The Man With The Golden Arm (1955)



Once again Otto Preminger prodded at the boundaries of what was considered “mainstream” cinema in this dramatisation of drug addiction starring Frank Sinatra as a would be ex-junkie trying to rebuild his life.

Although a little tame by today’s standards, The Man With The Golden Arm was ground-breaking at the time and it contains some intelligent insights into the psychology of addiction. Darren McGavin is great as the seductively smooth-talking pusher and Kim Novak is very appealing as the true object of his affections; the only weak link is the subplot involving Frankie’s “crippled” wife which would feel overcooked even if you could ignore Eleanor Parker’s often painful over-acting.

The happy ending also fails to ring true to the rest of the story, but the film belongs to Sinatra who really gets to prove his mettle as a serious actor.


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