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Suddenly (1954)

6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 3,448 users  
Reviews: 72 user | 27 critic

In the city of Suddenly, three gangsters trap the Benson family in their own house, on the top of a hill nearby the railroad station, with the intention of killing the president of the USA.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
John Baron
...
Sheriff Tod Shaw
...
Pop Benson
Nancy Gates ...
Ellen Benson
Kim Charney ...
Peter Benson III - 'Pidge'
...
Dan Carney
Paul Frees ...
Benny Conklin
Christopher Dark ...
Bart Wheeler
James O'Hara ...
Jud Hobson (as James Lilburn)
Kem Dibbs ...
Wilson (as Ken Dibbs)
Clark Howat ...
Haggerty
Charles Smith ...
Bebop
Paul Wexler ...
Slim Adams
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Storyline

The tranquility of a small town is marred only by sheriff Tod Shaw's unsuccessful courtship of widow Ellen Benson, a pacifist who can't abide guns and those who use them. But violence descends on Ellen's household willy-nilly when the U.S. President passes through town... and slightly psycho hired assassin John Baron finds the Benson home ideal for an ambush. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

train | police | gun | widow | small town | See more »

Taglines:

A cold-blooded thriller! See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

September 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Suddenly  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shot in four weeks. See more »

Goofs

The train is going north (the afternoon sun is streaming across the tracks into the train station from the direction of the house), yet the audio says the train is going down to Los Angeles, instead of up to San Francisco. If time of day were incidental to the film, this would be overlooked, but the clock is the tension builder. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
First Driver: Officer, can you tell me the way to Three Rivers?
Slim Adams: About two miles to the first main intersection, then turn left. It's about sixty miles.
First Driver: Thanks, what town is this?
Slim Adams: Suddenly.
First Driver: Suddenly what?
Slim Adams: No no, that's the name.
First Driver: [laughs] That's a funny name for a town.
Slim Adams: Uh huh, hangover from the old days; that's the way things used to happen here, suddenly.
First Driver: I see.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Hollywood's New Vandalism (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Entertaining Thriller
6 February 2003 | by (Newfoundland, Canada) – See all my reviews

When the President decides to pass through the small town of Suddenly on route to a fishing trip, the town's police and chief officials rise to meet the challenge of assuring his protection as there have been rumors of an assassination attempt.

The hired guns meanwhile make plans of their own. They cleverly trick their way into the home of the best house in town from which to try and carry out their assassination plot - the house of Pop Benson, respected citizen with an house upon an hill that overlooks the President's planned arrival destination. Now only an handful of hostages stand between the President and doom...can they in some way warn him in time?

Frank Sinatra steals the show here as the ruthless criminal mastermind behind the want-to-be assassins - a man named John Baron. He is downright brutal and nasty in the role--an utterly detestable villain who does remind us the it was the army that created him and made him into a killer or maybe deep down, it's just that he was always a killer at heart. An outstanding multi-dimensional performance from Sinatra.

Sterling Hayden meanwhile plays the idealistic police sheriff Tod Shaw, who believes in America and the American way and supports unquestioningly the system and will do whatever it takes to preserve the America he believes is right and just. He too served in the military to protect rights and freedoms and now carries on the good fight as Suddenly's sheriff. An interesting contrast of two extremes with the pacifist minded Ellen Benson (played here by Nancy Gates), her becoming a widow after her husband got killed in the war, finally forced to take a stand at the film's climax.

Daring for its time, this film deals with surprisingly intense subject matter for the early 1950s. Quite good.


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