Jan. 9, 2011
8. The Man With the Golden Arm (1955)
Starring Frank Sinatra, Eleanor Parker, Kim Novak, Arnold Stang, Darrin McGavin, Robert Strauss
Produced & Directed by Otto Preminger
Loosely based on the novel by Nelson Algren
Plot: After coming home from rehab, a heroin addict seeks to stay clean and deal with the things in his life that are holding him back.
I was hesitant to watch this movie in the first place, because the topic kind of scared me. Addiction IS scary and I wasn’t sure that I wanted to watch a film about it. Watching it pretty much just reaffirmed those feelings. Sinatra does give a good performance and Kim Novak was also excellent. I never really thought much of her as an actress, but she did really well in this role. Curiously enough, I found her character of Molly to be the most interesting one in the film. She has the perfect combination of mystery, beauty, brassy independence, and strength. Eleanor Parker was over-the-top and annoying—like she was supposed to be. Some of the secondary characters felt a bit cartoonish, though. The atmosphere was gritty and realistic and pretty depressing. But precisely the reasons why I find this film so repugnant is probably credit to Preminger—for creating a piece that expresses the devastation and hellishness of addiction. It is not a film that I ever wish to see again.