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Suddenly

Released Sep 17, 1954 1h 15m Mystery & Thriller List
100% Tomatometer 10 Reviews 63% Audience Score 1,000+ Ratings In advance of a presidential visit to the small town of Suddenly, California, a trio of FBI agents enters the Benson family's home to assess potential security risks. Once inside, leader John Baron (Frank Sinatra) reveals himself as a psychopathic assassin, and he kidnaps the family in order to use their house as his vantage point in his plot to kill the president. Sheriff Tod Shaw (Sterling Hayden) matches wits with the assassin and his gang in an attempt to save the day. Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Buy Now

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Critics Reviews

View All (10) Critics Reviews
V.A. Musetto New York Post Rated: 3/4 Mar 27, 2004 Full Review Eddie Harrison film-authority.com Suddenly is a tough, unsparing film that is worth a revival today; as a historical document, is captures a sense of pessimism and entropy that wasn’t given free rein until the rampant downbeat paranoia of the 70’s…. Rated: 3/5 Dec 4, 2022 Full Review Clyde Gilmour Maclean's Magazine Some of the characters are rather thinly imagined but Frank Sinatra as the chief killer proves again (as he did last year in From Here to Eternity) that he doesn't need to sing to keep his name in lights. Dec 10, 2019 Full Review David Nusair Reel Film Reviews ...a decent (and appreciatively brisk) little B movie. Rated: 2.5/4 Aug 8, 2018 Full Review James Plath Family Home Theater If you remove the hokum--the overly obvious and period-wholesome nonsense that frames the main narrative--Suddenly is a taut thriller in the Key Largo mold. Rated: B Jan 16, 2018 Full Review Christopher Null Filmcritic.com Rated: 3.5/5 Nov 11, 2006 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

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Ashley H Suddenly is an okay film. It is about three gangsters who have the intention of killing the president of the USA. Frank Sinatra and Sterling Hayden give decent performances. The screenplay is a little slow in places. Lewis Allen did an alright job directing this movie. I liked this motion picture because of the drama. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 03/16/24 Full Review Steve D A cynical dark and unsatisfying film. Rated 1 out of 5 stars 01/23/24 Full Review CKB This entertaining film doesn't really hold together except as a vehicle for Frank Sinatra to show off his newly-honed acting chops, and as an early example of Cold War propaganda. The plot is not so much about a presidential assassination attempt but instead centers on the transformation of a war widow, desperate to insulate herself and her young son from war and killing, into someone who takes action to defend herself and all she loves. She serves as a metaphor for war-weary Americans who were reluctant to buy into their political leaders' newly-minted Cold War in the early 50s. This woman's sleepy little town is quietly infiltrated by evil assassins hired to kill the POTUS, showing that this could happen anywhere, and we should all be very afraid. This is paralleled by a very public invasion by the Secret Service and State Troopers who take over the town in police state fashion without telling its residents why. Both sets of invaders belong to the emergent Cold War narrative. The plot depends on Secret Service agents largely ignoring this woman's house, which affords the best view of the train station where the president will arrive, but in reality they would immediately commandeer such a location to monitor the situation. In a telling irony, one of the assassins is played by Paul Frees, who would soon become the voice of Boris Badenov, the cartoon Cold War spy whose mission to ‘keel Moose and Squirrel' constantly fails. Frank Sinatra has top billing and clearly intends to own this movie, stealing every scene with charisma and a supportive cameraman. His assassin character is a narcissistic loser who discovered the joy of killing as a soldier in WWII (before getting a Section 8 discharge) and has found post-war empowerment as a hit man. Such an uncharacteristic bad guy role suits Sinatra fine, however, since he can give full rein to his personal narcissism to play this part to the hilt. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 05/29/23 Full Review Shioka O A little crime drama. Sinatra did a job. This is almost a decade before the assassination of JF Kennedy, might influenced the hitman. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 03/02/23 Full Review Audience Member Very taut little movie. Everyone does does a good job, but this is Frank's movie. Like Marilyn Monroe, I think a lot of people today forget that Frank Sinatra was a talented actor. It's a shame this movie doesn't have more name recognition. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/16/23 Full Review Liam D Frank Sinatra (On the Town, The Oscar) and Sterling Hayden (The Last Command, Variety Girl) keep the tension up in this nerve shattering Noir Thriller Rated 5 out of 5 stars 11/14/21 Full Review Read all reviews
Suddenly

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Cast & Crew

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Movie Info

Synopsis In advance of a presidential visit to the small town of Suddenly, California, a trio of FBI agents enters the Benson family's home to assess potential security risks. Once inside, leader John Baron (Frank Sinatra) reveals himself as a psychopathic assassin, and he kidnaps the family in order to use their house as his vantage point in his plot to kill the president. Sheriff Tod Shaw (Sterling Hayden) matches wits with the assassin and his gang in an attempt to save the day.
Director
Lewis Allen
Producer
Robert Bassler
Screenwriter
Richard Sale
Production Co
Libra Productions Inc.
Genre
Mystery & Thriller
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
Sep 17, 1954, Limited
Release Date (Streaming)
Nov 1, 2012
Runtime
1h 15m
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