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The Man with the Golden Arm

4.3 out of 5 stars 141 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Frank Sinatra stars with Kim Novak and Eleanor Parker in this riveting drama about a poker dealer/jazz musician who descends to skid row after becoming addicted to heroin. Will he make it back into the spotlight—or even survive? Based upon the classic American novel by Nelson Algren, The Man with the Golden Arm was far ahead of its time with its depiction of what drugs can do to even an ambitious person. Its cautionary tale still holds up today as heroin has come back to haunt not only the inner city but middle America as well. It contains what Frank Sinatra himself considered his best performance, a role which gained him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor of 1955. Directed by the notorious Otto Preminger, this hard-edged, expressionistic view of the normally-depicted-as-glorious 1950s will come as a fascinating surprise to those who have yet to discover this classic melodrama. Co-starring a young Darren McGavin in his debut film performance, it also contains one of movie score legend Elmer Bernstein’s best compositions which earned one of the film’s two other Oscar nominations, along with one for art direction. Includes Original Theatrical Trailer: Approx. 2 min. Film: Approx. 119 min.

Bonus Material: At The Movies With Frank Sinatra Enjoy exclusive and revealing interviews with Hollywood legends Henry Silva (Manchurian Candidate), Beverly Garland (The Joker Is Wild), Ernest Borgnine (From Here To Eternity), and Joey Bishop (Ocean’s 11). Along with these rare and insightful interviews from the stars are the original coming attraction trailers from these classic moments of cinema magic. Special bonus material includes a revealing backstage look at the making of The Man With The Golden Arm. Sinatra himself is seen in a rare and candid interview. Composer Elmer Bernstein talks about scoring the film, and discusses Sinatra’s artistic contributions. Star Tommy Sands relates classic moments of what it was like working with Sinatra, and historian Rick Ross talks about the impact of Frank’s performance in this classic contribution to the annals of Hollywood Cinema. (Approx. 30 min.)


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Frank Sinatra, Kim Novak, Eleanor Parker, Arnold Stang, Darren McGavin
  • Directors: Otto Preminger
  • Writers: Ben Hecht, Lewis Meltzer, Nelson Algren, Walter Newman
  • Producers: Otto Preminger
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: PASSPORT VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: May 16, 2000
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004WLVS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #340,950 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Man with the Golden Arm" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Alejandra Vernon HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 4, 2004
Format: DVD
Viewing this film is like lifting a rock to see what has been existing under its dark weight, and from the stylish Saul Bass titles and jazzy Elmer Bernstein score, it is a riveting film, with a brilliant, intense Sinatra performance.

As an ex-con trying to beat a heroin addiction, "Frankie" (Sinatra) slips back into his old habits and friends upon release from prison, and is chained to a guilt-based relationship with Eleanor Parker, who is excellent as "Zosch", a woman who manipulates from her wheelchair, blaming "Frankie" for her fate, and resenting his friendship with "Molly", beautifully played by the gorgeous Kim Novak, who exudes vulnerability and a soft, sweet soul.

Well written from the Nelson Algren novel, and visually interesting with superb b&w cinematography by Sam Leavitt, the details of the costuming are also worth noting...I love Molly's old threadbare chenille bathrobe...and like much of the clothes in the film, looking like it was bought in a thrift shop.

I don't find this 1955 film dated at all; its themes and "types" are timeless and occur in every class and level of society, and the characters can be found in the Bowery or Beverly Hills.

The film was nominated in three Oscar categories: Best Actor (losing to Ernest Borgnine in another gritty film, "Marty"), Best Art Direction/Set Decoration ("The Rose Tattoo"), and Best Score (losing to the romantic "Love is a Many Splendored Thing").

Total running time is 119 minutes, and this film has been released under many labels in many grades, including some "cheapies" that are less than perfect in clarity and audio, but present a good value for the price.
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Format: VHS Tape
Frank Sinatra received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for this performance, and its easy to see why. Playing a role that could have easily drifted into campish over-acting, Sinatra perfectly captures the desparation and hope that Frankie Machine felt as he was trying to get over an addiction that was obviously destroying him, physically and mentally.
Hollywood lore says that Sinatra visited a rehab clinic while preparing for this film in order to see what a herion addict going through withdrawal really looked (and acted) like. If true, it certainly must have given him an insight into a world that its impossible for most people to understand.
Judged against Sinatra's other film performances, this certainly has to rank as the best; the only other film roles that come close are Maggio in "From Here to Eternity" and "The Manchurian Candidate". Its this performance, however, and the despiration of a man who wants to take control of his life, but can't, that has to be at the top of the list.
In the end, Sinatra didn't win that Best Actor Oscar, losing out to Ernest Borgnine for his role in "Marty". After watching this movie, one wonders what more Frank could've done. As far as I'm concerned, he should'a won it.
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Format: DVD
As other reviews have focused on this fine ***** star movie, I'd like to just make a comment about THIS version. It's been a long time coming to finally get this pristine version on DVD. Not since the final days of LaserDisc when Warner's finally released a near perfect transfer of this movie, have I been waiting for them to do the same on DVD - and they did not disappoint (I tink it's actually the same transfer except this DVD is 1.85:1 and anamorphic wide screen - the original was academy ratio). This movie is actually in 'The Public Domain', that is, it is free to distribute and copy legally. So there are many versions of this movie floating around, often at the bargain bin of $5- or so... However this Warner's transfer is THE copy to get. If you want to experience the beautiful B&W photography of Sam Leavitt in chrystal clarity or the remastered sound with Elmer Bernstein's Jazz score, then do yourself a favor and purchase immediately, it will not disappoint!
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This has got to be one of the best movies ever made which has depicted the heroin addict and his predicament. Frank Sinatra, in one of his earlier roles, plays the part of an ex-convict/drug addict who returns back to the "old neighborhood," and wants to "come clean," and pursue a career as a big band drummer, but he unfortunately comes face to face with the "dealer" (Darren McGavin) and things cook from there. McGavin is a wonderful portrayal of the neighborhood supplier who keeps baiting Sinatra and baiting him until the he cannot say no any longer. Coupled with his own domestic situation, which I dare not give away, but only to tell you that the ensemble cast which makes up this movie is outstanding. The soundtrack is pulsating and keeps your adrenaline moving upward, and that is one of the most unnerving parts of the film, and one which keeps you on the edge of your seat, as the saying goes. This could be classified as a family movie, as there is no sex, nudity, profanity, but only the theme of drug addiction, and a family could watch this film and discuss these issues in an enlightened way. Sinatra once said he thought he should've gotten an Oscar for this movie, and I agree. Highly recommended!!!
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