Especially for generations who were introduced to Ol’ Blue Eyes via Cannonball Run II, it’s easy to forget Sinatra could act, and in Suddenly, he does that quite well as John Baron, an assassin for hire who takes over a nice family’s home in the small town of the title in order to whack the president of the U.S. with a high-powered file as the elected official steps off the train. The Godfather’s Sterling Hayden (who speaks like Phil Hartman) co-stars as Baron’s chief nemesis, the town sheriff.
Almost playing out in real time à la 24, TV director Lewis Allen’s picture builds suspense and slowly boils to a most clever ending. That much of the movie takes place in one room lends a great deal of tension to the proceedings.
A perennial public-domain DVD favorite, Suddenly looks positively splendid in Image Entertainment’s new Blu-ray. It’s struck from an original print, and sure looks it. With two commentaries (one by Sinatra’s son) and a kaleidoscopic short film on New York that bears no discernible direct connection, the disc is the definitive edition it proclaims itself to be. —Rod Lott