Friday, April 06, 2018

TCM's Film Noir of the Week at Midnight ET Saturday Night-Sunday Morning is Suddenly (1954), Starring Frank Sinatra and Sterling Hayden



By David in TN
Friday, April 6, 2018 at 12:12:00 A.M. ED

TCM's Film Noir of the Week at Midnight ET Saturday Night-Sunday Morning is Suddenly (1954) starring Frank Sinatra and Sterling Hayden.

Sinatra plays a would-be Presidential assassin with two partners. They take over a house overlooking a train station through which the President (Eisenhower in 1954) is going to pass.


They take hostage the family living in the house, including Hayden, who plays the police chief of the small town named "Suddenly." A widow living in the house (Nancy Gates) is being courted by Hayden, without success so far. (Note that beautiful Nancy Gates is still alive, at 92 years of age!)

Sinatra's character is a psycho WWII veteran who loves killing, and has been hired by somebody to kill the President. Sinatra has a good time chewing the scenery. Hayden's character is also a veteran. He scoffs at Sinatra's claimed heroics, enraging him.


Nancy Gates and Sinatra

It was a B film at the time, and looks in parts like a 50's TV show. Suddenly was filmed at Newhall, California, a small town 30 minutes north of Los Angeles. Note what the area looked like, circa 1954.

The subject matter is why Suddenly has some controversy attached to it. It was long thought Frank Sinatra had the film pulled from circulation after the JFK assassination, which apparently wasn't true.


Another legend is Lee Harvey Oswald supposedly watched Suddenly shortly before killing President Kennedy. The film doesn't seem to have been on Dallas TV during the period or in a local theater.

Still, a movie about a plot to kill the president took on extra meaning after November 22, 1963.


Kim Charney

There is a similarity. In both the fictional film and real life, the shooter uses an enemy rifle from WWII. Oswald used an Italian Mannlicher-Carcano rifle, probably because it was cheap to buy.

Sinatra's character has a German G43 semiautomatic rifle, which the Germans introduced in the last year-and-a-half of the war to counter the American M1 Garand. In one scene, Sinatra has his minions bolt the rifle to a table due to “heavy recoil.”


Not so. The G43, like the M1, doesn't have a heavy recoil, due to being gas operated. I've collected WW II rifles and have fired both.

Suddenly repeats at 10 a.m. ET Sunday, April 8.



countenance said...

I've not only seen it, but I have it on DVD. One of those dollar DVDs for movies that went into the public domain.

My favorite part is when one of the co-conspirators goes milling around town, and an alert cop smells something fishy about him, accosts him. That set in motion the series of events in the plot which led to the Secret Service deciding to keep on going past Suddenly and not stop. Because, it used to be that noticing things was cool, unlike today, when it's almost a crime.

Anonymous said...

...and not a black to be found--unlike tonight's viewing on late night TV.On Fallon's crap "Tonight Show",it was a nearly all black extravaganza.See if you've heard of any of these jigs.
Tiffany Haddish was the big star of the night.Does anyone know who she is?Also a black rap act(Rich the kid).Is this what they want to feed us as entertainment?Monday,the big promo is Fallon will have a cohost for the first time.Guess what race THAT person is?It's Cardi B-a mixed black,DomRep,Nicaraguan rapper.Used to be a stripper,now she's a"star".Never heard of her either until I looked her up.Not impressed.
Colbert had an Oprah rerun and Kimmel (who I think has lost his mind)had "the Rock".Maybe turning 50 has triggered a midlife crisis.
The replacement of whites on TV continues.
Which brings us to this:
In other news,CBS named (black)Richard Parsons to its board of directors.He had been CEO of Citigroup during the 2008 financial crisis and had taken over as interim CEO of the LA Clippers basketball team after their owner Donald Sterling was forced out for "racist thinking".What else can you expect but more black programming and slanted coverage as another black gets appointed to high management.And they said the 62 Mets were Amazin'.To me,this is even more so.
--GR Anonymous

David In TN said...

TCM's Film Noir of the Week at Midnight ET Saturday Night Sunday Morning is Mystery Street (1950). Ricardo Montalban stars as a Boston police detective investigating the murder of a bar girl (Jan Sterling). Marshall Thompson plays the innocent man charged with her murder. Sally Forrest is his loyal wife who suspects her husband was cheating on her with the dead girl.

Bruce Bennett plays a Harvard forensics specialist who helps Montalban solve the crime. The film has circa 1950 forensic science. A sidelight is Montalban's Mexican-American cop going after an upper class old family Bostonian.

Mystery Street repeats at 10 am ET Sunday morning, April 15.

Earlier at 12 pm ET Saturday, TCM shows Anatomy of a Murder (1959). This is the Otto Preminger-directed classic starrring James Stewart as defending a man who killed his wife's alleged rapist. The story (based on an actual case) is ambiguous as to the guilt of Stewart's client.

One of the best scenes is when James Stewart's character tells his client "the four ways I can defend murder."