7.5/10
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The Man with the Golden Arm (1955)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 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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Writers:

(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:
...
...
...
...
...
...
John Conte ...
Doro Merande ...
Vi
...
Sam Markette
...
Williams
...
Dominiwski
...
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

Taglines:

An "unthinkable" theme See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 January 1956 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

Der Mann mit dem goldenen Arm  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Screenwriter Walter Newman was unhappy with Eleanor Parker as Zosh and related in a 1972 interview that he told Preminger that Shelley Winters should be cast in the role. The writer thought Joanne Woodward would be fine in the role, but she hadn't acted in a film as yet at that point and Preminger turned her down. See more »

Goofs

Zasha's scrapbook is titled "My Scrapbook of Fatal Accidence" (instead of "accidents"). See more »

Quotes

Frankie Machine: Right now I need a fix. Just one fix to help me stop hurting'...
[Molly suggests he quit using]
Frankie Machine: You mean just stop? Cold turkey? You don't understand... the pain...
Molly: What else can you do?
Frankie Machine: All I need is one shot, just one.
Molly: All right.
[She takes money from a drawer]
Molly: Here. Take it. Go on and take it all. Cause all that you're gonna need after that one shot is another and then another and then another. Take it.
[She throws her money at him]
Molly: Take it. Why should you hurt like other people hurt? Yeah, so ...
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User Reviews

 
Gripping study of addiction
12 December 2005 | by (UK) – See all my reviews

Otto Preminger's "The Man with the Golden Arm" is a reference to heroin addiction - something that must have been rather risky to film back in 1955, fifty years ago (the censors today STILL have a problem with drug content in films!).

The lead role was originally offered to Marlon Brando, then snatched by Frank Sinatra before Brando could respond. Sinatra convincingly portrays a pro card dealer and ex-heroin addict who returns home to the city only to find himself battling the demons of temptation.

Preminger is one of my favorite directors (his "Anatomy of a Murder" starring James Stewart is a brilliant and revolutionary courtroom drama). Preminger pretty much helped change the face of cinema back in the '50s - "Anatomy of a Murder" was extremely controversial when it came out due to both its plot and content (references to rape, women's "panties," seduction, etc.) and "The Man with the Golden Arm" deals with a topic that is equally volatile.

However, Preminger pulls it off without becoming exploitative. This is like a forerunner to "The Panic in Needle Park" (1971) and bears more than a few similarities in terms of general motifs to the classic Billy Wilder movie "Lost Weekend," starring Ray Milland. These three films in particular are probably the best movies about alcoholism predating the 1980s and still remain relevant today.


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