7.5/10
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83 user 53 critic

The Man with the Golden Arm (1955)

A strung-out junkie deals with a demoralizing drug addiction while his crippled wife and card sharks pull him down.

Director:

Otto Preminger

Writers:

Walter Newman (screenplay), Lewis Meltzer (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:
Frank Sinatra ... Frankie Machine
Eleanor Parker ... Zosh Machine
Kim Novak ... Molly
Arnold Stang ... Sparrow
Darren McGavin ... Louie
Robert Strauss ... Schwiefka
John Conte John Conte ... Drunky
Doro Merande ... Vi
George E. Stone ... Sam Markette
George Mathews ... Williams
Leonid Kinskey ... Dominiwski
Emile Meyer ... 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 unusual motion picture See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 January 1956 (Brazil) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Mann mit dem goldenen Arm See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$4,350,000, 31 December 1955
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Otto Preminger Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Novelist Nelson Algren initially sold the screen rights to John Garfield's company. Although a script was developed, the actor's sudden early death allowed Otto Preminger to acquire the rights. See more »

Goofs

When Frankie returns to his apartment after his release, the top edge of the set and the studio lights are clearly visible as the camera pans across the room. See more »

Quotes

Sparrow: You can't hold me, I'm un-incapable. I'm not smart enough to be running around loose and too goofy to be locked up. The neck, will ya let go of the neck... let go of the neck!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Vegas Vacation (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Only the subject matter of this film is dated.
28 February 2001 | by David HoffmanSee all my reviews

We have moved far beyond this tentative foray into a forbidden area-drug addiction-for the 1950s. As such, the film may seem dated. The Man with the Golden Arm served its function is peeling back a layer of the underside of society, an eye-opener to a Southern country boy in 1955 when I first viewed this film in the theater. After some serious consideration about being too young, I was allowed to go. It was powerful and affecting then and still maintains some sharp, painful moments of the soul stripped naked. As a movie depicting the loneliness at the core of being, it succeeds.

Filled with angst, Frank Sinatra, in his best role, creates a vulnerability that makes him sympathetic to the viewer. He conveys his helplessness and ineffectualness in a beautifully restrained performance. As a voice of common sense in the dead-end urban jungle, Kim Novak as Molly is quite good. She is compassionate and yet stands on solid ground. The interaction between Sinatra and Novak is really good. Darren McGavin plays a slimy character and does it very well. Eleanor Parker is superbly irritating and painfully insecure in her role of the pathetic Zosch, the crippled wife of Sinatra. Arnold Stang is another unlikely survivor of the street. Regarded as pitiful and despicable, his character Sparrow provides tart comedic moments.

The music is almost the star of this film-brooding, frenetic, moody, poignant. Elmer Bernstein's score perfectly accentuates the tensions of Frankie Machine's spiritual weakness and physical need for heroin. Molly's theme is bittersweet and captures aurally what the film depicts visually. I know of no other soundtrack that effectively complements the tension and defeat within a man as effectively as does this one.


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