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The Man With The Golden Arm
The Man With The Golden Arm
Actors: Frank Sinatra, Kim Novak, Eleanor Parker, Darren McGavin
Director: Otto Preminger
Genres: Drama
NR     2004     1hr 59min

Frank Sinatra stars with Kim Novak and Eleanor Parker in this riveting film classic, as a skilled card dealer and a former heroin addict. When he returns home from jail, he struggles to find a new livelihood as a jazz musi...  more »

Movie Details

Actors: Frank Sinatra, Kim Novak, Eleanor Parker, Darren McGavin
Director: Otto Preminger
Genres: Drama
Sub-Genres: Family Life
Studio: Passion Productions
Format: DVD - Black and White
DVD Release Date: 06/29/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 59min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 1
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Not ther version it showed and I was expecting
E. Beer | Wettingen, Switzerland | 07/14/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)

"Unfortunately I received some no-name version, which I already had, instead of the Warner Bros. labelled version. Due to the inexpensive price and having been travelling thru the States at the time, I could not be bothered. However since you have been asking for a review, this is what was."
A Groundbreaking Classic
Van T. Roberts | Columbus, Mississippi, USA | 03/29/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

""The Moon Is Blue" director Otto Preminger tackled even more taboo subject matter in his controversial 1955 release "The Man with the Golden Arm." Whereas Preminger had incensed the Motion Picture Association of America with his use of the words "virgin" and "mistress" in his mild 1953 comedy "The Moon Is Blue," "The Man with the Golden Arm" went far beyond what any movie had attempted probably since the Dick Powell law and order saga "To the Ends of the Earth" (1946) about thwarting the international traffic in narcotics. Based on Nelson Algren's novel that won the 1950 National Book Award, this gritty, uncompromising 119-minute, black & white melodrama deals with heroin addiction. Initially, when Preminger's film came out, the Motion Picture Association of America would not issue its seal of approval because the filmmakers depicted addiction to narcotics. This groundbreaking film qualified as the first major motion picture to handle narcotics from the dope fiend's perspective and actually showed the paraphernalia that junkies wielded to shoot up heroin. The Production Code stipulated that filmmakers must refrain from showing characters using illicit narcotics. Nevertheless, United Artists released this unique Frank Sinatra picture and it grossed over $4-million dollars.

The critical and commercial success of "The Man with the Golden Arm" eviscerated the Production Code. As a result, the MPAA amended the Code so that filmmakers could delve into other taboo subjects, such as drug abuse, kidnapping, abortion and prostitution. The film received three Academy Award nominations. Oscar nominations went to Sinatra for Best Acting, Joseph C. Wright and Darrell Silvera for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White and Elmer Bernstein for Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture. Indeed, Elmer Bernstein made a name for himself with his jazzy score. The producers had thought about casting Marlon Brando in the title role, but Sinatra beat Brando to the punch. Eleanor Parker, Kim Novak, Arnold Stang, Darren McGavin, and Robert Strauss co-starred with Ole Blue Eyes. McGavin was particularly memorable as a sleazy heroin dealer, while Eleanor Parker played the protagonist's wife with a dark, deep secret of her own that comes as quite a shock.

"The Man with the Golden Arm" refers to protagonist Frankie Machine's ability to manipulate a deck of cards. Frankie deals cards for Zero Schwiefka (Robert Strauss of "Stalag 17") but he has been out of Chicago for the last six months in a federal narcotics hospital recovering from heroin addiction. Not only has Frankie licked the habit, but he also has learned how to play the drums and plans to embark of a music career. Optimistic as Frank is about his future, he finds himself facing his past all over again when he returns to his old stomping grounds. Schwiefka wants him to deal for him again, and Nifty Louie Fomorowski (Darren McGavin of "Counter-Attack") tries to induce him to resume his heroin usage. Meanwhile, Frankie comes home to his invalid, wheel-chair bound wife, Zosh (Eleanor Parker of "Escape from Fort Bravo"), who manipulates him with guilt. Frankie was drunk when he had a car accident and Zosh wound up in a wheel chair. Frankie shows up with high hopes and a drum set, but Zosh sees no future for him as a musician and urges to go back to work for Schwiefka. Frankie plans to visit a music promoting and one of his own friends, Sparrow (Arnold Stang of "My Sister Eileen"), shoplifts a business suit from a department store for Frankie. After Frankie refuses to work for Schwiefka because he is going to see musical agent Harry Lane (Will Wright of "The Wild One"), Schwiefka turns both Frank and Sparrow into the police. Meanwhile, Schwiefka gets Brach's Department Store to drop the shoplifting charges. The suit was worth $37.00. Frankie agrees to resume dealing for Schweifka and the hustler bails him out.

Not long afterward, despite his resolution to shun heroin use, Frankie breaks down and pays Louie the $2.00 for a fix. Eventually, Frankie meets Harry Lane and Lane warns him that he is catches Frankie shooting up that he will have nothing to do with him. What poor Frankie doesn't know is that Zosh has recovered her ability to walk, but she uses his guilt about the accident to hold on to him. Zosh is also jealous of her downstairs neighbor, Molly Novotny (Kim Novak of "Picnic"), Frankie's former sweetheart who hustles drinks at a nearby strip bar called the Safari Club. When Zosh complains about headaches that Frankie gives her practicing on his drum set, Frankie moves them downstairs into Molly's apartment. Schwiefka and Louie are planning a big poker game with Sam Markette (George E. Stone of "Guys and Dolls") and Williams (George Mathews of "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral"), two big-time gamblers who have heard about Frank and his legendary `golden arm.' Schwiefka and Louie persuade a reluctant Frankie to deal for $250. After an early winning streak, the cards go sour for Frankie and he starts losing. In fact, Frankie spends about two days dealing. Exhausted, his nerves shot and desperate for a fix, he falls apart on the second day and Markette and Williams catch him cheating. Louie refuses to give Frankie a fix, so Frankie knocks him out and ransacks his apartment for the heroin.

Preminger pulls no punches in "The Man with the Golden Arm," and the film is pretty disillusioning. None of the characters here are remotely sympathetic. Essentially, they are either hustlers or hustled. Sinatra gives another dynamite performance as does McGavin and Parker. To be sure, "The Man with the Golden Arm" has lost much of its impact in the intervening 50 or more years, but it still ranks as a landmark film. This review refers to the most recent DVD release."
"The monkey is never dead, Dealer. The monkey never dies. Wh
Annie Van Auken | Planet Earth | 07/30/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A large number of DVDs of varying quality are linked to this film title. The best of these for picture and sound clarity is the OFFICIAL UA/WARNER BROS. release ("