The Man With the Golden Arm (1955)


“I’m the kind of guy, boy when I move – watch my smoke. But I’m gonna need some good clothes though.” – Frankie

Number of Times Seen – 1 (1 Jun 2018)

Brief Synopsis – After being released from prison, a drug addict tries to find a way to make a new life for himself as a drummer, but gets pulled back into the dark underworld that he use to be a part of.

My Take on it – This is a film that I had heard about for years and knew that it is supposedly one of Frank Sinatra’s best performances yet I never got around to seeing it until now.

They do a great job depicting the ways that a drug addict would act even when the circumstances make him wish to try finding a path to living a normal and “clean” life.

The way that the issues with his wife and former friends weigh so heavily on his mind, and in turn on his actions, comes across as being quite realistic and works quite well despite the complications they cause for in his life.

Sinatra does a great job in the lead role and this truly is one of his greatest performances.

There is no question that he deserved his Oscar nomination for Best Actor here.

The Production Code (which was starting to waiver in its rules at the time this was made) didn’t make it easy to show this situation so clearly and in some instances, the story feels too tame given what kind of situations are depicted here.

Sinatra does a great job making his character feel quite sincere in all that he does and we can believe that he truly wishes to make drastic changes in his way of life despite the fact that circumstances keep hindering him around every corner.

Bottom Line – Great depiction of how a drug addict would act even when he is trying to get back to a normal life. The issues with his wife and his former friends weigh heavily on him which complicates things so much for him.  Sinatra is great in the lead role and definitely deserved an Oscar nomination for this performance even if the Production Code make things more difficult (and in some cases too tame) to show onscreen.   Really liked the sincerity that Sinatra gives off as a character who really wants to change even if circumstances keep hindering him along the way. Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Ray Bradbury turned down offers to collaborate on the screenplay, along with the screenplay for Anatomy of a Murder (1959), which Bradbury claimed was $200,000 worth of work. Bradbury said of the refusal “I don’t give a goddamn about drugs; it bores the hell out of me. I don’t understand the people who take them. So why would I write a screenplay? I’d get a writer’s block immediately.” (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy (7/10)

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2 thoughts on “The Man With the Golden Arm (1955)

  1. Pingback: Did They Get it Right? – Best Actor – Oscars 1955 |

  2. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1955 | MovieRob

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