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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).Read more ›
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.
At the time of its release, Frank's detractors probably thought his naturalistic rendering of the sadistic assassin-for-hire in this story was mere typecasting. Sterling Hayden's stilted delivery (as Sheriff Tod Shaw) doesn't come off as well, especially when he bellows in typically stentorian fashion the line, "Because I love you."
James Gleason, as retired Secret Service man Pop Benson, partly scripted and appeared in the first all-talking picture to win an Oscar, MGM's THE BROADWAY MELODY (1929). One of his most memorable roles was the ice skating cabbie in THE BISHOP'S WIFE (1947).
Nancy Gates, who's very good as the gun-hating widow, worked with Frank again in Vincente Minnelli's SOME CAME RUNNING (1958).
Paul Frees, the gang's lookout, portrayed Peter Lorre in the Spike Jones hit, "My Old Flame." He's best known for his many cartoon character voices.
James O'Hara (Jud the TV repairman) was Maureen's brother.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
First presidential assassination movie for "Blue Eyes", the second one Manchurian Candidate  he even paid to have made and withdrew from public after Kennedy was... Read morePublished 1 month ago by IrishBaron
Suddenly, 1954 film
This was made in 1954, when Eisenhower was President and Nixon was next in line. [What could they have been thinking? Read more
Straight from the 1950's we bring you, as was the case, the deep seeded neuroses of the time. And we bring it well. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Russell S
While this is an excellent movie, this particular streaming version is very low quality. The picture is fuzzy and the sound quality is awful. Read morePublished 6 months ago by John D.
Intense, sometimes hokey thriller of small time hoods led by a surprisingly good Frank Sinatra, paid to assassinate the president when he makes a train stop in a small town. Read morePublished 7 months ago by K. Gordon
A vicious role for Frank, this right after " From Here To Eternity"Published 9 months ago by Old Pirate
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