In the Line of Fire
In the small town of Suddenly, sheriff Tod Shaw (Sterling Hayden) keeps the peace whilst trying to romance Ellen Benson (Nancy Gates), a widow and single mum. Trouble is that Ellen doesn't want her son to play with guns and is part of the reason why she won't date Tod because as a lawman he is pro-guns. But things in the town of Suddenly turn crazy when news comes down the wire that the U.S. President will be passing though and that leads to the Secret Service descending on the place. It also gives unhinged assassin John Baron (Frank Sinatra) a chance to do what he has been paid to do with Ellen's home being the perfect location for an ambush.
I will stop there with the synopsis for "Suddenly" for the simple reason that the storyline is simple but it is the revelations which make the movie such as who Ellen's step-father is and who she and her son still lives with. As such whilst we see the secret service work with Tod when it comes to the President passing through town we also see John Baron and his goons swoop on to the Benson residence to use it for there planned ambush. Yet as Pop Benson says, there is something fishy about this and as such we get these revelations and twists which help to not so much add mystery but certainly entertainment with even Ellen's protective, gun hating tendencies coming in to play.
Now the story to "Suddenly" is good thanks to those revelations and to be honest this features a good cast with all the cast playing their parts well. But this is one of those movies where the dialogue is so heavily crafted that it starts to feel forced. Basically if a character said "You Dirty Rat" it wouldn't be a shock as it has that style to it. Now for some that will be a positive but for me at times the dialogue and delivery of it ends up being all there is to a scene. Although Frank Sinatra certainly brings out a sadistic side to his character, which makes him more than just an unpleasant character but one who is unhinged.
What this all boils down to is that "Suddenly" is an entertaining little thriller from back in 1954 with a decent storyline and an equally decent cast. But this is a movie where the dialogue ends up over crafted and that makes it feel too scripted and forced.