Thursday, December 20, 2007

Suddenly (Lewis Allen, 1954)

**½
USA



The title refers to a sleepy California town that forms the backdrop to a plot to assassinate the President. After about 20 minutes of leaden exposition and posturing, Frank Sinatra finally turns up (fresh off his Oscar win) and there's something so relaxed and comfortable about his presence that you feel the picture is bound to pick up from then on. It doesn't, though it has one startling scene where his villainy is revealed.

To emphasise his brawn and no-nonsense righteousness, sheriff Sterling Hayden only ever talks from the back of his throat, like a constipated Troy McClure. The family he's protecting is made up of a bunch of diabolical actors that make you side with the killers.

Reportedly, Oswald watched this movie the evening of November 21st, 1963.

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