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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:

HEARTBREAK... Poised On A Trigger Of Terror! 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

Crawford received her third and last Academy Award nomination for this film, and it was the only year she competed against Bette Davis for the Oscar. Both lost to Shirley Booth for Come Back, Little Sheba (1952). See more »

Goofs

When Junior brings Irene to her apartment and refuses to leave, she tries twice to close the door. Each time, a stagehand's hand can be seen reaching for the knob from out in the hall, a common practice on stage sets if a door doesn't latch properly or stay closed. 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

The camera stays on an ornate pendulum clock, ticking time away as the credits appear. 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

Featured in La noche de...: Negociador (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Afraid
by Elmer Bernstein and Jack Brooks
See more »

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User Reviews

Right up there with Hitchcock at his best
10 July 2000 | by MankinSee all my reviews

Joan Crawford's reputation as a gay icon and crazed child abuser courtesy of "Mommie Dearest" have tended in recent years to overshadow her considerable talents as an actress. When she died in 1977, a journalist wrote that she was one of the few major movies stars in Hollywood's Golden Age to create a genre all her own. It's true that she was often seen in rags-to-riches sagas, but in "Sudden Fear" (****), one of the best suspense thrillers ever made I feel, she is simply terrific as an already wealthy playwright who marries struggling actor Jack Palance, then accidentally discovers that he and his girlfriend Gloria Graham are planning to murder her for her money. After the initial shock wears off, she devises a plan to turn the tables on them both. The chasm between the clockwork perfection of the plot she devises in her imagination, and the unexpected setbacks that develop in the real-life execution of it, keep this gripping film hugely entertaining. Fine direction, atmospheric night photography of San Francisco locations and even occasional mordantly witty dialogue don't hurt, either. (You may never hear the line "I was just wondering what I had done to deserve you" quite the same way again.)


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