Sudden Fear Reviews
Palance as Lester Blaine (a creepy Casanova and con artist rocking a face of severely chiseled stone) and Crawford as bigtime playwright Myra Hudson (tough as nails and super smart) are just superb. As with most classic noir, the multiple layers of deceit, betrayal and scheming mean that Hudson and Blaine constantly assume different masks/identities depending on the circumstances at any given moment. In other words, Crawford and Palance are playing characters who themselves are playing characters, and numerous ones at that.
In a sense, Palance/Blaine and Crawford/Hudson play out the theory that a within each of us exist multiple personalities. David Lynch has pushed this idea (which certainly is pantheistic in both a spiritual and psychological sense) into the realm of Dada and of surrealism. However, in 'Twin Peaks,' in 'Mulholland Dr.,' in 'Inland Empire' and so on the resonance of vintage noir like 'Sudden Fear' is pervasive in an ambient kind of way.
Note: folks interested in how sound technology is depicted in Hollywood really should see this film for the scene in which Hudson overhears Blaine's secret plans, which are accidentally captured on her dictaphone. It's quite heady and ahead of its time: the power of recorded speech to induce altered states of consciousness, tape loops, odd visual effects, etc.
Truly a suspenseful thriller.
Very well done.