- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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A Real 5-Star Thriller
- el debbo
The story rolls rapidly along, clickety clack, like the wheels of the train taking them to San Francisco. Crawford and Palance are lovebirds, some say mismatched, but I didn't see that. His memory for prose, his reading aloud to her...(great literature, of course), his enthusiasm for the lifestyle she gave him, his gratitude in the form of sweet nothings and lovemaking...I can see why she was smitten. Palance is perfect for the part, especially the way he looks when he watches her in a darkened room. Those cheekbones! There's something malevolent about his profile.Lots of suspense, a good powerful-woman theme, and plenty of swag in the form of beautiful clothes and settings.Her office was just wonderful, and when she snapped all the necessary switches on her recorder, she was wonderful.
Crawford And Palance are Great !
- DON RILEY
You see many "good" films on TCM. This is film is a "cut above" in my mind. Some of the writing is not all that crisp and sharp, in my opinion, good but not great. So, my Kudos go to Joan Crawford at the top of the list, I found this performance to be near perfect. Brilliant in my mind, I find Joan Crawford supremely attractive, because of her intelligence on film. I also found Jack Palance to be very attractive, so I don't understand any counters to that thinking. Gloria Grahame also fills the bill as the femme fatale in this noir. She also is perfect. This is a film I could watch again and again. I found the raw qualities Palance brings to this film to be unique to what I had seen in films prior to this. He combines guile with deceit and raw, earthy maleness.
This is a great suspense film, back in the day where they didn't need to use blood and gore. The actors knew how to act. It will have you on the edge of your seat !
Classic Noir, Classic Crawford, Young Palance
There's lots to like about this film: the plot, the actors, San Francisco, long train trips, costumes, furs, jewelry, etc.. In the opening credits, I noticed separate credits for the wardrobe, jewelry and furs. All are lovely in this film and deserved separate credits. Crawford's character writes plays. Palance is an actor, who auditions for a part in a romantic play Crawford's character wrote. Although he nails the audition, she points out that the leading man had to be very attractive physically to pull off his seduction of the leading lady, and Palance just doesn't fit the bill. That point can't really be disputed, so he gets dumped for the role. They meet later on by chance on a train trip from NY to San Francisco, and fall in love. At least she does. Palance plays a scary character better than anyone, and we soon learn that his care for her is feigned. His old girlfriend, played by Gloria Grahame, shows up and Crawford learns of their romantic involvement plus their plot to kill her so Palance can inherit her money. She turns tables on them, but chickens out before carrying out her scheme. I won't reveal the plot twist at the end. San Francisco is another star of this film. Very much worth seeing.
one of her best
- don letta
This is a very good noir, with a very good cast, direction and cinematography. It deserved its Oscar nominations.All the Crawford bashing aside, her performance was spot on, with equal excellence by Graham and Palance. I was also grateful for one last glimpse of beautiful Virginia Huston. The clever story never let's you down and is served well by inventive cinematography. This may well be Crawford's last legitimate performance... she finished the fifties with a string of progressively bad films (with the exception of Baby Jane), and is unfortunately remembered for them rather than her classics from the thirties and forties. The average movie-going public is so cruel...
I was pleasantly surprised to see Palance in his youth as I was only familiar with him as the Curly character in "City Slickers".Joan Crawford's facial expressions and reactions to events in this movie are fabulous. I loved this movie. I knew her character would never be able to go through with the murder. Falling in love on the train, classic. You could see her swept away by this charming actor, too good to be true. The final scenes in the dark apartment won't let you turn away and the ending is perfectly unpredictable.
Take Out the First Scene
If you take out the first scene--where Joan Crawford is a savvy, successful playwright who fires Jack Palance from her soon-to-be-successful play because he's not romantic enough--then this film makes sense. After that, Joan is just a wealthy, single, older woman who (finally!) has the younger, unemployed actor fall in love with her for her money. Her inexperience explains her love-sick goofieness and inability to see his creepy malevolence. Little too much histrionics to call the film hard-boiled even though there are at least two or three people trying to kill each other. Nevertheless, some wonderful film noir scenes. The best is the chase through the streets of San Francisco, followed by the toy dog scene, and Joan sweating in the closet. Seriously though, if film noir had anything to do with reality, there wouldn't be an ex walking down a street in California.
This is an enjoyable film noir but sixty years later it reveals plots twists that don't make total sense. It's tough to believe that somebody like Jack Palance's character would be interested in Joan Crawford's character for any reason other than her money. She played vulnerable younger women roles far to deep into her own increasing age and it shows in this film. Palance is menacing throughout the film and does a good job. But what is not easy to accept is that someone who life has been threatened would not seek police help or at least confide in her friends including, in this case, her attorney who already has suspicions about Palance's character. Instead, Crawford plots an intricate murder plot of her own to off the two who plan to kill her. It's fun to watch. It's a good period piece but it doesn't belong in the ranks of great film noir. There is a site devoted to "then and now" photos of the San Francisco location shots for this film and many of those place have changed very little in sixty plus years.
Some deliciously tense moments
Thank you, TCM for the premiere of Sudden Fear. Like Joan Crawford, I had my doubts about the casting of Jack Palace in this role, ironic when I consider the first scene of the film itself, but there was so much about this movie that surprised and delighted. Even the laughable melodramatic dreams and imaginings of Crawford's character were appropriate to convey how completely alone she is in this pickle. It was wonderful not knowing what was going to happen next and being uncertain of what Crawford's character had in store for the murderous couple. Small but oh-so-important touches such as the shattering of the recording and the use of the wind-up tin toy caught on a carpet thread really ratcheted-up the tension. It indeed is a good companion for Dial M for Murder, and Wait Until Dark is a kissing cousin.
- Jack Anthony
I saw the film for the 3rd time at the 23rd St. Cinema in New York City last week. The first time I saw the film was on television, shown as The Afternoon Movie. The film made quite an impression on me as a 12 year old seeing it for the first time. The scene where Joan Crawford is hiding in the closet while a psychotic Jack Palance stands lurking in the dark had the most impact on me. Gloria Graham is perfectly cast as the manipulative, plotting, shady girlfriend, a perfect match between character and actress. Jack Palance with his unusual face spells trouble as the movie progresses. This is one of Joan's best feature films as well as one of her most well known and popular. I did not give "Sudden Fear" five stars because there are stretches in the film where I think Joan indulges a little too much in dramatic histrionics thus slowing down the pace of the film.
Great film, beware of DVD quality
I'd never seen Sudden Fear and was really quite taken with both the plot and the cast. Joan Crawford was absolutely marvelous - and Jack Palance was incredibly good. As noir films go it is a gem and I think it under- appreciated as a classic.That being said, I saw a Kino Video DVD of Sudden Fear and I have to say that it was really the worst DVD picture quality I have EVER seen. Grainy, blurry, and seemingly with film breaks. If ever a movie needed full restoration in order to be truly appreciated, this is the one. I would suggest renting it rather than spending $30.
Sudden Fear with Joan Crawford and Jack Palance
I loved this film noir. While the basic story line may be familiar, the acting is superb and the final ending is unexpected.
I like this movie
I enjoyed this movie. Joan looks gorgeous and Jack Palance is menacing. The gowns Joan wears are gorgeous. I love Bette but you have to give Joan props. No one plays a victim better than Joan.
- Ernest Gutierrez
I love this movie especially that chase scene through the streets of San Francisco when Jack Palance tries to kill her with the car! Disappointing that this is not available with CC. Cannot show to my deaf Dad without CC. Anybody have any guidance as to where I could locate a Closed Captioned copy? Thanks
whynot, I agree 100%. Joan Crawford was so damn great, she should have won an Oscar, if you ask me. It is a film with great direction and photography. Everyone gives a solid performance.
Wow, some bitter comments...
I thought the film overall was great. I can't believe the nasty lashing that's happened over Crawford's performance. Sounded more like vengeful sour grapes than objective criticism. It's not her most balanced performance- for example, she's a more than a bit too saccharine after she falls in love, like when she's dictating the will. Otherwise, I think she's actually excellent- and no, she does not look "homely" or "disturbing". The scene where she overhears the recording may seem to some as overwrought, but I thought she was completely convincing- is it really so farfetched for someone to get physically ill after hearing that the person they're in love with is planning to kill them, without out knowing exactly when or where? Of course not. She deserved the nomination. Grahame is electric as always at this point in her career, and Palance appropriately menacing. Filmed on location in the Pacific Heights area of San Francisco...
It is official...
- Jeff W
BD has risen and has instructed her legion to trash JC and her films...LOL..With that, this is a fun, atmospheric movie, and all actors do a wonderful job. I thought Joan and Jack played off each other well and the Jack/Gloria relationship was years ahead of its time - "squeeze me, harder..." If you like suspense, deceit and revenge, in black and white, then give this one a look. If you don't like Joan Crawford then don't watch this movie or any of her work. But it was JC herself who could be her own worst critic, something a lot of "serious actors" would never do, let alone be put to pen. Sudden Fear is one of her bests and her nomination for Best Actress is just, along with Jack's nomination.
Enjoyed Jack Palance & Gloria Grahame
It has been a while since I'd last seen this film. Since then I'd come to be a fan of Gloria Grahame's through other classic films (especially with Bogie "In a Lonely Place"). I wasn't sure I'd like Jack Palance this time. To my surprise, I was delighted by his performance, especially with Grahame. Thanks for airing it.
Sudden Fear Review
I was disappointed with several aspects of this film since it had been so marketed and overrated. It's dangerous to build a film up too high. When the acting doesn't live up to the hype it's a let down. Grahame makes the better of the two key women actors, Crawford the lesser of the two. Palance steals the show. Even so, I wouldn't watch it again.
Palance's Commanding Presence
It's amusing to see Jack Palance handily put Joan Crawford in her place: off stage where she belonged. The 'sudden fear' is even seeing the face of Joan Crawford, which was frightening in real life and even worse on screen. This is a good film for Palance admirers. Gloria Grahame's performance is swell as well. The Crawford cult following will probably call it so bad it's camp or promote that it's great. This film is marginal at best.
In Defense of Jack Palance
Reviews made about Palance's face are ablistic. Palance had facial surgery due to wounds from WWII when his the B-24 bomber he was flying crashed. The reconstruction made his face more square with sharp cheek bones. Now to his character in this film: his was far superior to Crawford's. Hers is lacking. She acts like herself which comes off as fake in the film. It's indistinguishable whether Joan's being phony or Myra. By then, I doubt she knew the difference. The scene where she's tra-la-ing along, falls down a staircase, then feigns a stoic cry doesn't work at all. Crawford's failure to build an onscreen chemistry with Palance shows. Watch for a better performance by Palance.
Palance and Grahame Shine
Palance is an actor, Lestor, and Grahame is his lover and partner, Irene. Together they plot to kill playwright Myra (Crawford), who's an overbearing control freak over Lestor's life. Too bad the plot didn't allow for Lestor and Irene to knock off Myra and get away with it. That would have been a far more pleasing ending. Palance and Grahame run away with this film giving powerhouse performances.
Jack Palance as Lester Blaine caught my attention for the first time. This was a terrific role for him.
Palance's Lester Blaine
Having been a follower of Jack Palance's performances, this portrayal of Lester Blaine steals the show since it is one of his best. By the time this film was being made, I had to wonder, who'd want to even be the fictious leading man to the bizarre looking and behaving Joan Crawford? I like how Palance's character handles her. His long speech to her about what Casanova looked like had me wanting to ask Crawford, when was the last time you looked in the mirror? Or it your reflection too hideous to do so? By then, Crawford's appearance and behavior had already become too weird, too creepy, and plain homely that I didn't care much for watching her. But, it was fun to watch Palance put her in a more appropriate place.
Jack Palance's Stellar Performance
Palance's performance is the only part of this film that holds my attention. He was nominated for a Best Supporing Actor Oscar, no thanks to the script, lead, director or anyone put his own total immersion into his role. This film would have been far better with a more likable leading actress.
After watching this film, I decided not to bother with buying it. Seeing it once was one time too many.
A Palance and Grahame Film
Gloria Grahame was not only beautiful, she was also quite a good actor. Jack Palance made for a good leading man. Their performances in "Sudden Fear" are noteworthy. However, Joan Crawford was horribly miscast as the lead, leaving one wondering why. Crawford had become star-struck by her own former fame and unable to accept that her looks were homely, she was "box office poison," had a horrid off and on screen reputation and have been made into a gay drag icon to mock and mime. Due to her on and off set drunkeness, Crawford was no longer in her right mind. Thus, this film suffers from her attempt to play the lead. No disrespect meant to Miss Crawford or to her enthusiastic gay following, the fact is, Joan Crawford wasn't ever much of an actor. Earlier in her life, she'd used 'the casting couch' means to get parts. That didn't work once she was no longer sexually appealing to producers or other influential filmmakers.
Skip this one
I didn't care for this movie at all. It was way over done to the point of being ridiculous, the acting by the lead, that is.
Jack Palance and Gloria Grahame
Jack Palance and Gloria Grahame would've been better off if they had a different'star' in this film. Their acting is good. Crawford's is as superficial as ever. There's no depth of emotion to her character. Whereas Palance and Grahame are proven actors of great technique and skill. I wasn't fond of this film and wouldn't want to view it again.