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Sudden Fear (1952)

Approved | | Film-Noir, Thriller | 24 October 1952 (Italy)
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.

Director:

David Miller

Writers:

Lenore J. Coffee (screenplay) (as Lenore Coffee), Robert Smith (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Joan Crawford ... Myra Hudson Blaine
Jack Palance ... Lester Blaine
Gloria Grahame ... Irene Neves
Bruce Bennett ... Steve Kearney
Virginia Huston ... Ann Taylor
Mike Connors ... Junior Kearney (as Touch Conners)
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Storyline

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 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? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Thrilling New High In Suspense Melodrama! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 October 1952 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Sudden Fear See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$720,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,126, 14 August 2016

Gross USA:

$24,476

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$24,476
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Because of her involvement as a producer on this film (and her financial interest in it) when this proved to be a surprise box office hit, it was Joan Crawford's highest paid movie role until she made What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) a decade later. See more »

Goofs

The train leaving New York en route to Chicago is pulled by a streamlined steam locomotive of the Southern Pacific Railroad that was used in California. Later that evening, another scene at night in Pennsylvania shows a different type of locomotive pulling the train. The Southern Pacific locomotive is seen again pulling the train the next morning. Whilst approaching Chicago, Lester asks the conductor if he can get a ticket for the next train from Chicago to San Francisco. The conductor says he will check on getting a ticket on the California Zephyr. However, the two men are standing in the vestibule of car CZ-10, which IS a car that was the observation dome car on all California Zephyr consists. Whilst having breakfast on the Zephyr in the mountains of Colorado, Joan Crawford comments how much she enjoyed their tour of Chicago earlier that day, but, travel through Colorado would actually occur on the NEXT day, following an overnight journey from Chicago to Denver. See more »

Quotes

[after being rejected for a romantic role because of his looks]
Lester Blaine: Miss Hudson, in your own native city of San Francisco, there's an art gallery in the Legion of Honor in which there's an oil painting of Casanova. It's quite obvious that you have never seen this painting. For your information, Miss Hudson, this is what Casanova looked like: he had big ears, a scar over one eye, a broken nose, and a wart on his chin, right here. I suggest, Miss Hudson, that when you return to San Francisco, you ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

The previous 1999 DVD release was slightly altered. The sudden fear sequence eliminates only about 8 seconds but noteworthy ones, showing Joan Crawford's falling from a building, and being smothered by the Jack Palance character. These have been restored in the new 2016 Cohen Media Group blu-ray release. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) See more »

Soundtracks

Sudden Fear
by Irving Taylor and Arthur Altman
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Whewwww!
20 August 2008 | by robert-temple-1See 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.


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