"Suddenly" (1954 Frank Sinatra, Sterling Hayden)
"Suddenly" (1954) has been accused of inciting Lee Harvey Oswald to kill President Kennedy, due to its similarity to the real event and to the fact that Oswald allegedly watched this movie in the same week that the assassination took place. Starring Frank Sinatra, the film tells the story of a hired gunman who likes his work a little too much. He and his partners end up in the town of Suddenly, waiting for the train that will bring the president to them for a brief moment, before he continues on his way. They move by force into a widow's house that gives them the upper hand, and the perfect opportunity to make their mark on the president.
Execution: Sterling Hayden is good as well as Sinatra. There is not enough development of characters and a poor explanation of the plot to assassinate or who the orders are coming from. All the basic elements are there for a really good thriller, but since this movie was only 1 hour and 15 minutes long, I can easily see how adding an additional 30 minutes of plot development and delving into the Sinatra's (John Baron) motivations would add more tension. Pop and Ellen Benson (played by James Gleason and Nancy Gates) could use a broadening of their characters too, especially since a main part of Ellen's character was her husband dying in the war but little is explained of that. The final scenes feel rushed and also not allowed to build up the tension enough. Instead of making it a modern day remake I think this would work well as a period piece kept in the 50's.
My casting suggestions:
John Baron - (Frank Sinatra) Ralph Fiennes
Sheriff Tod Shaw - (Sterling Hayden) Russell Crowe/James Spader
Pop Benson - (James Gleason) Tommy Lee Jones/Jeff Bridges
Ellen Benson - (Nancy Gates) Kerri Russell
and yes I am aware that they did remake the movie.. however when the person remaking the movie is Uwe Boll widely considered the worst director and writer of all time (and not in a fun way like Ed Wood Jr.) You aren't really getting a good remake.
The original is worth watching and not a bad movie by any means, I just feel like there is so much potential and it can be done without a big budget and in the hands of a good director who can get good performances out of the cast since 80 % of the movie takes place in one or two rooms of a house. As you watch remember my suggested cast and see if you can see what I see.
You can buy the original at the TCM shop HERE
or watch it on Netflix