Archive of films The Man with the Golden Arm / The Man with the Golden Arm

1955, 119 min

Section: Tribute to Otto Preminger
Year: 2016

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.

Karel Och


Hollywood Classics
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United Kingdom
Tel: +44 207 517 7525
E-mail: [email protected]

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Film Archive
1313 Vine Street, 90028, Beverly Hills
United States of America
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Black & white, 35 mm

Section: Tribute to Otto Preminger
Director: Otto Preminger
Screenplay: Walter Newman, Lewis Meltzer podle románu / based on the novel by Nelson Algren
Dir. of Photography: Sam Leavitt
Music: Elmer Bernstein
Editor: Louis R. Loeffler
Art Director: Joe Wright
Producer: Otto Preminger
Production: Carlyle Productions
Cast: Frank Sinatra, Eleanor Parker, Kim Novak, Arnold Stang, Darren McGavin
Sales: Hollywood Classics
Contact: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Film Archive

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