Sudden Fear (1952)

DailyView: Day 243, Movie 339

We find ourselves in the year 1952 and there is a noir thriller, filmed in black and white, that stars the iconic Joan Crawford and the one and only Jack Palance. It was called Sudden Fear and it was a film with several twists and turns.

Crawford played playwright Myra Hudson, who was casting her new play on Broadway. She had to reject actor Lester Blaine, played by Palance, as the lead. After this awkward encounter, she met him aboard the train that she was taking back to her home in San Francisco. They become close on the train and end up getting married.

However, Myra discovered that he was only in the marriage to get her money and that he and his co-conspirator/mistress Irene (Gloria Grahame) were planning on killing her and making it look like an accident. Shocked by the betrayal, Myra started her own plan to take care of the situation.

Joan Crawford is great here. She is not anybody’s fool. There are some things that she did that made me yell at the screen, which you find in most films like this. She kept most of it reasonable, but there were a few things that happened that made me immediately question why it happened, besides that the plot needed it to happen.

Jack Palance is always great, especially playing a villain. You never quite trust him from his arrival on the train until his plan is revealed to Myra and the audience.

The ambiance of the flick is very effective and the final act is filled with tension and an uncertainty of what was going to happen. The last 20 minutes or so of Sudden Fear kept my attention 100% and had me on the edge of my seat. It was a very effective thriller and, despite some questionable decisions made by characters, Sudden Fear builds to an excellent conclusion.

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