Suddenly (Blu-ray + DVD Combo)
With a plotline inspired by then President Eisenhower's train trips to Palm Springs, Calif., Suddenly finds Baron (Frank Sinatra) holding pacifist war widow Ellen Benson (Nancy Gates), her family and the town sheriff (Sterling Hayden) hostage while preparing to shoot the president. In a tough, taut 75 minutes suffused with classic film noir elements, Suddenly presents characters alienated from their surroundings, men and women trapped in the dark side of a post-war American society where the old cultural certainties have vanished. Portraying a psychopath about whom Sinatra stated, "I have never seen on the screen any character as consistently brutal as this man is," he turns in a dramatic performance which ranks alongside his classic turns in From Here To Eternity and The Manchurian Candidate.
Complete with neurotic 1950s underpinnings that spoke to the post war atomic age of anxiety, Suddenly packs a punch so powerful that for two decades following President Kennedy's assassination, the film was never shown on television. Audiences today will remain as fascinated and unsettled as they were at the time of the film's initial release. With its early prescient take on American political violence, Suddenly remains, in the words of Newsweek's rave review: "As simple and startling as a good scream."