Archive of films The Man with the Golden Arm / The Man with the Golden Arm
1955, 119 min
Section: Tribute to Otto Preminger
In the role of a lifetime, Frank Sinatra plays Frankie Machine, a much sought-after poker dealer who wants to start over after a stint in the joint. Another installment in the battle Preminger waged against the censors, in this instance an exceptionally bold (for its time) depiction of drug addiction.
Frankie Machine is back. The much sought-after poker dealer has managed to kick his heroin habit after a short stint in the joint. He even learned to play the drums while in lockup, and now, with the monkey off his back, he’s planning on starting a career in music. Several of his friends welcome his return with sincere goodwill; for others he becomes a target of taunting as they test how long the initially resolute “nice guy” can last without a fix. The women in his life aren’t indifferent to him either – his high strung wife Zosh (Eleanor Parker), bound to a wheelchair, and Molly, the melancholy girl from downstairs (Kim Novak). But shaking off old habits is harder than it seems. Frank Sinatra energetically took hold of his most intense role right from the get-go (tradition has it that he snapped up the role of Frankie before Marlon Brando’s agent could get back to Preminger, who also had the On the Waterfront star under consideration). Although the original plan to shoot in actual Chicago underworld locations was scuttled to save on production costs, the filmmaker achieved the same authentic sense of unease that had made Nelson Algren’s novel so compelling through a bold portrayal of the course and effects of drug addiction. This was the mid-1950s, remember, and Preminger was bucking for another fight with the censors.
About the film
Black & white, 35 mm
|Section:||Tribute to Otto Preminger|
|Screenplay:||Walter Newman, Lewis Meltzer podle románu / based on the novel by Nelson Algren|
|Dir. of Photography:||Sam Leavitt|
|Editor:||Louis R. Loeffler|
|Art Director:||Joe Wright|
|Cast:||Frank Sinatra, Eleanor Parker, Kim Novak, Arnold Stang, Darren McGavin|
|Contact:||Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Film Archive|