Disappointing DVD release
Garfinkel | Jersey City, NJ | 10/21/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I've not seen another release of this film; but I received it today, and I am highly disappointed. The transfer is awful, apparent right from the start. Titles are blurry. Scratches and dust are visible. The video compression is muddy. Speed seems off. Dolby 5.1 is okay at best. Strange green colors are visible, most likely from compression. It's odd to see green patches on clothing, etc., in a black and white film. The main discs is only 5.7 GB, so there was clearly no need for 2 discs. All of the remaining extras would have fit. The 2 disc edition is clearly, a marketing gimmic. Avoid purchasing. May be worth renting just for some of the limited extras."
Broken spirits, wasted lives
Alejandra Vernon | Long Beach, California | 11/04/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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.
Sinatra The Actor At His Best
D. Mataconis | Bristow, Virginia | 09/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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."
An interesting mix of outstanding and plodding sequences
James Danburg | Albany, NY | 05/05/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"...the most prominent aspects of the movie - Sinatra's unquestionably great performance, Preminger's use of compelling camera angles, the prominently placed Berstein Jazz score, and Novak's performance. All of which are true and I agree that most of these combine to create a positive impression of this movie.The best sequences in the movie involve Sinatra in the realm of men (and I mean Men as opposed to human) - when dealing the several day long card game while still trying to keep focused on the important audition Monday morning, the interchanges with the appealingly slimy heroin dealer (greasily played by Darrin McGavin in one of his best roles) while succumbing to the pull of the junkie, the failed musical audition, and the outstanding bit when he resolves to kick the habit cold-turkey. All of these were worth watching several times - thank God for chapter selections on DVD.However, the movie is not perfect, and there are several things that can be readily cited as significant faults. The possessive and yet still possessed wife (Eleanor Parker) was a one-note performance: hysteria. Preminger needed to significantly pull back that character from the precipice that she fell off (long before she literally falls off). The first scene with her and Frankie upon his return home is the only one that was interesting and believable, all others were maudlin and overdone. She clearly had the acting chops to turn in a fascinating performance, as indicated by this first scene. Her character should have been one of the most pivotal in the movie, as she is the reason why Frankie returns and she inadvertently provides the key to his freedom when she gives herself up after killing the heroin dealer. As it is, scenes with her in it are mostly unwatchable. The sycophantic toady friend of Frankie (Arnold Stang) was, I suppose, intended to be funny, but he is such an undeveloped stereotype as to be merely annoying. He greatly hindered my enjoyment of the movie.Also the pacing at times really dragged at several points, most notably even during the great sequence with Sinatra kicking the habit. The rather long running time (119 minutes) could have been easily shortened by at least 20 minutes with some simple editing and tightening. Similarly, although the musical score was interesting and compelling - it tied in with Frankie's newly resolved ambition and nicely placed the movie among the heroin junkie jazz lifestyle of the time - it could have been much better utilized. One refrain in particular that recurs so often as to be annoying and at such a loud volume as to be distracting. It is a perfect example of how great music can be diminished by misapplication.That all being said, these detractions do not so significantly reduce the movie that I would not heartily recommend it to my friends. Dated and imperfect it may be, but it is still compelling and immensely watchable - and not just for Sinatra nuts like myself."