-aged woman who, although extremely bright, is completely deceived by Jack Palance's character...he is, after all, an actor. Love Gloria Grahame...but I would watch anything she was in. The DVD sound is inferior. But I am grateful...I never see this film on TV...cannot understand why. Have not seen this film since it came out and I was a very, young girl. Glad to have it. Took a star off because of the quality of the DVD.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2004
Before I begin my review of 'Sudden Fear' in earnest, I have to point out that this is a really poor transfer to DVD of a 1950's noir classic. Movies like 'Mildred Pierce' and 'The Women' are much older films, but of a far better picture and sound quality.
That said, it's a good thing that this is finally available on DVD, while other Crawford classics like 'Flamingo Road' are still languishing in the Vault someplace.
Now, on with the review. Joan plays Myra Hudson, the successful and wealthy San Francisco playwright, who, after having fired him from her latest hit production, falls in love with and marries an actor named Lester Blaine (Jack Palance). Against all sense and reason, Myra attempts to change her will to leave him with everything, but an overheard conversation between the conniving, unfaithful Lester and his scheming girlfriend Irene (Gloria Grahame) forces her to think very differently. A shocking climax ensues.
Made in 1952, this is Joan's first independent picture, (for RKO Pictures) and revived a flagging career. What we see here is what I like to refer to as Middle-Era Joan, being neither the ultra-glamorous 1940's Joan of 'Mildred Pierce' and 'The Women', nor the screechy, scary Joan of 'Baby Jane' and 'Strait-Jacket'. She turns in a classic Crawford performance as the hapless Myra, full of facial tremblings and overpronunciation. She's excellent as the Victim, but this is perhaps her best performance in a film outside of 'Mildred Pierce' and 'Flamingo Road'. She is touching in the love scenes, and tense and compelling in the suspense scenes. What's also remarkable is the fact that she plays the part of the older-but-none-the-wiser Myra with such honesty, instead of trying to make this on-the-shelf spinster any younger than the script allows.
Jack Palance is excellent, too, as the duplicitous Lester. He's loving and warm with his wife, but menacing and hateful in the private moments with Irene. His face is hypnotic, sometimes it's difficult to watch anything else on the screen, but he does an brilliant job with a character who swings between two extreme poles of emotion.
Gloria Grahame is simply astonishing in her role as Irene Neves. She is cold, manipulating and possesses a strange kind of open-mouthed blatant sexuality that makes her wholly believable as the Mistress. She pouts, schemes and demands her way into the picture, and her performance in what is essentially a supporting role easily stands up to heavyweights like Crawford and Palance.
Direction by David Miller is somewhat experimental for the period, but excellent. The darkness and angles used in lighting the piece gives a real sense of the noir, and the long one-shot scenes add a huge sense of tension and fear.
The ending of the movie is slightly contrived, and a little quick, but we are still left with a tense psychological thriller that stands up today as a fine example of film-making. Highly recommended.
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