Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Forgotten Movies: Suddenly




The fabulous Sterling Hayden plays the sheriff of a small town called Suddenly, which is along a railroad line where the President will soon be passing. A hit man (Sinatra) and his thugs find the perfect spot for his assassination in the home of Hayden's girlfriend (Nancy Gates).

This is a short taut movie that is unbearably exciting. Sinatra makes a perfect hit-man and the simplicity of the story, town, and story make it a brilliant film. Directed by Lewis Allen and written by Richard Sale.

There was some speculation that this film inspired Lee Harvey Oswald.

For more forgotten movies, check with Todd Mason.

19 comments:

Andrez Bergen said...

Class.

Anonymous said...

Great choice. Sinatra did a great job in this little known movie. Everything worked: the cast, the setting, the photography.

Jeff M.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Patti, great choice, indeed! I liked this film very much and wrote about it sometime last year. Sinatra is in his element.

Ed Gorman said...

Really good movie. It gave psycho-Frankie a chance to play his real self for once.:) This is one of those little Bs that hold up just about perfectly even after six decades.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I think its simplicity is its strength. And Sinatra did make a good villain. His coldness was persuasive.

Deb said...

I seem to remember that after JFK's assassination, Sinatra refused to allow the movie to be shown--which, if true, may be one of the reasons it was rarely seen for many years.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I would be surprised if he had that much control over it. But maybe he bought the rights?

Deb said...

The Wikipedia entry for "Suddenly" makes no mention of Sinatra pulling the film after JFK's assassination, so perhaps that was just an urban legend. However, I did learn that "Suddenly" was one of the first black-and-white movies to be colorized--and, in the process, Sinatra's famous blue eyes were colored brown!

pattinase (abbott) said...

I'm glad they gave that idea up.

Todd Mason said...

Sinatra discouraged distribution of THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE and probably in a back-channel way of SUDDENLY as well. And, indeed, Sinatra and Hayden (playing a slightly stiff, forthright, more intelligent than he appears hick town cop) had rarely if ever had roles they could more easily hit out of the park.

Todd Mason said...

http://youtu.be/GpIFebhOtb8

for the whole film on YT.

Dave Zeltserman said...

Sterling Hayden was great, wasn't he?

Erik Donald France said...

May have seen this way way ago . . this or one with similar premise. What stood out at the time was the use of car phones decades before car phones were in general use. . .

pattinase (abbott) said...

Hayden was always great. Need to read his memoirs.
Don't remember that, Erik but I haven't seen in a decade or more.

Yvette said...

Haven't seen this in years, Patti. But I vaguely remember seeing in the theater when I did. Maybe it's time to view it again.

Todd Mason said...

They weren't THAT uncommon, but cost the Earth...carphones, that is. The weird lighters in THE MALTESE FALCON tended to distract me more on first viewing!

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

Weirdly this is one of those films that went from being long unavailable to dropping into the public domain so now it's available everywhere but rarely in a decent print, which is a shame because it deserved better. Allen also directed one of my other favourite (and still hard-to-find) movies, the ghost story THE UNINVITED

pattinase (abbott) said...

Love THE UNVITED.
I need to watch this again if only to see the car phones.

Deb said...

Speaking of encounters with unexpected technology, I was watching an old black-and-white movie on TCM earlier today--I didn't stay for the whole thing and the only actor I recognized was a very young Buddy Ebsen--but at one point there was a scene in a hospital and I said out loud, "Wait, is that a computer terminal behind the nurse?" Of course, it wasn't--but it was a screen that lit up with the room number when a patient pushed a button in their room. The movie couldn't have been more recent than the early 40s, but there was a monitor of some sort right there.