- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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man with the golden arm
- kevin sellers
Nelson Algren, the novelist upon whose book this film was based, was the Charles Bukowski of 1940s/50s Chicago, a gritty chronicler the flophouses, bars, dives, nightclubs, whore houses and jails of a big American city. His language was unflinching in its honest depiction of that sordid milieu. Maybe if this novel of heroin addiction had been made in 1995 instead of 1955 it might, like "Barfly," have the ring of authenticity. As it is we are treated to two hours plus of floozies, drug dealers, junkies, cops, gamblers, and other assorted lowlife with not one single word of profanity! And there, in a nutshell, you have the problem with this movie. It's too damn sanitized. And, as a result, completely unbelievable. Apparently, Otto Preminger, who was a noted pusher of censorship envelopes, fell down on the job here. Give it a C plus.
The Man with the Golden Arm
Preminger's then-daring film about drug addiction. Sinatra earned an Oscar nomination as a drummer who relapses into his heroin addiction; Parker seems too over-the-top at times and not as grounded as Novak. By today's standards, the portrayal of a drug addict seems tame compared to films like "Trainspotting" and "Requiem for a Dream," but this film allowed for drug addiction to be explored in a bold and graphic way on screen. Harrowing and powerful with an edgy, Oscar-nominated jazz score with a magnificent leading performance. I give it a 4/5.
Kept me on the straight and narrow
I saw this when I was a youngster growing up in New York. This movie was so realistic to me I decided then and there no drugs for me. It is one of those few movies that makes an impact on your life and stays with you. I look forward to seeing it here on TCM.
Supporting actors steal the show
- el debbo
John Conte as Drunkie John is such a good, annoying "C'mon Molly!" type drunk...just itching to get that first beer down the hatch. Darren McGavin is excellent...oily, muscular, almost sexual when soliciting business. And this is Kim Novak's best role, methinks. She seems so quietly flat...with an undercurrent of hopelessness...she's great. As this is supposed to be a Polish neighborhood in Chicago & she's Polish, she was prime for the part. She later did Pal Joey with Sinatra and they repeated the classic "Where're we going?" as they clipped off down the street arm in arm.
This movie is awesome!
I have always loved this movie. I used to be a drug addict, so believe me... it is very realistic.
Next time go to drug rehab to see a real junkie
Nothing fits in this film. Everything smacks of a bad stage drama, including the costumes and sets.The actual physical withdrawal of a heroin addict is slow and subtle. The real junkie is devious, not sick as is the alcoholic.This film is so bad in every way, it should be part of the Golden Turkey Oldies. I saw it a few years after it first came out, it seemed more of a caricature then with sad clown acting. Now, after seeing again, it is just bad!The rarely shown "Monkey on My Back," is low budget film from the same era (1957). It is a more powerful, realistic and better portrayed film on addiction than the overdone "The Man with the Golden Arm." Big names do not make a big movie.
Frank Sinatra as Frankie Machine
- Vance Garnett
This is the one for which Frank Sinatra should have won the Oscar. But since he had won one a couple of years earlier, well,they felt they couldn't do it. Ironically, the actor who helped him win the Oscar in 1953's"From Here To Eternity" kept him from this 1955 Oscar for "Man With the Golden Arm." I speak of Ernest Bourgnin. His role as"Fatso," the sadistic operator of the brigg who beat Maggio to death, helped hand Sinatra the Oscar. But in 55, it was Ernie'srole as the Plain Jane guy in "Marty" that beat out Mr. S. Young Nancy and Frank Jr. were angry at Bourgnine for the robbery, but Frank told them that this is the man who helped get me the Oscar when I really needed it. Frank's scene when he's going through "cold turkey" withdrawal is an amazing piece of acting--so good it's difficult to watch. And yet you can't look away.
- George Terflinger
This was a great movie went it came out and still is. This subject was really taboo when It first came out. You should show it some time