The Man With the Golden Arm (1955)
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as Frankie Machine
as Zosch Machine
as Sam Markette
as Inspector Bednar
as Dr. Dominowski
as Taxi Driver
as Meter Reader
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Critic Reviews for The Man With the Golden Arm
The film is a pretty good picture show, as we used to say, but anyone who has read Nelson Algren's wonderfully poetic novel is likely to make invidious comparisons and be otherwise distracted.
A gripping, fascinating film, expertly produced and directed and performed with marked conviction by Frank Sinatra as the drug slave.
Frank Sinatra, as the drug-addicted poker dealer, plays a reasonably naturalistic character, but he's surrounded by a collection of bizarre archetypes.
There are some great scenes, though, notably Sinatra's audition for a make-or-break drumming job, and the later scene where he suffers cold turkey in Novak's apartment.
In short, for all the delicacy of the subject and for all the pathological shivers in a couple of scenes, there is nothing very surprising or exciting about The Man With the Golden Arm.
Audience Reviews for The Man With the Golden Arm
the film that changed the production code; it's hard to imagine the impact this must have had on movie audiences in 1955. the novel's super bleak ending was changed to be somewhat moralistic but hipster cool, the driving jazz score, plus sinatra's knock out performance make up for that imo. even novak is great and she's never really impressed me
Decent but not great movie about a ex-junkie and how he got sucked back into his habit.
I'm not a Sinatra fan, but he did OK as heroin addict Frankie Machine. The title refers to Johnny's job, which is a card dealer for illegal card games. Eleanor Powell plays Johnny's wife, who is in a wheelchair because of an accident that was Johnny's fault. Kim Novak plays Johnny's mistress with her usual stiff as a board portrayal (I'm not a Novak fan either) . I'm so used to Eleanor Powell playing strong women, that seeing her playing a weakling (although not as weak as she first appears...heheh) was interesting. Her performance reminded me a great deal of Joan Crawford in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, which wouldn't be for another seven years. Could Joan have based her protrayal on Powell's?
My main complaint about this film is that it seems to be two films edited together. We have the carddealer/heroin addict story, and then we have the love triangle between Johnny, his crippled wife and Molly. They only slightly seem to be connected.
I can't say that this film made me any more of a fan of either Sinatra or Novak, but I don't consider it a waste of time either.
This is basically an overwrought melodramatic depiction of hard drug abuse (one of the first in cinema, I believe). It's a little tame by today's standards, but it features really good performances and an excellent score by Elmer Bernstein. I give it a B-.
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