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Author Topic: Sudden Fear (1952)  (Read 1152 times)
cigar joe
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« on: February 17, 2012, 09:22:45 PM »



Director: David Miller, Stars: Joan Crawford, Jack Palance, Mike Connors, and Gloria Grahame. A very, very dark and claustrophobic noir, with good performances all around, especially by the more creepy than usual Palance, it has to be the lighting that is enhancing his train wreck of a face.  Its a veritable juxtaposition of grotesques the ghoulish Palance with the buffoonish Crawford.  Crawford no matter how you slice it looks downright clownish chewing the scenery with an ape like hysterics that makes you feel like throwing her a banana. Its hard to root for a leading lady that looks like this:

 Roll Eyes



Palance in one of his better closeups



I can only imagine what Joan's eye bulging school of acting must have looked like on a full 60' screen.

Some great noir cinematography



ominous convertable



From IMDb Storyline, Actor Lester Blaine (Palance) has all but landed the lead in Myra Hudson's (Crawford) new play when Myra vetoes him because, to her, he doesn't look like a "romantic leading man." On a train from New York to San Francisco, Blaine sets out to prove Myra wrong...by romancing her. Is he sincere, or does he have a dark ulterior motive? The answer brings on a game of cat and mouse; but who's the cat and who's the mouse?

Palance & Grahame



Grahame stretching out on a sofa and baiting Palance with you know what  Afro



<spoilers>

by robert-temple-1 (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews
This is a real edge-of-your-seat nail-biter. David Miller did a terrific job of directing this one, and the cinematography is spectacular by Charles Lang. Some of the shots are as inspired as anything ever seen in Hollywood, such as one in Joan Crawford's library where upon hearing an inadvertent recording made on her dictaphone, she gradually shrinks back in horror against the far wall, until she becomes nearly a dot in the distance. That shot is a real triumph of cinematic inspiration. Much is accomplished with a clock and its pendulum, with the star-shaped pendulum at one point shown in shadow swinging across her chest as she gets more and more anxious. None of this is overdone, but is all subtle and effective. Joan Crawford has us all spellbound with her magnificent performance. She throws vanity to the winds, and is not afraid to show her character as someone in the round, complete with cowardice, foolishness, and even extreme stupidity, combined with cunning, intelligence, charm and inspiration. Rarely has a woman been shown so soaked in sweat with sheer terror, and she must have stepped straight out of the shower for each of those shots. When we aren't staring at her incredulous, we notice that Jack Palance is highly effective, and then we have the delectable treat of Gloria Grahame turning up. Which true cineaste does not adore Gloria Grahame? She herself probably never knew what all the fuss was about, regarding herself no doubt as an ordinary girl. But Gloria Grahame was far from ordinary. She had that indefinable something plus a lot of other somethings, which for reasons which are deeply mysterious and impossible to explain leave many people like myself in a state of entranced wonder. What was it about her? No matter how many times we watch her we will never know, all we can say is there will never be another one. This film is a real humdinger.

All in all it has great atmospherics, the Kino DVD is bare bones, too bad, I have a feeling that a running commentary would have been hilarious. I'll subtract 2 points for the post plucked eye browed Crawford, final tally 7/10

« Last Edit: February 17, 2012, 09:28:24 PM by cigar joe » Logged

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2012, 03:02:21 AM »

I like the way this film builds, starting out as a woman-in-peril picture, then ratcheting up the tension as Crawford finds out what's up and decides to turn the tables on hubby. Too bad it loses its nerve at the end. I really wanted to see both leads go down together.

The current DVD doesn't do the film justice. A re-master is in order--HD would be nice.

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« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2016, 03:09:06 PM »

The current DVD doesn't do the film justice. A re-master is in order--HD would be nice.
It seems all you have to do is ask, and voila!--four and a half years later: https://www.amazon.com/Crawford-Palance-Grahame-Bennett-Virginia/dp/B01M0ZWPY5/ref=sr_1_4?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1475959582&sr=1-4&keywords=sudden+fear+joan+crawford

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« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2017, 07:43:41 AM »

I watched the new blu-ray last night, and it looks pretty damn good. Looking forward to checking out the commentary it comes with...

In regards to the movie, it's still good shit, I rate it an 8/10. I enjoy Crawford in her noirs, and this is no different, even if she's more hysteric than strong here... But, like Barbara Stanwyck in 'Sorry, Wrong Number', her histrionics work for me. Add Palance in a creepy but subtle role and Grahame at her slutty best (her voice alone in this movie is enough to drive a man mad), and you got a great ménage à trois. The final half hour or so is sublime and tense (even if the climax is a bit of a cop out), I forgot exactly how suspenseful it is.

The new restoration also brings out the great cinematography. It really is a gorgeously shot movie, something which didn't quite shine through in the overly dark version I watched some time ago.

Cohen also did a new trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9GHtPQ7DNA

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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2017, 09:30:47 AM »

This is classic Crawford, though I thought it was a bit too long at 110 minutes. The copy I have is decent, I'd like to see the new blu-ray if just for the cinematography.

I'm surprised Crawford let Gloria Grahame be in the movie. Talk about competition.

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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2017, 10:03:19 AM »

I like the way this film builds, starting out as a woman-in-peril picture, then ratcheting up the tension as Crawford finds out what's up and decides to turn the tables on hubby. Too bad it loses its nerve at the end. I really wanted to see both leads go down together.
Still the best comment ever made about this film. Good on ya, DJ!

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« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2017, 02:37:20 AM »

This is the one that I must see. The only clip I've seen is that menacing cupboard scene which gets shown on Joan Crawford documentaries. I usually like Jack Palance and I would image that he is very scary in this.

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