The Man with the Golden Arm
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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 spotlightor 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 Bernsteins best compositions which earned one of the films 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 (Oceans 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 Sinatras 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 Franks performance in this classic contribution to the annals of Hollywood Cinema. (Approx. 30 min.)
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In Otto Preminger's THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM (1955), Frank Sinatra and Eleanor Parker (as Frankie and Zosch Machine) give the performances of their careers. Parker's Zosch is a bundle of nerves, a manipulative conniver who's terrorized by her own guilty conscience. Sinatra portrays heroin addict Machine as a victim of deeply ingrained bad habits, a man seemingly incapable of changing long-established patterns of self-destruction.
A first rate cast includes Arnold Stang as Frankie's pal Sparrow, a sneak thief and dognapper. Boomers best remember bespectacled Stang as the "whatta chunk-a chawklit" TV ad spokesman for CHUNKY. He also provided the Phil Silvers-like voice of cartoon feline TOP CAT. Grubby Sparrow is an odd counterpart to master card dealer Frankie. Loyal to a fault, he's always trying to bolster Machine's fragile ego.
Kim Novak's Molly, a rival for Frankie's affections, is one of two things that wheelchair-bound Zosch fears most. The other is a dirty trick Mrs. Machine has been pulling on the world ever since Frankie and she were in a car wreck. Parker's several moments of wild-eyed paranoia seem genuine; this actress knows how to immerse herself in a role and become the person she's playing.
Also here is Darren McGavin as slimeball 'H' pusher Louie. His siren song of a free first "fix" quickly lures Frankie from the straight and narrow path he found during a six months' stay at a correctional facility and put him back on the road to Hades. Robert Strauss is Schwiefka, operator of a floating card game who let Frankie take the fall during a raid, a pinch that sent "the Machine" to the state-run hospital.
Sinatra undoubtedly won his Best Actor nomination for a harrowing "cold turkey" sequence at Molly's flat. It's an astounding performance, truly his finest screen moment, ironically one that comes at the lowest point of his character's life. Also nominated was Elmer Bernstein's searing jazz score, a pounding music track that enhances an anguished, bleak reality-turned-nightmare tale, one which resolves tragically.
"Golden Arm" remains among the greatest dramas of the 1950s. Over half a century later this powerful motion picture has lost none of its potency. Credit a superb book, screenplay, cast and director for telling an always relevant story of humanity's darker, weaker side. Highest recommendation!
Most recent customer reviews
Hot Toasty Rag, September 14. 2017
If you only see one Frank Sinatra movie in your lifetime, watch The Man with the Golden...Read more