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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 (80 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 (80 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6304019599
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,148,811 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 19 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 20 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 15 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
FRONT ROW ENTERTAINMENT's discs offer no commentary, deleted scenes, subtitles or other bonus features. Dubs are "best available source" and can vary from very good to only fair.

SUDDENLY (1954) is one of two films that Frank Sinatra tried to suppress in the wake of JFK's assassination (the other being THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE from 1962). Ironically, this UNITED ARTISTS crime drama eventually fell into the public domain and has been widely available since the dawn of the VCR era.

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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent but not perfect......
The Roan laserdisc introduced me to this taught low budget thriller (do you remember those big 12" silver discs) it had technical flaws but I believe I still have it somewhere. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Trevor
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 3 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 5 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 7 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 7 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 8 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 9 months ago by John P. Kane
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