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The Man with the Golden Arm (1955)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 16 January 1956 (Brazil)
A strung-out junkie deals with a demoralizing drug addiction while his crippled wife and card sharks pull him down.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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John Conte ...
Doro Merande ...
Vi
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Sam Markette
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Williams
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Dominiwski
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Detective Bednar
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Storyline

Frankie Machine is a skilled card dealer and one-time heroin addict. When he returns home from jail, he struggles to find a new livelihood and to avoid slipping back into addiction. Written by Mike Campanelli <mjc@rubinbaum.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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An "unthinkable" theme See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

16 January 1956 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

Der Mann mit dem goldenen Arm  »

Company Credits

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(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ray Bradbury turned down offers to collaborate on the screenplay, along with the screenplay for Anatomy of a Murder (1959), which Bradbury claimed was $200,000 worth of work. Bradbury said of the refusal "I don't give a goddamn about drugs; it bores the hell out of me. I don't understand the people who take them. So why would I write a screenplay? I'd get a writer's block immediately." See more »

Goofs

In the first scene between Frankie and Zosch the shadow of the camera is frequently visible as it moves around the set. See more »

Quotes

Frankie Machine: You mean just stop? Cold turkey? You don't understand! The pain...
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Connections

Referenced in Guns for Hire: The Making of 'The Magnificent Seven' (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Do you think those bobbie soxers I'll really go for me?
28 December 2004 | by (Brooklyn NY USA) – See all my reviews

(Mild Spoilers) Frankie Machine had been dealt a bad hand in life. A card dealer at an illegal gambling den in his Chicago neighborhood he was busted when the joint was raided by the cops and given six months in jail.

While behind bars Frankie was treated for his heroin addiction at the prisons hospital and learned how to play the drums as part of his rehabilitation program. Now out of prison and back in his old neighborhood Frankie is trying to put his life back together by getting a union card in the Musicians Union and then a job as a drummer in a band and put his old life behind him but instead it catches up with Frankie in no time at all in "The Man with the Golden Arm".

Otto Preminger's ground-breaking 1955 film about heroin addiction with Frank Sinatra giving the performance of his life as the drug addicted card sharp Frankie Machine, the Man with the Golden Arm. Frankie tries to getaway from the life that he lead but has this monkey or, better yet, gorilla on his back that just won't let him. Soild performances by the entire supporting cast starting with Frankie's friend Sparrow, Arnold Stang. Sparrows attempt to get Frankie back on his feet by shoplifting a suit of clothes for him ends up putting him and Frankie in the slammer, and almost back to prison, until his former boss at the gambling den Schwiefka bailed him out.

There's Frankie's psychically as well as emotionally crippled wife Zosch, Eleanor Parker, who sees that her hold on Frankie is slipping and is slowly driven to madness murder and suicide. There's Frankie's drug dealer Louie, with Darren McGavin in one of his first acting roles, who's hold on Frankie is only good as long as he stays addicted and Louie goes out of his way to make sure that he does.

There's the owner of the gambling joint that Frankie works at as it's top card dealer Schwiefka, Robert Strauss, who like Louie goes out of his way to get Frankie back to work for him even though if he's arrested again Frankie's hopes for a new and better life will go down the drain. And then there's Frankie's next-door neighbor and friend Molly, Kim Novak,who goes to almost impossible lengths to get him over his addiction by locking him up in her apartment. It's there that he goes "Cold Turkey" and almost ends up dying trying to kick the habit in one of the most harrowing sequence ever put on film.

A no holds barred movie with explosive performances by everyone involved makes "The Man with the Golden Arm" one of the great classics of realism in motion pictures coming out of the 1950's.


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