Watch Now: SUDDENLY
With a script written by American pulp writer, screenwriter and director Richard Sale and directed by English film and television director Lewis Allen, Suddenly is a 1954 noir crime film with an especially thrilling premise. The lives of the inhabitants of a small Californian town called Suddenly are completely disrupted when the President’s train is scheduled to make a stop there, which prompts a group of assassins to occupy a local house with a perfect view of the station. John Baron, the leader of the gang played by Frank Sinatra, is a ruthless murderer with only one task on his agenda. But sheriff Ton Shaw (Sterling Hayden) needs to be factored in, as the good people of Suddenly won’t just stand by and passively watch as Baron executes his plans.
Bosley Crowther of The New York Times called it “one of the slickest recent items in the minor movie league.” “We have several people to thank,” he wrote, “particularly Richard Sale for a good script, which tells a straight story credibly, Mr. Allen for direction that makes both excitement and sense, Mr. Bassler for a production that gets the feel of a small town and the cast which includes Hayden, James Gleason and Nancy Gates.” Crowther’s special chunk of praise went Sinatra’s way, and the New York Times critic was far from being the only one charmed by this independent gem of a film.