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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars broken spirits, wasted lives
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...
Published on 4 Nov 2004 by Alejandra Vernon

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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A very poor quality copy
I agree with the other reviewers as to the artistic merits of the film.
However this is an unacceptably poor quality DVD (I have had a similar bad experiences with another "Elstree Hill" product)- worse than my off-air VHS copy - do not buy it! It is a disgrace to Amazon!
Published on 29 Aug 2008 by A. I. Newell


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars broken spirits, wasted lives, 4 Nov 2004
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.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A very poor quality copy, 29 Aug 2008
By 
A. I. Newell (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Man With the Golden Arm [DVD] (DVD)
I agree with the other reviewers as to the artistic merits of the film.
However this is an unacceptably poor quality DVD (I have had a similar bad experiences with another "Elstree Hill" product)- worse than my off-air VHS copy - do not buy it! It is a disgrace to Amazon!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable performance by Sinatra, 30 Sep 2005
By 
Kona (Emerald City) - See all my reviews
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"The Man with the Golden Arm" is Frankie Machine (Frank Sinatra), just out of jail and back home in skid row. He beat his heroin habit while in jail and vows to get a good job and stay clean. He returns to his clingy wife (Eleanor Parker), although he still carries a torch for his old girlfriend (Kim Novak). Lack of money and hope soon send Frankie back to dealing cards for the neighbourhood boss (Darren McGavin) and to his old drug habit.

This was the first major film to deal with the subject of addiction and was considered rather shocking in 1955. Compared to current films it is quite sanitized - the word "heroin" is never mentioned, Frankie beats his addiction in just a few hours, and street scenes are obviously filmed in a studio. But this is a terrific movie, thanks to the touching performance of Frank Sinatra; he is simply wonderful in the role and earned an Oscar nomination. The lovely Kim Novak is also memorable, giving her floozy character real depth with a heart and soul. This is a must-see for Sinatra fans; he gives one of his best screen performances.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Frank shows he can act, 30 May 2000
By A Customer
Frank as a Junkie? Frank can act? Yes to both! Frank (during one of his low(er) points of his career) show his depth and show he can act. A brilliant score by Macini adds to the seedy atmosphere that Preminger creates. When i saw this I couldn't believe it was made 45 years ago. The only downside is the rather moralistic ending - but don't let that put you off - A MUST SEE
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great film, poor quality DVD, 13 Jan 2010
By 
D. J. Gooch (Sth Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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This is a great film with, probably, Sinatra's finest film performance in what was for its day a realistic story of a drug addict trying against all the odds to make good. However, the DVD is very poor. The transfer is very low quality and there are no extras - not even chapter selection. Buy the film for sure, but not this DVD.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Man the Machine, 6 Jun 2012
By 
Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles "FIST" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Man With the Golden Arm [DVD] (DVD)
As a film this hits the mainframe mainline and as it proceeds it gets a full five, however for the quality of cinematic film this is probably the worst I have seen and would not even get a budget TV showing due to the constant splashes, squiggles and cuts that flicker on the picture.

The DVD version would benefit from a Criterion spit and polish because this is one of the best films dealing with a man caught within his particular double bind situation. Similar to The Wild Ones, Streetcare named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and many a film noir this was produced when Hollywood had a real story to tell.

Frankie Machine is a war Vet, returning back to his Chicago haunts but he gets stuck onto the needle; peddled by a suave man who exploits his gambling talents to max effect. Frank Sinatra, gives the perfomance of his life trying to shift his corporate identity. Caught within a feeling of forever drenched in guilt, due to a woman becoming "crippled" his sense of inner decency is exploited to full effect. Drunk at the wheel at the time she lost her abilities, he is morally crucified on a daily basis and so his self esteem nose dives along with his presumed PTSD. His release is to cling to his wife, play cards for kicks and jack away the blues.

Meanwhile she drips pure poison onto his thinning self esteem and pushes him back into the world he has just escaped from; where she knows she can control him. Frankie returns back from detox and rehab in a scub up wantin to take up a new skill, banging the skins and thereby transcend his former lifestyle. Like many former users he can only return to what he was formerly immersed within. To transcend his lifestyle and status takes more than a detox, it needs a rebuild. Not an easy task as many have a vested interest in keeping him exactly where he was, because they can use his vulnerability.

Frankie Machine is a human puppet being pulled to other people's strings. The film is less about heroin than it is about being controlled by guilt, lust, love, dreams and greed.

As the characters interplay, Sinatra who is looking increasingly tatty and down at heel as the film rolls, wrenches a performance of a life time that transcends the years of crooning to chickens in baskets, and sinks the viewer into his increasing despair.

Kim Novak at one time could act as well as look good, playing a cross between the glamour of a nightclub hostess, trapped within a relationship between a drunk and a junkie, in a one roomed de-glamourised apartment.

The film screams its torment as young adults are caught within various vices, each grip applies pressure on those entrapped at the bottom of the pile and hear how they scream. Full of stunning performances, this focuses who do not make the 21st Century, as the acting, score and atmosphere create a poor peoples claustrophobia.

Just a shame it has been allowed to deteriorate as this brings together; Frank, Kim and Nelson in one of the Hollywood greats, as it actually looks at working people's lives rather than presses the constant ignore button.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible DVD, 19 Aug 2005
By 
Jazzisticus (Lisbon,Portugal) - See all my reviews
This DVD is awfull. Fistly it is not PAL, but NTSC. It was made from an horrendous VHS, That has a green tint. No subtitles not even American closed captions.
If you watch it with a PC with Power DVD 6.0 on an LCD screen, lots of colours appear. The guy tht mastered this should be shot.. On a Pioneer Plasma is less bad, grut still greenish. You need to buy a Black & white 1960's TV probably...
I'm cannot comment on the film, since I could not see it entirely after 3 attemps. I think I will burn it....
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Golden Sinatra, 29 Sep 2003
By 
J. Scott-mandeville "jackie veronica" (UK) - See all my reviews
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The superb acting of Frank Sinatra always amazes me. He can play tough characters in tough movies as easily as lighthearted parts in musicals, or romantic roles in war-based films. In The Man With the Golden Arm (1955) he gives one of his best performances. The film is a ground-breaking movie, one of the first to deal with drug addiction. Based on Nelson Algren's book of the same name, Otto Preminger directs a gritty tale which, despite its sentimental ending, has an immediate and lasting impact. Sinatra steals the film with an impressive portrayal as self-destructive Frankie Machine veering between heroin addiction and love of jazz-drumming. Kim Novak matches him scene for scene and Eleanor Parker also gives a stalwart performance as his hysterical wife. The stark black-and-white street and bar scenes, the down-and-out quality of life, indicated by seedy characters and sordid rooming houses, Sinatra's angst contrasting with Kim Novak's melancholic sensuality, result in a deep story dynamically told. A later Sinatra film, The Detective, also dealing with controversial issues (this time homosexuality and sex addiction) with Sinatra on the other side of the fence (as the detective), shows the same combination of toughness and sensitivity. I highly recommend both films - but then I would recommend almost any Sinatra film, especially the more ambitious movies where the directors have recognised the peculiarly brilliant depth Frank Sinatra can bring to a role, such as The Manchurian Candidate, From Here to Eternity, Suddenly, Some Came Running, Von Ryan's Express. But I also love his entertaining charm and his lovely voice in High Society, On The Town, Young At Heart, The Tender Trap, and Can-Can! What a star!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great main title, 23 Nov 2013
By 
Mervyn O. Hagger "freebornjohn" (Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Man With the Golden Arm [DVD] (DVD)
A somewhat tired story today, but it does demonstrate that Frank Sinatra was a very talented artist in more ways than one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sinatra Comeback, 3 Feb 2013
By 
J. W. Aldous "Book nut" (Norfolk UK) - See all my reviews
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To those who remember this film and the Shorty Rogers soundtrack, it marks the return of popularity of Sinatra in his new role as an actor.
Great film, great music!!
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The Man With the Golden Arm [DVD]
The Man With the Golden Arm [DVD] by Otto Preminger (DVD - 2003)
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