Most helpful positive review
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
broken spirits, wasted lives
on 4 November 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.