For a San Franciscan, the rewards of watching the classic film noir "Sudden Fear", just released on home video, are obvious: it was made here in locations that are still recognisable. Joan Crawford's lavish Pacific Heights home on 2800 Scott Street is now the Indonesian Consulate and Gloria Grahame's Tamalpais apartment building can still be seen on 1201 Greenwich Street. But even if you have never been to San Francisco, "Sudden Fear" is great film noir, superbly acted by Crawford and co-star Jack Palance, who both received Academy Award nominations, and by Grahame, who won the Oscar that year for another movie.
Of course, as with any Crawford flick, you have to accept certain conventions: that-a rich and famous playwright wouldn't meet the love of her life unti1 age 48, that she could actually WALK all the way from Scott/Green to Greenwich/Hyde in high heels & a mink coat after falling down a flight of stairs and THEN run up & down the hills of San Francisco with only a glamorously glowing forehead as visible evidence of her ordeal. Reportedly, Crawford was upset that Palance, 32, was her far-from-cute leading man & that his method acting techniques included French kisses during their love sequences. Put Palance is perfect as the opportunistic actor not sexy enough to be in Crawford's play & SO Sexy that she becomes obsessed with him in real life.
"Sudden Fear's" director David Miller skillfully blends elements of silent films & radio dramas at their manipulative best in this edge-of-your-seat-nail-biting chiller. Don't miss it on your video shelf.
Copyright 1996 Monica Sullivan
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