Sudden Fear

An independent production for distribution through RKO, this famous Joan Crawford vehicle - one of her best films from the fifties - has somehow vanished from circulation, and is next-to-impossible to see in an original 35mm print such as we will have the privilege of screening for this presentation. A noirish melodrama, Sudden Fear is photographed in darkly luxurious tones and shadows of black and white by Charles Lang Jr., and benefits further from the extraordinary chemistry of Joan Crawford and Jack Palance (!) in the leading roles of what turns out to be a truly bizarre story of love/disillusionment/fear/hatred/ and hysteria. On another level Sudden Fear is an extraordinary close-up documentary on Joan Crawford's face, a face whose evolution from the '20s to the '70s speaks volumes about the domestic American values it reflects from the other side of the lens/screen. The story concerns a wealthy playwright (Crawford) who finds it necessary to fire an actor (Palance) during a Broadway rehearsal. On the train home to San Francisco, playwright and actor meet and, it seems, fall in love. After marrying and settling down to a comfortable Nob Hill existence, dark schemes begin to hatch....

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