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  • Sudden Fear (1952) [BluRay] [1080p] [YTS.LT]
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Sudden Fear (1952)

  • Drama Thriller
  • Actor Lester Blaine has all but landed the lead in Myra Hudson's new play when Myra vetoes him because, to her, he doesn't look like a "romantic leading man." On a train from New York to San Francisco, Blaine sets out to prove Myra wrong...by romancing her. Is he sincere, or does he have a dark ulterior motive?

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    Actor Lester Blaine has all but landed the lead in Myra Hudson's new play when Myra vetoes him because, to her, he doesn't look like a "romantic leading man." On a train from New York to San Francisco, Blaine sets out to prove Myra wrong...by romancing her. Is he sincere, or does he have a dark ulterior motive? The answer brings on a game of cat and mouse; but who's the cat and who's the mouse?

    Sudden Fear (1952) download

    Sudden Fear (1952) download

    Sudden Fear (1952) download


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    Reviews

    noiroftheweek.com The Homme Fatale in Sudden Fear “See, I’m not the kind of man who can live on his wife’s money.” We’re twenty-four minutes into the film Sudden Fear when we realize that the main male character, actor Lester Blaine played by Jack Palance is rotten, and it’s this knowledge that acts as a suspense builder in this taut noir film—a tale of greed, adultery and murder. Up to this point, we’ve just suspected Lester’s intentions, but now our doubts are proved correct. Sudden Fear, a woman-in-jeopardy noir with Joan Crawford playing heiress, Myra Hudson—is the tale of a woman who may meet a foul end at the hands of her deceptive, less-than-loving husband, Lester. For a large chunk of the action, Myra is oblivious to her husband’s evil intentions, but since the plot lets the audience in on the threat, we are committed to the suspense from the start. As spectators, we know that Myra is in danger, and so we are riveted to Lester’s devious plan to rid himself of a wife he so obviously loathes. Sudden Fear based on a novel by Edna Sherry, brought Crawford her third and final Oscar nomination for Best Actress. Directed by David Miller this 1952 film was the first picture Crawford made for RKO after asking to be released from her Warner Bros. contract. Crawford hated her last Warner Brothers film--This Woman is Dangerous. The film cast her in a rather spongy, implausible role as a female gangster who loses her eyesight and then turns soft and weepy when faced with a possible future as a happy little housewife. For noir fans, Sudden Fear showcases Crawford in one of her most powerful roles. When Sudden Fear begins, wealthy playwright Myra Hudson is in New York casting for her new play. Lester Blaine lands the part of the leading man, but during rehearsals, Myra finds him lacking as a romantic hero. She abruptly, publicly, and rather callously fires him on the spot. Myra’s advisors think she’s making a mistake, but since Myra always gets her way, a disgruntled and bitter Lester exits the stage. Myra’s play is a raging success, and she’s due to return home to San Francisco by train. Is it coincidence that Lester Blaine just happens to turn up as a passenger on the same train? Myra seems to think so, but in light of Lester’s humiliation, somehow, his statement that he has no hard feelings towards Myra just doesn’t feel right. On the train journey to San Francisco, Lester entertains and woos Myra, and by the time they reach their destination, Myra is in love. Lester seems to be the perfect lover, and he certainly has perfected the symptoms of an enamored man. He’s attentive, sensitive and gentle, and Myra, who’s smitten by the romance, seems oblivious to the differences in their ages and social status. Myra may be swept along with Lester Blaine’s smooth style, but for audience members, that niggling doubt remains. At this point, however, Lester’s game may be mean-spirited revenge, or perhaps he’s a pathetic loser after her money. But one brilliantly constructed scene clarifies Lester’s manipulation and Myra’s vulnerability. Lester fails to show up for an evening at Myra’s splendid home, and Myra ditches her guests to seek out her missing beau. While she dashes to his hotel, we see Lester pacing back and forth, waiting only for Myra’s arrival to begin a performance that involves his pride, a suitcase and a one-way trip back to New York. It’s with this scene and its clever camera shots that Lester is revealed as the center of power in the relationship, less-than-sincere and dangerously manipulative in his professions of love. After we become aware of Lester’s true intentions, the suspense moves away from the question of what Lester is capable of to when and how Myra will have an “accident.” The plot plays with scenes at Myra’s gorgeous coastal cliff top home. The steep stairway to the ocean, carved into rock offers the perfect location for a nasty accident. Since the audience knows that Lester has evil intentions towards his wealthy wife, we are riveted to Myra’s nimble walk (in high heels) down the rocky staircase. We can wince all we want at the spectacle of Myra’s potential danger, but we are powerless to warn her. Another clever device used as a suspense builder by the film is the use of Myra’s recording machine. The plot reveals this nifty little piece of technology early in the film—along with a demonstration of its abilities. The machine is a crucial part of the plot, but as it turns out, machinery may be relied on for its usefulness, but it’s still subject to the vagaries of human emotion. The plot thickens when tarty, brash Irene Neves (Gloria Grahame, one of my all-time favorite noir stars) arrives on the scene as Lester’s vicious love interest. Irene hasn’t been invited to San Francisco, but she wheedles her way into Myra’s exclusive set nonetheless. Greedy and amoral, she accelerates Lester’s desire for wealth, and together they make a lethal combination of lust, violence and murderous design. Clever camera shots of reflected images in mirrors reveal the main characters’ true emotions—Myra’s lawyer’s distrust of Lester, Irene planning murder, Lester’s mask of loving, doting husband suspended, and Myra horrified by just how far she’ll go. The film’s plot is as well rounded as a Greek tragedy, with just desserts for those who concoct evil ends for others. But it’s the delivery of those just desserts that makes for riveting viewing. The city of San Francisco assumes a spectacular role in Sudden Fear. The film includes great shots of the city, and it’s played here as both an ambivalent setting for nefarious actions, and also as a rat’s maze in the frenzied, final action-packed scenes. The city’s inanimate beauty serves to highlight urban indifference to its inhabitants’ actions. Sudden Fear gives Crawford a terrific role and gives her the chance to act her heart out. Here she’s the tough, cold businesswoman who melts with Lester’s continued interest. Weakened by emotion and threatened by violence, she spends one hysterical terror-filled night in the shifting shadows of her bedroom before going on the offensive in the no-one-fucks-with-Joan role fans love so much. The fact that Myra is a successful playwright is artfully weaved into the story when she imagines she can write her way out of a real-life problem just as she would write a script for one of her plays. Myra’s attempt to script her own life is seen in a series of imagined flash-forward sequences. Unfortunately, since she is dealing with real people and not fictional characters, there’s an element of unpredictability that even Myra can’t anticipate. Just as the timing in a play must be precision perfect, Myra’s scheme also relies on split second sequencing. The film uses the ticking of a clock to emphasize the crucial timing involved in Myra’s plan. The clock ticks away like a metronome with the action and nerve-wracking suspense building to a frenzied, orgasmic, and deadly conclusion. Written by Guy Savage

    Comments

    1 month ago

    In the film Jack Palance tells a woman during an embrace, "I could break your bones." And he means it romantically! That probably sums up the odd, entertaining, and off-beat nature of this movie. There is so much "eye-action" from Joan in this one that it's almost funny. Actually it is funny. Though Sudden Fear is not a comedy, it has moments that are truly hysterical in a "did they really just say that?" kind of way. Watch for the moments when Joan responds to overheard conversations, personal scheming, (or the voices in her head)with nothing but wide-eyed reaction shots. Joan is also a tremendously sympathetic character more so than in almost any other Crawford film I've ever seen (and I've seen almost all of them). I caught this film on TV one night and was utterly surprised at how entertaining it was. Not that I had low expectations but Sudden Fear wasn't a film I'd ever heard of. It was proof that there are lots of dark diamonds hidden out there. We all know about the "top 100" lists and the legendary films on them but there are gems worth watching that never got the attention they should have. I watched from beginning to end not knowing what to expect. Truly thrilling in places and just plain classic Crawford. Watch for the moment when Joan embraces her love interest Palance and asks, "I was just wondering what I'd done to deserve you."

    1 month ago

    This is a real edge-of-your-seat nail-biter. David Miller did a terrific job of directing this one, and the cinematography is spectacular by Charles Lang. Some of the shots are as inspired as anything ever seen in Hollywood, such as one in Joan Crawford's library where upon hearing an inadvertent recording made on her dictaphone, she gradually shrinks back in horror against the far wall, until she becomes nearly a dot in the distance. That shot is a real triumph of cinematic inspiration. Much is accomplished with a clock and its pendulum, with the star-shaped pendulum at one point shown in shadow swinging across her chest as she gets more and more anxious. None of this is overdone, but is all subtle and effective. Joan Crawford has us all spellbound with her magnificent performance. She throws vanity to the winds, and is not afraid to show her character as someone in the round, complete with cowardice, foolishness, and even extreme stupidity, combined with cunning, intelligence, charm and inspiration. Rarely has a woman been shown so soaked in sweat with sheer terror, and she must have stepped straight out of the shower for each of those shots. When we aren't staring at her incredulous, we notice that Jack Palance is highly effective, and then we have the delectable treat of Gloria Grahame turning up. Which true cineaste does not adore Gloria Grahame? She herself probably never knew what all the fuss was about, regarding herself no doubt as an ordinary girl. But Gloria Grahame was far from ordinary. She had that indefinable something plus a lot of other somethings, which for reasons which are deeply mysterious and impossible to explain leave many people like myself in a state of entranced wonder. What was it about her? No matter how many times we watch her we will never know, all we can say is there will never be another one. This film is a real humdinger.

    1 month ago

    It seems that the first impressions are really the most lasting. No matter how seriously we take that into account, a slightly similar conclusion could arise at the encounter of a playwright Myra Hudson (Joan Crawford) with an actor she auditions. Lester Blaine (Jack Palance) does not appear to be HER idea of a romantic leading man, "he just looks romantic but does not sound so." What is more, his notion about an oil painting of Casanova leaves confusing riddle within her mind and yet...she will soon stand before the dilemma to make up her mind and stick to it no matter what price she is going to pay. Like Joan Crawford did not, initially, prefer Jack Palance as her leading man in the motion picture, Myra Hudson did not fancy Lester. Changing her mind, however, occurs inevitable. Myra soon utters romantically "Without you I have nothing!" And yet, is the truth about him disguised behind a romantic smile? Will sudden fear occur to disillusion Myra and rescue her from sudden murder?When I have recently viewed this wonderful film noir, I felt it was the right time because I had already got to know the greatest films of the genre, not superior ones but similar ones. What I mean by that are the films directed by the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. When seeing SUDDEN FEAR, you had better be acquainted with some of Hitchcock's best films because then, you may realize that SUDDEN FEAR has so much in common with the gem of noir. It's Hitchcock's fertile theme and Miller's stylish bravura. From the characters, objects, undertones, certain details, doom-filled atmosphere to the unique charm of San Francisco and the utterance that seems to be the core of Hitchcock's suspense: "This place is so perfect for an accident." Let me broaden some aspects of David Miller's picture which make us see it as one of the greatest representatives of its genre in the purest form.The TORMENTED LEADING CHARACTER, Myra Hudson played brilliantly by Joan Crawford, highlights something truly ahead of its time. As an executive producer of SUDDEN FEAR, Ms Crawford allows viewers to get into her inner psyche and provokes a progressive approach: we psychoanalyze her as a character! Nothing like a linear storytelling, forget it! Yet, something that talks about a psychological world. We psychoanalyze her 'professional eye' in the theater scene, her coldness melted on a train at the match game that becomes as mysterious as the manipulative flirts, her 'blind confidence' in wedding Lester, the seeds of doubt that are being slowly planted from the moment he does not answer her phone. As a matter of fact, this is a purely genius scene when viewers-observers, unlike Myra herself, are granted a signal: "something is wrong about him." As a result, we differ from Myra, we feel suspicion earlier than her and, consequently, wait for her disillusion. When the unbelievable shock comes in her library and she confronts the reality, her behavior is utterly unpredictable: she does not resort to a state of blending fantasy with reality but remains cold and disguised both to us and to the people around her. In that respect, isn't she a typical Hitchcock's leading lady? Apart from one difference - she is not a blonde. Nominated for Oscar, Joan Crawford offers us a pure masterwork of acting.JACK PALANCE, who replaces Ms Crawford's initial wish of casting Marlon Brando or Clark Gable, is truly surprising as a leading man. The fact we are not used to him in such a highlighted performance that combines a doe-eyed romanticist with a secret fox makes the effect even more memorable. An important fact here to state is that Lester is equally appealing in the psychoanalyzing approach as Myra. His pretense at the beginning, his patronizing behavior on the train, his look at hands, and his gradual 'promotion' in Myra's eyes beautifully depict an ambitious type. Later, his vitality and efforts are, somehow, focused on two women: Myra and Irene. When Myra begins to be his object of wealth's desire, Irene becomes his object of lust's desire. She is a 'blonde of lust.' Their scheme is a realization of their sexuality - something very Hitchcock-like where crime goes with sex. "Kiss me hard..." Note the love scene at the fireplace in the summerhouse and the way it is shot. Oscar nominated for Best Supporting Actor, Jack Palance appears to give a performance beyond our expectations.Another great aspect that makes the genre so engrossing and absorbing is the use of objects that manipulate our perceptions and the cinematography that builds the atmosphere. Staircase scenes that purely recall STRANGERS ON A TRAIN and many great noir genres. And the objects including the clock that reveals heartbeat, the phone that disturbs the chain of emotions and rises fear, and, above all, the DICTATING MACHINE that becomes, in a way, another character of the story. The nightmarish fantasy seems to recall SPELLBOUND. The atmosphere is immensely powerful as the secret is partly revealed by the dictating machine ("I know a way") and Myra's reaction being one of the most natural and daring we can encounter. Mind you the realism (she vomits and we deduce it). Charles Lang's cinematography reaches the climax in the shots of interiors where everything seems to be overwhelmed by torments: images are combined with various sounds from the clock ticking to screaming and morose silence.For a number of reasons, SUDDEN FEAR is a surprisingly modern entertainment, its age makes it a unique achievement on its own and the one that will never be duplicated thanks to top rate performances, haunting cinematography, plenty of daring ideas. A really ambitious and insightful production. One and only in its riveting entertainment!

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