Frank Sinatra was on fire when he made Suddenly. He was hot off his Oscar winning performance in From Here To Eternity. Suddenly is an odd pulpy noir with Sinatra as the villain and Sterling Hayden as a small town Sheriff. Sterling rarely played cops except for crooked ones like Captain McCluskey in The Godfather. Btw, one thing that made me such a film noir fan was first seeing Hayden and Richard Conte in One and then in so many little gems from the Fifties on the teevee machine. All roads in my life that do not lead to The Sopranos lead to The Godfather. Where have you gone, Johnny Fontane?
Now where was I? Oh yeah, Suddenly. Charlie Pierce recently wrote about the movie at his joint. I have quoted him frequently but never during this feature. Heeere’s the Charlinator:
Sixty years ago, there was released a very weird little bit of noir called Suddenly, in which Frank Sinatra played a hoodlum who comes to the town of Suddenly, California in order to assassinate the president of the United States. Sinatra’s John Baron is a stone killer who’s done his homework when it comes to killing presidents. (His scorn for John Wilkes Booth’s theatricality is pretty funny, actually.) Two years later, Sinatra went to the 1956 Democratic National Convention and met a rising young pol named John F. Kennedy, with whom he would ultimately party down all the way to the White House, including hooking Kennedy up with ladies connected to the Chicago mob. Then, they had a falling out, and, on November 22, 1963, Kennedy was murdered in broad daylight in a shooting that the official account argues took a little less than three seconds to fire each of the three shots.
“Gun’s got a heavy recoil, it won’t stand still,” Sinatra’s assassin says in the movie. “And we got just three seconds to nail the president.”
Like I said, very weird.
The Chairman of the Board was involved in two, count ’em, two movies that were eerily prescient about the Kennedy assassination. The Manchurian Candidate was the other one, and it’s obviously a more famous and better film, but Suddenly is a tight, well-acted thriller. Another thing the two films have in common is being featured in this, uh, feature.
Here’s another poster. It’s yeller and now it’s old but not a dog:
I hear he can sing too, y’all. Here’s the trailer:
Have I whetted your appetite? I hope so because the whole damn movie is on the YouTube. So, if you have 76 minutes, settle in and watch Suddenly: