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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sinatra, Underrated Actor
Suddenly is a small town in America, a small town in which nothing much happens. Until today. The President is due to make an unscheduled stop in Suddenly, and the townsfolk are joined by Secret Service agents there to ensure the President’s safety. They, however, are not the only newcomers in town: a gang, led by Frank Sinatra, are there on an entirely different...
Published on 16 Feb 2006 by Paul D

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good But Unrestored Film
Unfortunately, this version of this good classic old B-Movie film-noire is not restored and is not in great condition. In fact, the quality is similar to what is available for free to download over internet. Good movie, but not worth the price for the quality of the transfer.
Published on 25 April 2010 by Frank


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sinatra, Underrated Actor, 16 Feb 2006
By 
Paul D "Paul" (Darwen, Lancashire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Suddenly [DVD] [1954] (DVD)
Suddenly is a small town in America, a small town in which nothing much happens. Until today. The President is due to make an unscheduled stop in Suddenly, and the townsfolk are joined by Secret Service agents there to ensure the President’s safety. They, however, are not the only newcomers in town: a gang, led by Frank Sinatra, are there on an entirely different mission: to kill the President. He and his two accomplices take over the house of a young widow, whose husband died in the war. Also there are her son, her father in law, the local sheriff, who is in love with her, and a visiting repairman.
This film is a revelation. In other circumstances, Sinatra could have become a top actor rather than a singer. The performance he gives here is masterful, creepy and edgy; he insists that he is not a traitor: in the war, he won a Silver Star. Now he sells his loyalty for cash. His only motivation is the payment he will get from his actions, even though he realises that the President is no more than a figurehead: as soon as the President is killed, another man will take over. This knowledge is what turns this film from a run-of-the-mill thriller into something special.
There are some old-fashioned homilies about loyalty and doing one’s duty, even if that means dying for one’s country, ideas which may not sit well in today’s world. The setting, mainly in one house, gives the film a claustrophobic feel, with characters getting on each other’s nerves.
Sinatra had this film withdrawn when it became known that JFK’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, had watched the film not long before carrying out his assassination. Whether this really had an effect on his actions will never be known, but the situation it presents, and the planning which went into it, certainly make it possible.
This is an underrated and highly watchable film.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good But Unrestored Film, 25 April 2010
By 
Frank (Northampton, England) - See all my reviews
Unfortunately, this version of this good classic old B-Movie film-noire is not restored and is not in great condition. In fact, the quality is similar to what is available for free to download over internet. Good movie, but not worth the price for the quality of the transfer.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Suddenly - the movie, 2 Jan 2010
By 
Dr. H. A. Jones "Howard Jones" (Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Suddenly [1954] [DVD] (DVD)
Suddenly - the movie

Three would-be presidential assassins, led by John Baron (Frank Sinatra), arrive in the small California town of Suddenly - so-called because `It's the way things used to happen around here'. As their vantage point, they take over a house owned by retired Secret Service agent Pop Benson (James Gleason), living with his widowed daughter-in-law Ellen (Nancy Gates) and her son (played by Kim Charney). But the assassins hadn't reckoned on interference from the town sheriff Tod Shaw (Sterling Hayden) and a troup of newly arrived Secret Service men.

This black-and-white movie released in 1954 was withdrawn for several years at Sinatra's request after the assassination of his friend John F. Kennedy. It is only 75 min long and the sound and picture quality are poor by present-day standards, but it is tense throughout that time and all the cast play their parts well. Some aspects of the Sinatra character, and even some of the dialogue he has, were reprised when he played arranger Barney Sloan in Young At Heart. The film score was composed by David Raksin, already known for his score of another thriller, Laura (1944). That theme became so popular that Johnny Mercer provided lyrics to the piece.

For what it is, this film is still thoroughly recommendable, despite its shortcomings.

Young At Heart [DVD]
The Man With the Golden Arm [DVD]
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Suddenly Sinatra, 23 Sep 2003
This is an unknown gem. Think of Mr Sintra's films and you are drawn to his oscar winning performance in 'From Here To Eternity' or the Rat Pack fun of 'Ocean's Eleven', but here we find a darker Sinatra.
The President is going to make a quick stop in the small town of Suddenly, where nothing happens. He should just have to get out his car and get on a train, except there is an assassin plotting to take him out. Sinatra is that assassin, taking hostage a family until his deed is done.
Sinatra is superb, going through the whole range, cocksure hitman to mad lone gunman. Since getting hold of this DVD I have forced everybody I know to sit and appriciate Sinatra's unexpectedly excellent performance.
Sinatra himself pulled the film from any further release after the assassination of JFK, as that case of life imitating art cut a little to close for the President's former drinking buddy.
An extremely watchable movie, made unmissable for Sinatra's performance. Watch and see your opinion of Frank change forever!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Deceptive Aspect Ratio., 23 Jan 2013
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This is NOT a review of this reasonably good thriller but I would love to know why the movie is advertised as Widescreen when it most certainly is NOT. I was always of the notion that a Widescreen movie stretched from one side of a 16.9 TV to the other. Am I wrong? The DVD we have here is full screen yet it states on the case that it is 1.33 Widescreen. Yikes! Is this self-contradictory or what?
Is there anyone out there who could explain to me how a 1.33 aspect ratio movie, can at the same time, be called Widescreen? Help!

Joe Doherty.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars God and the Gun!, 3 Nov 2013
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Suddenly [DVD] [1954] [NTSC] (DVD)
Suddenly is directed by Lewis Allen and written by Richard Sale. It stars Frank Sinatra, Sterling Hayden, James Gleason, Nancy Gates, Kim Charney and Christopher Dark. Music is by David Raksin and cinematography by Charles G. Clarke.

The small American town of Suddenly is gearing up for a pit stop visit by the President of the United States. Unfortunately the President's visit has attracted the attention of assassins, who hold hostage the Benson family and friends as their home is the perfect viewpoint for a sniper shot at the President...

Show me a guy with feelings and I'll show you a sucker.

Sinatra was never comfortable with his role in Suddenly, even before he "requested" it be removed from circulation post the assassination of his friend JFK in 63, there was a feeling within the Sinatra camp that playing such a despicable character would harm his image. More so as it came a year after his Oscar winning performance in From Here to Eternity. Blue Eyes would even try to make good on the characterisation by reversing the roles as it were for The Manchurian Candidate 1962, but of course a lot of things changed after November 22nd 1963. This all gives Suddenly a curiosity value that it actually doesn't need, for it's a gripping thriller capable of standing on its own two feet, and it's boosted by a terrific performance from Sinatra, one of his best in fact.

That it was hard to see for quite some time is a shame, because it deserves to be better known. The makers take a hostage scenario and give it a noir edge by way of the conspiracy angle, some paranoia, a family in peril and a strong noir staple of a returning soldier from a war badly scarred by his experiences. In this case John Baron (Sinatra) has the taste for killing, as he is taunted by chief hostage Sheriff "Tod" Shaw (Hayden) about his means and motives, that Baron just likes to kill, Baron repeatedly rants that he was a Silver Star winner, that he killed 27 German soldiers, but this doesn't hide the fact that he has no compunction about killing the President for money. To him the President is just a mark of no significant interest, Baron is a real cold fish and Sinatra gives a thunderously twitchy coiled spring portrayal.

Sinatra is backed up by Hayden doing one of his strong macho type turns, and Gleason scores best of the support actors as a wise old boy who himself was once in the Secret Service. These two bastions of Americana off set the near irritating characterisations of Ellen Benson (Gates) and Peter Benson III (Charney), the former the hysterical female, the latter the annoying kid saying illogical things. However, these two stereotypes don't harm the picture, because director Allen manages to keep the group under duress dynamic ticking away, smothering it with claustrophobic atmosphere to then unleash all for the explosive finale.

It's set in daylight and visually it's nothing to get excited about, in fact much of the film is set in one living room, while the patriotism over traitorism is a necessary piece of thematic flag waving. But this comes highly recommended as entertainment as sleepy small town Americana is jolted out of its stupor. 8/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sharp low-budget thriller, 16 Jun 2010
By 
K. Gordon - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Suddenly [DVD] [1954] (DVD)
Intense, sometimes hokey thriller of small time hoods led by a surprisingly good Frank Sinatra, paid to assassinate the president when he stops in a small town. They take a family hostage, and cat-and-mouse game ensues. Sometimes obvious, some weak supporting performances, stagy. But still more fun and tense then most modern Hollywood thrillers.

A warning, I've tried several different versions of this on DVD and have yet to find a decent looking copy. I guess it must be in public domain since so many versions are out there. You might try renting and see if you can find a version that's not scratched up, missing frames, etc.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A different Sinatra, 13 Feb 2010
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Whilst talking with friends about an old film called "Suddenly last summer" I remembered a "B" movie from way back called "Suddenly" with Frank Sinatra in a non-singing role and playing a really nasty character. This prompted me to look it up and buy it. Although a bit dated,I thoroughly enjoyed watching it again.It was just as tense as I recall it the first time around and filming in black and white added to the atmospheric thriller.Sterling Hayden was excellent as the small town Sheriff and Sinatra was even better as the would be assassin of The American President.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great drama, 15 May 2008
This review is from: Suddenly [DVD] [1954] (DVD)
Suddenly is one of my all time favourite films, mainly due to Sinatra's excellent performance. Sterling Hayden is as always Sterling Hayden, not much of a surprise there. Sinatra, however, begins the film with the portrayal of a cocksure hit-man who seems to be an ice cold control freak. Throughout the film, a cat and mouse game between Hayden and Sinatra unfolds resulting in Sinatra losing his cool. The cold blooded killer, slowly and bit by bit, turns into a deranged psychopath. This is certainly one of the most impressive performances I have ever seen in my life and shows what a fine actor Sinatra was. All in all, it's a fairly unspectacular B movie with not much of a story that turns into a nail bitingly exciting game of life and death between the two men. A must see.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Satisfactory drama, intriguing provenance, 3 Aug 2005
By 
Budge Burgess (Troon, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Suddenly [DVD] [1954] (DVD)
A film which explores the moral ambiguity of gun ownership without actually making its viewpoint specific, and a film made famous for its subsequent history rather than the quality of its production.
The US president is changing trains in a small town. The local police chief is entrusted with the secret and given the task of making sure everything runs smoothly. Overlooking the station is the home of a widow whom the policeman is wooing - this is the 1950's, it's quite coy. He buys her son a cap pistol - she is outraged that he should be encouraging the boy to play with guns.
But there are others about to appear who have no worries about playing with guns. Frank Sinatra plays a former soldier, a sniper in World War 2, a fractured, disturbed individual who found a role and a purpose when he had a gun in his hand ... and who is now a professional assassin intent on gunning down the president.
In places, a tense, well-paced drama, much of the action takes place within the widow's sitting room. It can be a touch claustrophobic in places, the storyline a tad predictable, and some of the acting appears melodramatic half a century down the line.
Not a bad film in its own right, but, even with Sinatra's presence it would likely have remained an obscure B-movie, remembered only to 'Old Blue Eyes' aficionados and film buffs had it not been watched by Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before he assassinated Kennedy.
And suddenly the narrative and dialogue of this film ratchet up several points! The film voices the outrage of ordinary citizens at the concept of killing a president, yet, for Sinatra's character, the president is merely a figurehead, someone who will be replaced by another the instant the bullet strikes ... but that one bullet will earn him a fortune, and make him a somebody. His character is a loner, a man who only really discovered an identity in the army, a man who is searching for some purpose or direction. Did that appeal to Oswald? Did it strike a note? Did it tip the balance?
Sinatra had the film withdrawn when he discovered the Oswald connection, and was clearly concerned that he had been an influence. And, watching the film, regardless of your position on the grassy knoll and conspiracy theories, there are some chilling aspects which invest this film with a very sinister provenance.
As a film, as a piece of drama, it's entertaining enough and, despite its obvious age and dated style, it was one of the few films in its day to actually make guns, and toy guns at that, a matter worthy of thought, if not concern. It would be worth a watch, too, for the performance by Sinatra, which is highly polished and proves he can act the bad guy when necessary. But the Oswald association makes this something of a gratuitous classic. Watch and think.
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Suddenly [DVD] [1954]
Suddenly [DVD] [1954] by Lewis Allen (DVD - 2003)
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