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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:

I Was Made To Live For Him... To Die For Him!... But Now I Could KILL Him! 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

Joan Crawford has 23 different costume changes all of which were designed by Sheila O'Brien. See more »

Goofs

After Lester puts down Irene's telephone, he calls out her name three times, but on the second, his lips don't move at all. See more »

Quotes

Lester Blaine: [Stopping short when he sees the drop alongside the steps of the summer house] Whoa...!
Myra Hudson: What's the matter, Darling?
Lester Blaine: [Frightened] It's a precipice!
Myra Hudson: [laughs] I've been running up and down these steps ever since I was twelve.
Lester Blaine: Don't you ever do it again!
Myra Hudson: Why not? Remember what Nietzsche said: Live dangerously!
Lester Blaine: You know what happened to Nietzsche?
Myra Hudson: What?
Lester Blaine: He's dead!
Myra Hudson: [laughs]
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

Referenced in Feud: Bette and Joan: Pilot (2017) 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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