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Legendary Joan Crawford

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~Above: Joan Crawford in her Oscar nominated performance in "Sudden Fear."

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"Sudden Fear" 1952


Cast: Joan Crawford ~Jack Palance~Gloria Grahame~Bruce Bennett~Virginia Huston~Touch Conners.

Director: David Miller

Producer: Joseph Kaufman

Costumes by Shelia O'Brien

Box Office Figures for "Sudden Fear":

Top Grossing Film Position: Ranked #64 out of 119

Gross Rentals: $1,650,000.


If you have seen this movie, please write a review below. Once your review is submitted, I will post the review below. Thank you for your review on this film.

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How many stars would you give this film? Four being the best.
Your review/thoughts on "Sudden Fear":
  

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Reviews

Reviewr: writerdonna7

Stars: Four and a half out of five

Review: As in "Midnight Lace" where Doris Day -- plagued with threatening phone calls -- might've curtailed trouble by simply hanging up instead of shrieking hysterically into the receiver and building to a histrionic meltdown that convinced everyone who was previously on the fence of her instability, Joan Crawford might've spared herself a whole lot of fear by going to the police at the onset. But then the world would be short of two deliciously fun thrillers with leading ladies who are both fearful and fashionable.

"Sudden Fear" is the superior of the two, although both are highly entertaining. Crawford not only stars, but co-produced this top notch noir, showing further evidence of her boundless talent. She, in fact, carries the film, as she so often does, this time with two strong and well-cast co-stars, Jack Palance and Gloria Grahame. With a tight build-up of suspense; gorgeous, glossy black and white cinematography; and a riveting score, the whole thing works every time.

At the start of the film, Myra Hudson (Crawford), a playwright and heiress, is attending rehearsals for her upcoming Broadway play "Halfway to Heaven" and finds the leading man Lester Blaine (Jack Palance) lacking as a romantic hero. According to Hudson, he doesn't seem to be the type who would make "every woman in the audience sit right up and go, 'Mmph!'" (Funny how Crawford's films always seem to mirror her own life, since she, too, wasn't thrilled with the choice of Palance as a co-star, although his oddly sinister face makes him perfect as the "heavy" and their off-screen tension adds wonderfully to the friction; she was also put off by his method acting which included French kissing during their love sequences.) By chance, Hudson and Blaine meet on a train going from New York to San Francisco and begin a whirlwind romance. The pair marry and the older-but-not-wiser Hudson is eager to introduce her new husband to all her society friends, many of whom are suspicious of him -- like her attorney, Steve Kearney (Bruce Bennett - who played Crawford's husband in "Mildred Pierce.") As the merciless hands of fate (and the screenwriters) have it, Irene Neves (Gloria Grahame), Lester's ex-girlfriend, is at the party on the arm of Junior Kearney (Mike Conners - yes, "Mannix"), Steve's son. Like two cats in heat, the conniving pair secretly meet and hatch a plot to get at Myra's millions. When they learn that Myra plans to leave the bulk of her estate to a foundation with only $10,000 a year for Lester, they scheme to kill her and make it look like an accident before the will is signed -- a tight deadline of only the weekend. Myra, however, learns of this nefarious plan when she leaves on her dictaphone machine and the pair's conversation is unwittingly recorded. This begins her state of sudden fear. After a sleepless night, she hatches a foil for this dastardly duo worthy of one of her own plays.

"Sudden Fear" is exciting fun, using the sort of nail-biting, manipulative devices of an old radio play and much of the acting relies on Crawford's facial expressions, to which, as a former silent screen star, she is up to the task. Although criminally underrated and often unjustly accused of being phony as an actor, Crawford was a consummate professional and often achieved an emotional truth and naturalness onscreen. Her characters are vulnerable and human-- and therefore, somehow real -- as is the case with Myra. Ultimately, in spite of a glamorous and capable facade, she's so human, one wonders if Myra will carry out the ingenious plan she's concocted, which adds to the peril of her predicament. Palance is perfectly villainous and Grahame is in her element as the brash, slightly tawdry and sexy tart (what else?) who likes rough sex and oozes danger. It's also delicious fun watching Crawford walk from one area of Pacific Heights to the next and then run up and down the steep hills of San Francisco in high heels and a mink -- after falling down a flight of stairs, no less, with little stain to her glamour beyond a few beads of sweat. That -- and the glass of milk -- are some of the great quirks that make classic films like this one divine fun.

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Reviewer Dbgbear777

Stars: Four

Review: Intense and Powerful,and Joan rides it all the way!

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