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Suddenly [VHS] (1954)

Frank Sinatra , Sterling Hayden , Lewis Allen  |  NR |  VHS Tape
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Frank Sinatra, Sterling Hayden, James Gleason, Nancy Gates, Kim Charney
  • Directors: Lewis Allen
  • Writers: Richard Sale
  • Producers: Robert Bassler
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Aae Films
  • VHS Release Date: February 21, 1996
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6304019599
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,133,524 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
This review is for the December 4, 2012 Image Entertainment/Blackhawk Films Blu-ray release of the 1954 film SUDDENLY, UPC Code# 0-14381-82005-8, Amazon ASIN: B00960EHUE. There is also information on the HD Cinema Classics version at the end of the review......

If you are reading this review on it's correct page you're probably a fan of the film wondering "Will this be the release where they FINALLY get it right? The answer is a resounding YES! YES! YES! Transferred from the original 35MM fine grain master print, the crisp, clear beautiful black and white transfer is also finally reproduced in the correct aspect ratio and exhibits added picture information on all four sides compared to the literally dozens of earlier Public Domain VHS tape, LaserDisc and DVD releases. It also has two New Audio Commentary tracks, one featuring Frank Sinatra, Jr. (!) and the other by Dr. Drew Casper, Professor of American Film at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. There is also a Short Film by Francis Thompson made in 1957 titled N.Y., N.Y.: A DAY IN NEW YORK, and an Image Gallery.

SUDDENLY stars Frank Sinatra as psychopathic hired presidential assassin John Baron, who with two compatriots take over the hilltop home of retired Secret Service agent Pop Benson (veteran character actor James Gleason) in the small town of Suddenly ("that's a funny name for a town..."), who lives with his widowed daughter-in-law Ellen (Nancy Gates, THIS LAND IS MINE, SOME CAME RUNNING) and grandson "Pidge" (Kim Charney). Sinatra chooses the location since it overlooks the train station where the President is due to make an unscheduled stop.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I'm not a traitor, I won a silver star" October 24, 2004
Frank Sinatra is riveting as a cold-hearted hit man obsessed with his spurious war record, who traps a family in their house, along with a few others that get caught in his net, as he plots to assassinate the president, who is making a stop in Suddenly, California, on his way to Los Angeles. It's a great character study, and Sinatra pulls it off flawlessly, making this a taut thriller, with a quiet, folksy beginning that turns into a nightmare.
Sinatra followed his Oscar Award winning performance in "From Here to Eternity" with this film, which unfortunately hasn't been seen much, and one of the reasons is Sinatra himself; he was horrified to know that Lee Harvey Oswald had watched "Suddenly" shortly before the Kennedy assassination, and requested the film be pulled from distribution.

Co-starring Sterling Hayden who is excellent as Sheriff Tod Shaw, it has well paced direction by Lewis Allen, a crisp script by Richard Sale, and a score by David Raskin. There have been other films with this type of hostage scenario like the '55 Humphrey Bogart "Desperate Hours" and its 1990 remake, and this is up there with the best.
My DVD copy is of the inexpensive variety, a little blurry with imperfect audio (distributed by VINA) but is still fascinating viewing.
Filmed almost entirely in one room, it holds one's attention, mostly due to Sinatra's superb performance.
Total running time is 75 minutes.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sinatra is the bad guy, Hayden is the hero March 30, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
One of two Frank Sinatra movies that dealt with assasination. The other was "Manchurian Candidate." In this one Frank is the bad guy. Sterling Hayden shows no signs of the future characters he will play in major films of the 60s and 70s (Dr. Strangelove, Godfather). Hayden is just the hick town by-the-book sheriff with the Barney Fifeish assistant. This is not a great movie but it moves along nicely and never gets boring. It has some good "what if" situations. It also has wonderful footage of old cars and trains. This would make a good double feature with "Man Who Shot Liberty Valence" because one film pushes the pro gun totin' policy, and one is opposed to the use of weapons. It may surprise you which is which. This is not the best movie of the 1950s but the issues raised are still out there. Tom Willett
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars HAL ROACH EDITION!!!!! April 10, 2011
By larryj1
While the Roach edition of "Suddenly" may have a better picture quality than other releases, the overall transfer is disappointing. It has numerous video issues, along with splices and one instance where there appears to be a small amount of missing dialogue. Have not seen a better overall print yet.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oswald Goes to Mayberry January 28, 2001
By A Customer
I first saw this movie at the Chicago Art Institute about 10 years ago double-billed with "The Manchurian Candidate." The latter movie is one of the great films of all time, and by far Sinatra's best. "Suddenly" is something quite different. Sinatra's performance here is outstanding. He is thoroughly believable and engrossing as the Oswald-like John Barron. Given this performance, it is rather surprising to me that most of the other actors' acting is so terrible and flat. The non-Sinatra scene dialogue seems like it was written by a b-level 50's t.v. writing team - on the level of "The Adventures of Superman" or "The Lone Ranger." But the scenes with Sinatra are very well written and carried out, particularly the interchanges between Sterling Hayden and Sinatra (which really make up the core of the film, the rest is just filler). In fact, these scenes are so good, I forgive the rest of the film while remaining amazed how bad the rest is.
I do want to reiterate one warning made by some of the other reviewer's of this particular DVD version (Madacy Entertainment). The price is hard to fight with, but the film copy they transferred to the DVD was very poor quality. The sound is often very poor (the non-Sinatra scene dialogue sounds very much like it was dubbed in latter), and there are awkward jumps in the film itself, i.e., where it looks like the film either broke and was spliced together rather half-hazzardly, or the sprockets skipped or something. Unfortunately, one of these skips comes during one of the best scenes where Sinatra is talking about how "he hates crowds, and used to dream about that crowd". It seems no one at the company making this DVD bothered to watch it while the transfer to DVD was occurring. Perhaps one of the other DVD versions has a better print, but in lieu of knowing that, my advice would be to videotape the movie next time it is on AMC or TMC - they seem to have better prints of it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything about the movie was great both the color version and the...
Everything about the movie was great both the color version and the B&W. the packaging was great and shipping fantastic.
Published 2 months ago by Man of God
5.0 out of 5 stars SUDDENLY
This classic black and white film is startlingly ALIVE in the first, ever, color version. This is a MUST SEE!
Donald Frederick Curie
Published 2 months ago by DONALD FREDERICK CURIE
5.0 out of 5 stars Suddenly!!!!!
Great, highly underrated movie. The Blu ray transfer was excellent. One of Sinatra's best roles-Sterling Hayden as well. Highly recommended.
Published 3 months ago by Lenard Marcus
5.0 out of 5 stars Suddenly !
Great classic film . Sinatra does a great job again. Picture quality is very good ! No round corners like the other Blu ray version. Also a better price. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Rick Branda
5.0 out of 5 stars old blue eyes' stare gets wild and crazy
Frank Sinatra gives an over the top performance as a hit man hired to assassinate the President. To do so he has to infiltrate Suddenly (an everytown small city in America) with... Read more
Published 4 months ago by likes good books, music, movies
5.0 out of 5 stars The Chairman of the Board is back!
My husband purchased this DVD and we were both pleasantly surprised by the amazing colorization created by Legend Films. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Deidre Ann
5.0 out of 5 stars Suddenly Blu-Ray & DVD Combo Pack
Very good movie about a trio of goons holding a family hostage so they can use the house from which they can assassinate the U.S. president. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Celia DLF
4.0 out of 5 stars Good DVD, both color and Black and White
Good job on the transfer of this movie, but the sound of the dialog is a little low. Four stars
Published 6 months ago by Limitless
5.0 out of 5 stars Suddenly Sinatra!
This is an appealing movie for Sinatra fans. It is the only movie in which Sinatra was a "very bad guy", and it is really worth watching.
Published 8 months ago by John P. Kane
5.0 out of 5 stars Secret service disruption of a small town
The measures seem pitifully ineffective compared to the security the public bares today. Sinatra as a very young man, must have been a good actor from the get go.
Published 9 months ago by William E. Morris
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