Man with the Golden Arm

5 ratings (5 Epinions reviews)
Epinions Product Rating: Excellent
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The Man with the Golden Arm (1955)

Jan 8, 2000
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:cast, direction, story, characters

Cons:sometimes melodramatic

Otto Preminger directed this intense, dramatic character study involving heroin addiction. While sometimes overblown, the film is interesting throughout. The depiction of addiction is not quite as harrowing as in "The Lost Weekend", but still has more teeth than most attempts by Hollywood studios. Preminger's efforts were rewarded with three Academy Award nominations, including a Best Actor nod to Frank Sinatra.

Frank Sinatra starred as Frankie Machine, a respected card dealer in illegal poker games, and a sometime dope addict. Frankie attempts to rebuild his life after leaving prison, by becoming a professional drummer. But, having returned to the old neighborhood, the old vices return as well, and Frankie ends up back where he started: addicted and dealing.

Sinatra gives an excellent performance, and any excesses can likely be attributed to Preminger's direction. The supporting cast is good as well, with some interesting characters. Arnold Stang plays a nasal-voiced dog lover who is also dog-like in his devotion to Frankie, and in his antagonism towards Frankie's enemies. Eleanor Parker is fine as Frankie's clinging, disturbed wife, who pretends to be paralyzed in an attempt to keep his sympathy. Darren McGavin is surprisingly creepy as Frankie's pusher. Kim Novak plays Frankie's mistress, but her character is flat and conventional. Well, you can't have everything.

"The Man with the Golden Arm" was also Oscar nominated for its sets, and for Elmer Bernstein's score. It was the first of thirteen nominations that Bernstein would receive during his career. (65/100)


Recommend this product? Yes


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