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English   Country: USA   Year: 1954



Lewis Allen


Frank Sinatra; Sterling Hayden; James Gleason


DramaFilm NoirThriller


Sinatra plays a psycho killer who takes over a house in a small town in a plot to assassinate the President. Black & White.


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User Reviews


(Average=3.55 out of 5; Total Number=20)


Unknown, strange companies crawling out of the woodwork have been, up till now, foisting ill-wind versions of Frand Sinatra in his early surprise hit, SUDDENLY!, a film packed with excitement but the sole purveyors of this excellently high-quality master created from the original 35mm master and, with the quality so high, all one has to do is pay attention and by the second reel--you're hooked. It's short, taught, and guaranteed to impress the riff-raff. Even the old Groaner would love this one. And this is the ORIGINAL version which means great visual field and, most imnportantly---NO "LETTERBOXED" VERSIONS!! This film was shot in a flat, square format, and there it shall stay. Buy the Hal Roach Studios version and avoid the phoney letterbox but receive the best possible show for your trouble. And, that's a promise!! Remember, it was Hal Roach Studios that Colorized "Suddenly" which could only be done from really fine underlying black and white materials and that's what's being offerted here, so enjoy. And, unlike the first try at the color version, "Old Brown Eyes is NOT back"--we made them change them to blue!! Highly recommended

Sinatra Is The Bad Guy, Hayden Is The Hero (rating=4)

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

Don't Mess Around. See VHS To Appreciate (rating=4)

Most have told about the basic plot. The President is scheduled to have a train stop at Suddenly, a small town near nowhere. The local folk called the town Occassionally at best. Sinatra&two thugs are hired to Oswald the Pres. But before Sinatra enters, we have dialogue between semi-Arnett sheriff Hayden and his lady friend, a woman who lost her husband in WW II and seems to be dodging reality. At an early point one telltale sign is given when the lady, while rebuffing the sheriff also listens. And, the sheriff is loved by her son and father.

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