Cohen Media Group this week, re-issued Joseph Kaufman Productions’ 1951 noir thriller Sudden Fear on on DVD. It marks the second time in less than four years that the independent studio has re-issued the movie, having re-issued it on Blu-ray in December 2016. The movie, an adaptation of author Edna Sherry’s book by the same name, is a surprisingly enjoyable cinematic work just as much here in its latest re-issue as its previous Blu-ray re-issue. That is due in part to its story. This will be discussed shortly. The work of the movie’s main stars—Joan Crawford, Jack Palance and Gloria Grahame—is just as important to note as the movie’s story to the overall presentation of the movie’s upcoming re-issue. The bonus commentary included with the movie’s upcoming re-issue rounds out its most important elements. Each element is important in its own way to the presentation of the movie’s upcoming re-issue. All things considered, Cohen Media Group’s re-issue of Sudden Fear proves to be one of 2016’s top new re-issues.
Cohen Media Group’s upcoming re-issue of Joseph Kaufman Productions’ 1952 hit noir thriller Sudden Fear is one of this year’s top new DVD/BD re-issues. This is proven in part through the movie’s story. Sudden Fear’s story was adapted from a page turner by the same name written by author Edna Sherry. It follows lead character Myra Hudson (Crawford) as she meets and falls in love with actor Lester Blaine (Palance). As the story progresses, Myra marries Lester Blaine, but finds out later he hadn’t married her for love at all, but rather for money. As she discovers by chance, he is plotting with another woman to murder her and take her money. There’s a certain irony to the plot that audiences will appreciate in hindsight. As it turns out because of his greed and short sightedness, he didn’t even know he could have had even more money. It serves to show the old adage that crime never pays is very true, and is a great addition to the story, especially in its subtlety. What’s even more interesting in dissecting the story is that being made in 1952, the story seemed pretty much run-of-the-mill back then. But now in the 21st century, one need just watch an episode of 48 Hours, Dateline or 20/20 to see just how realistic such a story can be and is. Add in relatively stable pacing over the course of the story’s near two-hour run time (the movie runs 110 minutes, just shy of the two-hour mark) and audiences get a story that forms a solid foundation for the movie’s presentation and that of its upcoming re-issue. It is just one part of what makes the movie’s upcoming re-issue so enjoyable. The work of the movie’s cast is just as important to note here as the movie’s story.
The story at Sudden Fear’s base is a hugely important part of the movie’s presentation. On one level, it does make some changes from author Edna Sherry’s original novel on which it is based. But it still strives to stay at least somewhat true to its source material. On another level, it is a simple story that audiences will have no trouble following, yet is still so gripping. On its last level, its pacing makes its 110-minute run time pass by with relative ease, even in its somewhat slower moments. Keeping that in mind, the movie’s story, again, forms a solid foundation for its presentation. While it is clearly an important piece of the movie’s presentation, it is just one of the movie’s key elements. The work of the movie’s cast is just as important to note here as that of its writers—Lenore J. Coffee, Robert Smith and Joan Crawford herself (this will be discussed later). Crawford, as audiences will learn through the bonus commentary included in the movie’s upcoming re-issue, was hardly a rookie actor when she took on the role of Myra Hudson in this movie. In fact, Turner Classic Movies writer and author Jeremy Arnold reveals that Crawford had starred in more than 70 (yes, 70 plus movies) at the time that she starred in Sudden Fear. Her years of experience showed clearly in her performance here as she progressed from strong, confident, self-assured playwright to standard female romantic lead back to that strong, confident, self-assured figure in the end. There were so many moments throughout where Crawford easily could have chewed some scenery such as when Myra first discovers by chance that Lester had only married her for her money or in the story’s final chase scene. But she didn’t allow herself to do that, instead exhibiting clearly those years of experience. That control made her acting so enjoyable to take in. Her talent will make audiences across the board cheer her on as she defies Lester and makes her own plan to stop him. Hers is just one example of what makes the cast’s wok so notable in this movie. Palance is just as impressive in his portrayal of the evil, scheming Lester.
Joan Crawford’s portrayal of Myra in this movie is spot on from beginning to end. Audiences will find themselves riveted by her performance as she journeys from a strong, confident woman to the standard female lead back to her strong, confident self. Crawford’s years of experience help her shine throughout her performance here, as she remains the consummate professional even in scenes where it would have been so easy for her to ham it up and really chew the scenery so to speak. This professionalism makes her portrayal of Myra completely believable. Hers isn’t the only work that should be noted here. Co-star Jack Palance’s work as Lester Blaine is just as notable. Palance is likely known to most audiences as the hardened cowboy Curly from City Slickers (1991). So his portrayal as the greedy Lester Blaine here is a surprising and entertaining change of pace. He makes audiences love to hate Lester as Lester and Irene plot to kill Myra. That’s not just because of his plotting but because of the personality that he gives Lester in his portrayal. Audiences will note that as confident as Lester proves to be, he is also quite lacking in confidence and somewhat maniacal. That is exhibited in the story’s final act as Lester and Irene’s plan (or technically Myra’s plan, not to give away too much) begins to unravel. Lester’s reaction (including his emoting) as he chases Myra is the clearest example of that lack of confidence and maniacal nature. Audiences will be enthralled as they watch Lester so determinedly chase her, to the point that he makes one fatal mistake (which won’t be given away here), leading up to the story’s finale. Between his work on camera and that of Crawford, the pair shows with full clarity the importance of the cast’s work to the movie’s presentation. The moments displayed here are just some of the moments in which their work shines. Audiences will find plenty of other moments in which their work proves so important to the movie’s presentation when they purchase or order the movie’s re-issue for themselves. Even when all of those moments are combined with the work of the movie’s writing team, they show themselves to be only two of the movie’s key elements. The bonus commentary that is included in the movie’s upcoming re-issue rounds out the movie’s most important elements.
The work of Sudden Fear’s writers and cast members are both important in their own way to the movie’s presentation. The writers’ work is so important because of the way in which they adapted author Edna Sherry’s novel for the big screen. It changes some of the material in Sherry’s story, but still ends up presenting a gripping story that will keep viewers on the edge of their collective seats. Lead stars Joan Crawford and Jack Palance are impressive, too as the movie’s leads. Their cast mates as entertaining in their own right, too. While the work of the movie’s cast and writers proves to be in key to the movie’s presentation in the end, they are only a couple of the elements that make the movie such a surprisingly entertaining work. The bonus commentary that is included in the movie’s upcoming re-issue rounds out its most important elements. Turner Classic Movies writer and author Jeremy Arnold provides the commentary for the movie in its upcoming re-issue. It isn’t the first time that he has provided commentary for one of CMG’s classics re-issues. He also provided commentary for the recent re-issues of Lured and A Scandal in Paris by CMG. He offers plenty of important information in his commentary here, just as in the company’s previous re-issues. Some of that important information includes the revelation that the idea to adapt Sherry’s novel to the big screen originally came from Crawford. The problem with adapting it was that it couldn’t be done until Crawford could get out of her contract with Warner Brothers. Arnold also reveals through his commentary the decision on the movie’s director even came from Crawford and that Sherry’s novel actually took place entirely in New York. He explains Sherry’s story never involved San Francisco, a train ride or certain other elements incorporated into the story’s big screen adaptation. He even gives viewers a little bit of a history lesson on Crawford’s early career in his commentary, revealing Crawford’s birth name and how she gained her screen name of Crawford. That story in itself will give viewers a little bit of a laugh. Between these revelations and so many others, Arnold provides viewers with lots of invaluable information throughout the movie. That mass of material is one more example of the importance of audio commentary in any movie’s home release. It can take a bad movie and potentially make it worth a second watch, or it can take a good movie (such as this work) and make it great. Considering that along with the writing team’s adaptation of Sherry’s story and the cast’s work, the movie proves in whole to be a work that movie lovers and classic film buffs alike will enjoy. It combines to make Sudden Fear one of this year’s top new re-issues.
Cohen Media Group’s upcoming re-issue of Joseph Kaufman Productions’ Sudden Fear is one of this year’s top new DVD/BD re-issues. That is evidenced in its story, adapted from Edna Sherry’s original novel. While the story presents a number of differences from Sherry’s literary work, it is still an entertaining work in its own right. There are a lot of moviemakers out there today who could take a lesson from the writing team’s approach to this story considering that. The work of the movie’s cast on camera is just as important to note here, especially that of lead stars Joan Crawford and Jack Palance. Their work will keep viewers just as engaged and entertained as the story itself. The bonus commentary included in the movie’s upcoming re-issue rounds out the most important of its elements. Jeremy Arnold once again offers a great depth of knowledge about and appreciation for the movie, even as robotic as his delivery seems at times. Each element is important in its own right to the movie’s presentation here. All things considered, CMG’s upcoming re-issue of Sudden Fear proves itself to be one of this year’s top new DVD/BD re-issues. It will be available Tuesday, December 13. More information on this and other titles from Cohen Media Group is available online now at:
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