|OpenFlix > Suddenly|
Sinatra's crew enters the lady's house while the sheriff is there, posing as FBI agents. Then they take over the house, coldly shooting a Secret Service agent who is there visiting. The house overlooks the train's stopping point, again relating to JFK. The toy that Sheriff bought for the son comes into play. For some strange reason Sinatra deploys one of his thugs to check the station area. Being recognized by a deputy, there is a quick brutal exchange of gunfire. Sinatra, still seeking the 1/4 million due on completion of the task gets more vicious. But, the other thug gets careless. Don't worry. When the first gunshot is fired between the thug and deputy, the SS telegraphs train and Pres. to speed through the town with no sudden stop.
Sinatra plays an excellent role being at ease in a despicable cold role, despite his Section 8 military past. Hayden's role is believable. Pops is also likable. But the quiet shy shaken lady suddenly finds courage to take action, almost like a mirage. And at the end, she is standing by her car inviting the sheriff to join her (finally) at church the following week. The ensuing kiss is as flat and out of place as knight's armor in "Saving Private Ryan."
The movie moves along even though a bit of the banter is more obvious than necessary. Sinatra is highlighted for his talents and shows true acting ability. Contrary to others, I find Hayden to be believable and in character.
The film is shot in black and white to try and highlight contrasts between good and evil. This is also too obvious.
I have problems rating this video as a Film Noir. At the same time I wonder why those who have complained about the poor quality of the DVD version forget that VHS still exists. The VHS copy is clean and has good shots as well as inclusive sound.
This is a very good film, especially for those who like action without sex or cussing. It is stark yet one has to wonder if Sinatra as gang boss who carefully planned the hit could be so stupid. Maybe this adds to the realism: "A sure sudden thing."
I recommend the VHS version. It is less than 1 1/2 hours and much better than scores of films twice as long. This highlights Sinatra and shows "what if." One has to wonder if the film was shown to Secret Service and FBI agents before the JFK murder. If not, why not? Barring it for a while afterward???
Rent or buy used via VHS and enjoy. Add to your collection. The price is right in VHS. Adding this to "The Man with a Golden Arm" (with Kim Novak) along with a few LPs/CDs creates a fine inclusive collection of Sinatra's artistry and film library.
Dr. Alan Kardoff, Mgmtdr
Directly in the wake of his Oscar-winning comeback inFrom Here to Eternity, Frank Sinatra took on the role of a psychopathic hit man in this taut, low-budget film noir. The choice shows how interested Sinatra was in serious acting during the mid- to late '50s; there's nothing remotely likable about this angular, neurotic assassin. He's in the small town of Suddenly to kill the president, who is passing through on a quick train stop. Sinatra makes hostages of a local family and sheriff Sterling Hayden, and the film is basically a countdown to the president's arrival, with Sinatra's patter getting loonier as the day goes on. Aside from the interest of Sinatra's performance (very focused and downright perverse at times), and the film's place in the American noir tradition,Suddenly is uncannily prophetic on the subject of assassination. It's clear that the killer is doing it for the fame as well as the money, a theme that would crop up in later confessions of real-life killers or would-be killers. Perhaps the 1954 film was too prophetic; like Sinatra'sManchurian Candidate, this movie was pulled from circulation for years after the JFK assassination. According to Kitty Kelley's bio of Sinatra, Lee Harvey Oswald saw this film a few days before he took rifle in hand. Now in the public domain,Suddenly is generally available in cheap, scratchy prints.--Robert Horton
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