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166 Ratings

Sudden Fear

Directed by David Miller
United States, 1952
Thriller, Drama, Film noir


After an ambitious actor insinuates himself into the life of a wealthy middle-aged playwright and marries her, he plots with his mistress to murder her.

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Sudden Fear Directed by David Miller

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

1953 | 4 nominations including: Best Actress in a Leading Role

Golden Globes (USA)

1953 | Nominee: Best Actress - Drama

The endearing nonsense is very capably directed by David Miller, otherwise best known for atrocities — the mostly-dire Marx Bros “romp” LOVE HAPPY and MGM’s pointless remake of THE WOMEN, THE OPPOSITE SEX. I’ve been meaning to watch Miller and Dalton Trumbo’s LONELY ARE THE BRAVE, and this encourages me. The guy had talent, seen here mainly in artfully-framed studies of Joan’s martyred features, and dynamic use of the Palance physicality.
April 12, 2017
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In so many ways, Sudden Fear feels like quintessential Crawford, and peak 1952, starting with the credits: “Gowns by Sheila O’Brien, Lingerie by Tula, Furs by Al Teitelbaum, Hats by Rex Inc.” When Myra looks at her watch during the climactic scenes, of course it’s got a multi-strand pearl strap and a jeweled face; when a gun shows up, you better believe it has a pearl handle. And Crawford, who was well capable of underplaying when the need arose, clearly held nothing back in playing Myra.
August 11, 2016
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It’s the equally scorned sibling to Michael Curtiz’s Mildred Pierce. A star, visual verve, and generic fusion are shared between them, but their approaches differ. Were the winning pair of Miller and writer Lenore J. Coffee—his first noir, her several-dozenth script—a noir couple, we’d be the deceived spouse. That Sudden Fear is linked to noir is the first twist; despite the pulpy title, the film more closely resembles the heaving melodrama pertinent to Joan Crawford.
August 10, 2016
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