Welcome to this week’s “Movies… For Free!” column, where we showcase classic movies freely available in the public domain (with streaming video!). Read the article and watch the movie right here!
Directed by Lewis Allen.
Starring Frank Sinatra, Sterling Hayden, James Gleason and Nancy Gates.
Suddenly is a film noir starring Frank Sinatra as professional hit-man and ex-soldier John Baron – a character described by The Hollywood Reporter as “one of the most repellent killers in American screen history”. Sinatra’s first movie following his Best Supporting Actor triumph with From Here to Eternity (1953), the plot centres around Baron’s attempt to assassinate the President of the United States as he passes through the fictional small town of Suddenly, California.
Ol’ Blue Eyes and his gang of henchmen pose as FBI agents assigned to protect the President, tricking their way into the home of respected citizen (and retired Secret Service agent) Pop Benson (Gleason) and taking him and his family – including daughter-in-law Ellen (Gates) – hostage. Benson’s house sits atop a hill overlooking the President’s route, and Baron intends on taking him out with a sniper rifle on behalf of an unnamed (yet no doubt Communist) enemy. Soon the gang have added Suddenly’s Sheriff Tod Shaw to their list of captives, and the stage is set for a tense and claustrophobic showdown between the morally corrupt Baron and the righteous and idealistic American way of life, as represented by the hostages.
In many ways Suddenly foreshadows the November 1963 shooting of John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, and was subsequently withdrawn from general release after rumours emerged that Lee Harvey Oswald had watched the film in the days leading up to the assassination.
Embed courtesy of Internet Archive.
Click here to view all previous entries in our Movies… For Free! collection.