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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by Lewis Allen
USA 1954

"Suddenly" is a peaceful small town in Southern California. Nothing ever happens but one day the local police are notified that a train carrying the President of the United States, on a re-election campaign tour, will be making a brief stop in their little hamlet.


As expected, security is stringent as FBI agents comb the area to see that every precaution is taken to ensure the President's protection. A car draws up at the home of a family whose house overlooks the station at the very point where the President's train will stop. A trio of men headed by John Baron (Frank Sinatra) announce themselves as FBI security men and proceed to enter the house. Eventually the genuine FBI agents turn up and are shot by Baron. The family realizes that he is a paid assassin preparing to shot the President! He and his henchmen hold the family hostage at gunpoint as they await the arrival of the presidential train.


As the hours pass, Baron's pathological personality becomes more pronounced while the family try, unsuccessfully,  various ways to outwit him and his men. The killer's plans have been carefully laid and as the train approaches. The tension mounts and it seems that nothing can prevent the impending murder of the nation's leader.

 

Suddenly is an obvious attempt at eroding any pacifist leanings. It uses and targets women as the weak link in the chain of vigilant security. The young mother Ellen Benson (played by Nancy Gates), has lost her husband in Korea (fighting the communist menace) and consistently attempts to keep her son Pidge (Kim Charney) from playing with guns. The strong father-in-law opposes this and the mother is portrayed as a simple un-worldly female unaware of the threats that society is consistently exposed to. From this standpoint the film is a true classic of pro-war propaganda and 'defense of country' with nationalistic intent. You can almost hear in the narrative " The commies could be everywhere". A fascinating and obvious piece of cold-war fear mongering -  out of     

 

NOTE: Sinatra made two films with a plot revolving around a Presidential assassination (the other being The Manchurian Candidate), but Suddenly became infamous when it was learned Lee Harvey Oswald had watched the film just a few days before he shot President Kennedy. After learning of this, Sinatra had the prints removed from circulation.

Posters

Theatrical Release: October 7th, 1954 - USA

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Comparison:

WEA Corp. (Troma) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Sanctuary Digital Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Disc Plaza Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Image Entertainment - Region 1- NTSC vs. Wild Side Video - Region 2 - PAL vs. HD Cinema Classics - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. Image Entertainment - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Bill Coleman and  Per-Olaf Strandberg for the DVD screen captures !

1) WEA Corp (Troma) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP LEFT

2) Sanctuary Digital Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC TOP MIDDLE

3) Disc Plaza Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP RIGHT

4) Image Entertainment - Region 1- NTSC - BOTTOM LEFT

5) Wild Side Video - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM SECOND

6) HD Cinema Classics - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM THIRD

7) Image Entertainment - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM RIGHT

 

 

Box Covers

 

 

     

 

   

Distribution

WEA Corp (Troma)

Region 0 - NTSC

Sanctuary Digital Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

Disc Plaza Entertainment

Region 0  - NTSC

 

   

Image Entertainment
Region 1 - NTSC
Wild Side Video
Region 2 - PAL
HD Cinema Classics - Region FREE - Blu-ray Image Entertainment - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

Distribution

WEA Corp (Troma)

Region 0 - NTSC

Sanctuary Digital Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

Disc Plaza Entertainment

Region 0  - NTSC

Image Entertainment
Region 1 - NTSC
Wild Side Video
Region 2 - PAL
HD Cinema Classics - Region FREE - Blu-ray Image Entertainment - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:15:41 1:12:29 (4% PAL speedup) 1:15:45 1:12:09 1:12:27 (4% PAL speedup) 1:16:43.140 1:16:51.023
Video 1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: ? mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio 
Average Bitrate: ?mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.32:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 2.35 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.7 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio 
Average Bitrate: 7.31 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

Disc Size: 19,286,046,722 bytes

Feature Size: 18,386,946,048 bytes

Average Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

Disc Size: 20,989,890,365 bytes

Feature Size: 19,022,579,712 bytes

Average Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Disc Plaza

 

Bitrate:

 

Image

 

Bitrate:

 

Wild Side

 

Bitrate:  HD Classics

 

Blu-ray

 

Bitrate:  Image

 

Blu-ray

 

Audio English (2.0 mono) English (2.0 mono) English (2.0 mono)

English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Dolby) 

English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Dolby)  Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
DTS-HD Master Audio English 816 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 816 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
Subtitles None English HoH, French, German,
Spanish, NONE
None None French, NONE None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: WEA Corp.

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Film background

• Credits

• Bonus materials - Two Serial episodes, from Flash Gordon and Radar Man from the Moon

DVD Release Date: June 29th, 2004
Keep Case

Chapters 6

 

Release Information:
Studio: Disc Plaza / Platinum Disc Corporation

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen (non 16X9) - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Cast & Crew
Frank Sinatra 13 pages
Sterling Hayden 8 p
Nancy Gates 2 p
James Gleason 2 p
Raksin 4 p
Richard Sale 1 p
Lewis Allen 2 p
•  Background information 7 pages
• Commentary track from Ken Barnes, including archive recordings of Sinatra and Bing Cosby from around the 1954 Academy Awards.
• Featurette: Sinatra The Actor 5:14
•  Featurette: Sinatra The Singer 6:17
•  Featurette: Sinatra The Man 5:01
•  Afterthoughts 7 Pages
• Notes 4 pages

DVD Release Date: October 15th, 2001
Keep Case

Chapters 20

Release Information:
Studio: Disc Plaza / Platinum Disc Corporation

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Includes "The Man With the Golden Arm"

DVD Release Date: June 1st, 1999
Keep Case

Chapters 6

Release Information:
Studio: Image Entertainment (Hal Roach Classic division)

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Liner note page with poster 

DVD Release Date: May 18th, 2004

Keep Case
Chapters: 8

Release Information:
Studio: Wild Side Video
 
Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
None

 

DVD Release Date: January 5th. 2010
Transparent Keep case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio:
HD Cinema Classics
 

Disc Size: 19,286,046,722 bytes

Feature Size: 18,386,946,048 bytes

Average Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

 

Edition Details:
• 
Audio Commentary by Tom Santopietro

• Restoration Demonstration (split screen - 1:05 in 1080P)
• Trailer (2:00 in 1080P)
• Postcard with the poster
• DVD of the film included

Blu-ray Release Date: October 16th, 2012
Standard
Blu-ray Case
12 Chapters

Release Information:
Studio: Image Entertainment
 

Disc Size: 20,989,890,365 bytes

Feature Size: 19,022,579,712 bytes

Average Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

 

Edition Details:
• 
New Audio Commentary by FRANK SINATRA, JR
New Audio Commentary by DR. DREW CASPER, Professor of American Film
Short Film by Francis Thompson: N.Y., N.Y.: A Day in New York (1957)
Image Galleryd

Blu-ray Release Date: December 4th, 2012
Standard
Blu-ray Case
12 Chapters

 

 

Comments: NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Image Entertainment - Region 'A' - Blu-ray November 2012: Firstly I know my buddy, Peter, will be disappointed that the new Image Entertainment Blu-ray aspect ratio is NOT 1.66:1, it actually is about 1.37:1 and shows rounded corners and more information in the frame than the HD-Cinema Classics transfer. Beside the Image Ent. 1080P the HD-Cinema Classics looks a bit horizontally stretched. This new Blu-ray is advertised as 'Transferred from Original 35mm Studio Fine Grain Master Print". Although technically the same as the previous hi-def transfer (both single-layered with the same bitrate) the newer visuals are smoother, less artefacts, but also not as much texture. It is a shade darker, may have had some touch-ups - whether you prefer it will be personal taste with the notable factors being: the rounded corners, more information in the frame, smoother (less texture and artefacts) etc. .

Strangely, audio is still not lossless (?) but sounds solid with some faint echo here and there. The biggest improvement may be the two commentary tracks - one with Frank Sinatra Jr. and the second with the knowledgeable Dr. Drew Casper. Noir fans will find the second highly interesting. There is also a 145-minute short about New York in a Kaleidoscope view of the day-to-day-life in the city. There is also a decent image gallery.

I'm a little under-whelmed as my expectations were not reached but I, sincerely, doubt, we will get a better Blu-ray package - the Casper commentary sealed it for me. I've seen Suddenly about 10 times now and like it every time from Frank's over-the-top performance to the entire noir feel of the film.

***

ADDITION: HD Cinema Classics - Region FREE - Blu-ray October 2012: Perhaps the chaps at HD Cinema Classics have been reading DVDBeaver. I think this is their first Blu-ray that isn't over-digitized - it actually supports some of the film's grain structure. Unlike The Stranger, The Red House and Kansas City Confidential this isn't unnaturally waxy and soft or boosted - no heavily slathering of DNR. It's not perfect but seems the best of the digital editions compared here. It is also the longest (uncut?) - and in theatrical running time.

The audio is not lossless and the extras are a commentary and a restoration demo, a DVD of the film and a trailer. There is also a postcard of the film's poster. This is single-layered with a decent bitrate and the 1080P appearance actually improves as the film runs.

BUT we think it would be far more prudent to wait as in December Image Entertainment are releasing this public domain title in Blu-ray HERE with two commentaries (one by Drew Casper!) and we will definitely compare! Stay tuned!

***

ADDITION (Wild Side Video - August 2010) - Single-layered but a correct standards conversion (see 4% faster PAL running time) with a progressive 1.33:1 transfer. It's imperfect appearing a bit hazy. It may be the cleanest and smoothest with less artefacts than the Sanctuary but not as sharp and there are no extras. I'd still lean to the artefact-riddled, edge-enhanced, widescreen Sanctuary, but the Wild Side appears to be the only one 'in-print' anyway - and this may never come to Blu-ray.

NOTE: The French subs are not 'burned-in" but most players may 'force' them. You can get around this by -'re-burning' without loss of the image quality as it is a DVD5 - see HERE.

***

ADDITION (WEA Corp. - January - 05) - it seems as soon as I open my mouth someone is reading to prove me wrong. Now we see that you can also get this classic film in widescreen in NTSC-ville (The Sanctaury DVD, although being widescreen and NTSC, was also only available in the UK where they use PAL). So this WEA Corp DVD (is it also Troma?) is widescreen at 1.85 and although it has a better grey scale than all the others is still not as sharp as the edge-enhanced Sanctuary, which still has our recommendation.

****

ADDITION (Sanctuary Digital Entertainment - Dec -04) - Well, well, well - what have we here. Buried in a PAL country (UK) but my contributor assures me that the disc is NTSC... and not only that - we have even more surprises. The far superior Sanctuary DVD claims the film was theatrically shown at 1.85 widescreen! .. and the composition appears to bear that out. The Image Entertainment disc looks absurdly blue next to the Sanctuary and is a notch below on the sharpness scale to its UK predecessor.  The Sanctuary looks much more like a 'real' DVD with extras, commentary, featurettes and decent menus. Wow, I am scratching my head - I am sure there is a reason that it is only for sale in the UK... but I wish I had known sooner before shelling out for this Image Entertainment cheapy. NOTE: The audio on the sanctuary is less than stellar with lots of crackles and pops. We flip-flop - our advice is BUY the Sanctuary !

****

The Disc Plaza edition has the lowest bitrate I have ever seen (2.35 mb/s) and is fraught with problems - aspect ratio adjustment (stretched horizontally), contrast boosting, cropped etc. Now the Image Disc is not perfect have a blue-ish haze over the picture, but it is miles better - sharper and superior contrast. Neither disc, unfortunately, has any extras, but the inexpensive Disc Plaza (aka Platinum) has the inclusion of another Sinatra classic 'The Man With the Golden Arm" and it is in better condition than "Suddenly".  There are many Public Domain issue DVDs of "Suddenly" and this Image DVD appears to be the best of the lot. A true classic noir that we encourage you to watch! 

 - Gary W. Tooze


Recommended Reading in Film Noir (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

Menus

(WEA Corp. (Troma) - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT vs. Sanctuary Digital Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC RIGHT).


 
 

 

(Disc Plaza Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Image Entertainment - Region 1- NTSC - RIGHT)

 

Wild Side Video - Region 2 - PAL

 

HD Cinema Classics - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

 

Image Entertainment - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

Subtitle Sample Image Entertainment - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Sanctuary DVD is widescreen... claiming:

 

(NOTE: The WEA Corp DVD is also widescreen.)

 

 

NOTE: The Disc Plaza release has huge combing issue with scene frame shifts:

 


Also Prevalent in the Image Entertainment disc it is far less noticeable:


Screen Captures

1) WEA Corp (Troma) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Sanctuary Digital Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Disc Plaza Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Image Entertainment - Region 1- NTSC - FOURTH

5) Wild Side Video - Region 2 - PAL FIFTH

6) HD Cinema Classics - Region FREE - Blu-ray - SIXTH

7) Image Entertainment - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM  

 


 

1) WEA Corp (Troma) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Sanctuary Digital Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Disc Plaza Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Image Entertainment - Region 1- NTSC - FOURTH

5) Wild Side Video - Region 2 - PAL FIFTH

6) HD Cinema Classics - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) WEA Corp (Troma) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Sanctuary Digital Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Disc Plaza Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Image Entertainment - Region 1- NTSC - FOURTH

5) Wild Side Video - Region 2 - PAL FIFTH

6) HD Cinema Classics - Region FREE - Blu-ray - SIXTH

7) Image Entertainment - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM  

 


 

1) WEA Corp (Troma) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Sanctuary Digital Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Disc Plaza Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Image Entertainment - Region 1- NTSC - FOURTH

5) Wild Side Video - Region 2 - PAL FIFTH

6) HD Cinema Classics - Region FREE - Blu-ray - SIXTH

7) Image Entertainment - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM  

 


1) WEA Corp (Troma) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Sanctuary Digital Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Disc Plaza Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Image Entertainment - Region 1- NTSC - FOURTH

5) Wild Side Video - Region 2 - PAL FIFTH

6) HD Cinema Classics - Region FREE - Blu-ray - SIXTH

7) Image Entertainment - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM  

 


 

1) WEA Corp (Troma) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Sanctuary Digital Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Disc Plaza Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Image Entertainment - Region 1- NTSC - FOURTH

5) Wild Side Video - Region 2 - PAL FIFTH

6) HD Cinema Classics - Region FREE - Blu-ray - SIXTH

7) Image Entertainment - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM  

 

Hit Counter


Report Card:

 

Image:

Image Entertainment Blu-ray

Sound:

tie

Extras:

Image Entertainment Blu-ray

 

Box Covers

 

 

     

 

   

Distribution

WEA Corp (Troma)

Region 0 - NTSC

Sanctuary Digital Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

Disc Plaza Entertainment

Region 0  - NTSC

 

   

Image Entertainment
Region 1 - NTSC
Wild Side Video
Region 2 - PAL
HD Cinema Classics - Region FREE - Blu-ray Image Entertainment - Region 'A' - Blu-ray




 


 

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Gary Tooze

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