Sudden Fear


Film Noir meets High Melodrama when Joan Crawford falls in love with the sinister Jack Palance and experiences a nasty case of Sudden Fear!

“Hugely enjoyable, and definitely a walk on the wild side … with suspense screwed way beyond the sticking point and Crawford in nerve-janglingly extravagant form.” – Time Out Film Guide

Crawford turns in one of the most emotionally charged performances of her career (and earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in the process) in this wickedly suspenseful thriller that begs the question Joan was prone to ask of many of her leading  men in the 1950s:  Is he going to kiss me or kill me?  In Sudden Fear, Crawford plays Myra Hudson, a wildly successful playwright and heiress who happens to be unlucky at love.   Enter Lester Blaine (Palance, at his creepy best), a suave and ambitious actor whom Myra has rejected for a part in her latest play.  When the rebuffed Lester begins to romance Myra, the initially suspicious playwright eventually warms to the actor’s dubious charms, and the two embark on a whirlwind relationship that leads to marriage.   But, this being a Joan Crawford thriller, the road to true love naturally hits a few major potholes along the way, and Myra begins to suspect that Lester may be in cahoots with his evil ex-girlfriend (Gloria Graham, The Big Heat) to cook up a plan to steal Myra’s fortune and drop the final curtain on her.  Now, the paranoid Myra must use all of her plotting skills as an award-winning writer to outwit the deadly duo, save herself from an untimely demise and wear as many fabulous fur coats as possible!  A San Francisco-set noir gem propelled by perverse romance, shadowy cinematography and a fascinating performance by Crawford that swings wildly from nuanced sensitivity to bug-eyed hysteria at the drop of a hat, Sudden Fear is an unbeatable combination of lush melodrama and drop-dead suspense. (Dir. by David Miller, 1952, USA, 110 mins., Not Rated)