Sudden Fear (1952)

Approved  |   |  Film-Noir, Thriller  |  August 1952 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 2,632 users  
Reviews: 62 user | 21 critic

After an ambitious actor insinuates himself into the life of a wealthy middle-aged playwright and marries her, he plots with his mistress to murder her.



(screenplay) (as Lenore Coffee) , (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Virginia Huston ...
Junior Kearney (as Touch Conners)


Actor Lester Blaine has all but landed the lead in Myra Hudson's 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 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? Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Breathtaking Experience ! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

August 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ehe mit dem Satan  »

Box Office


$720,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


As the film's executive producer, Joan Crawford was heavily involved in all aspects of the production. She personally hired Lenore J. Coffee as the film's screenwriter, David Miller as director and suggested Elmer Bernstein as composer. She insisted on Charles Lang being hired as the film's cinematographer and personally cast Jack Palance and Gloria Grahame as her co-stars. See more »


During the critical "clock pendulum" planning scene. The visible clock and the phony "shadow strike across the chest" shadows are a significantly differently tempo than the real clock. The shadow shadow clock moves twice as face. See more »


Myra Hudson: Welcome to my home, Lester.
Lester Blaine: It's quite a cozy home.
Myra Hudson: Cozy enough to take your coat off?
Lester Blaine: Delighted.
See more »

Crazy Credits

One of the few films with an itemized credits listing for each wardrobe category designer. See more »


Featured in Joan Crawford: The Ultimate Movie Star (2002) See more »


Sudden Fear
Music by Arthur Altman
Lyrics by Irving Taylor (credit only)
See more »

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User Reviews

They Knew How to Make Movies in 1952 (not anymore)
12 July 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This picture, as well as the re-issue of KING KONG, were the first two movies to be heavily advertised on television. A big success for RKO Radio Pictures. Being an RKO Picture you can expect lots of on-location photography and seeing places like New York and San Francisco as they were 55 years ago adds to the appeal of this fine movie.

SUDDEN FEAR was nominated for 4 Academy Awards (given in 1952 for high quality rather than political opinion), and this recognition was well deserved. An obvious -- and pretty successful -- imitation of Hitchcock this movie is one of the best murder mysteries ever made. I've never seen Joan Crawford or Jack Palance play better roles. David Miller's direction is inspired. And the black and white cinematography meets the highest standard.

Since they haven't yet made a good movie in 2008, and apparently intend to continue a 90% diet of so-called action movies --- utterly lacking in courage or purpose, where the hero solves made-believe problems by using computer animation instead of brains... Don't get me started. Just go back to the good ones, rent the DVD of Sudden Fear.

14 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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