Everyone knows Frank Sinatra for his unforgettable music, but not everyone would think “actor” after hearing his name. With over 60 films under his belt (many, many more if you count his credits for music), he certainly proved that he had acting chops to go with that voice of his. …Suddenly! is one of those films, and today we are reviewing The Film Detective’s release of this 1954 crime noir.
The Movie Itself (4/5)
Once a bustling area, the town of Suddenly has settled down and things move at a much slower pace than they have in the past. That is, until an urgent phone call comes in and puts things into an excited state.
The president of the United States will be arriving in the town via train at 5pm, and the sheriff has until then to secure the town and get proper transportation set up for this VIP visit. However, the president isn’t the only guest to make his way into the sleepy community.
Under the guise of federal agents, a band of hitmen for hire led by John Baron (the one and only Frank Sinatra), take a small family hostage in their own home. The plot? To set up shop in the house and secure a shot on the president from a window overlooking the train station. That is, if this small family doesn’t prove to be too much for three gangsters to handle.
Having not had any prior knowledge of this film, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed Suddenly. While the plot is fairly simple, and the movie itself is quite short, it kept me entertained and interested the entire play through. The bulk of this film is a study on John Baron. We learn of his time in the war and how he became to enjoy and even need the ability to kill. It makes him feel close to godliness. This, of course, we learn as he spends his time talking to the family he’s kept hostage, instead of tying them up and stashing them out of site. His pride is ultimately his downfall, but boy does it lend itself to interesting dialog.
The camera work feels a bit unprofessional and not all of the actors are as captivating as Sinatra, but in the end, Suddenly is an entertaining and fun movie to watch, even 60+ years later. I just wish there was a bit more meat on the bones here, as its short runtime (75 minutes) felt more like a longer television episode. Oh, and I could have done with a little less of the sexism, but it is a product of its time.
Visuals/Picture Quality (2/5)
As I mentioned, this movie is over 60 years old at this point, and it’s showing its age for sure. Apart from the heavy film grain, there is some wear and tear seen. That being said, I am generally forgiving for old films like this. There were a couple of places where I took particular notice of the quality, but those times were rare and failed to take me out of the experience. A far cry from perfect, but likely about as good as we can get.
Score/Audio Quality (2.5/5)
Again, showing age and limitation of its time, the audio is a bit above average here. There is a noticeable sync issue at times, and the track has a sort of hollow feel to it. This is of par for the course for movies from the 50s in a lot of cases, so it’s unlikely there’s much else that can be done to improve this aspect.
Special Features (0/5)
Unfortunately, there are no special features.
Matching the rest of the films in their catalog, Suddenly features a fairly plain looking sleeve with Film Detective branding and a movie poster for the front. The disc is a BD-R with similar branding (solid black with plain white title). Please note that some players will not play BD-R discs, so check before buying this release.
- Aspect ratio: 1.75:1
Runtime 75 Mins
Suddenly Overall (2.5/5)
A surprisingly entertaining gem from the 50s, I would absolutely recommend Suddenly for anyone looking for crime noir. There are currently three versions out there on Blu-ray, however, and given that the BD-R in this release may not play in all players, this one may not be the one for you. I do believe that the transfer here is the most accurate reproduction. If you are a big fan of the film, you may want to scoop it up.
You can pick it up here.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.