The Man with the Golden Arm

Just out of prison, cardsharp Frankie Machine (Frank Sinatra) is back at his old Chicago haunts. He's left behind his smack addiction and brought home a newfound talent, jazz drumming. Though determined to begin life anew, he soon succumbs to pressure from his crippled wife (Eleanor Parker) and a handful of local hustlers and falls back on the needle, into a wallow of hypo'd despair. Parker's cloying and needy wheelchair-bound wife plays precisely off Kim Novak's Molly, a sensuous but self-sacrificing pal with privileges. Frankie's disastrous decline, particularly when he goes cold turkey in Molly's pad, should have been enough to leave anyone cold about H. But the Production Code Administration refused the release of Preminger's bristling exposé, claiming depiction was the same as advocacy. Regardless of the censorship, the tragedy of Frankie's fall still shines through like twenty-four-carat gold.

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