Cutting edge drama, dealing with drug addiction at the time of conservatism in post WWII Eisenhower America. The first film of it's kind, dealing with the demons and effects of hardcore drug use. Not as good as "The Lost Weekend" (1945), which dealt with alcoholism, but this film holds it's own, even after a half century.
After winning an Oscar in 1953 for "From here to Eternity", Sinatra began taking on bigger and juicier parts. Once a bit actor, trying to be taken seriously in Hollywood, this is arguably the Tour de Force performance of his career. Sinatra plays Frankie Machine, coming off a six month stint in rehab. He returns to his old haunts, trying to go straight. This is the film that showcased how good Sinatra really was. Not bad for someone who never had any formal training as an actor.
The cold turkey scene in the movie, was supposed to be filmed as a rehearsal. Director Otto Preminger, used that scene in the final cut of the movie. This film was not given a stamp of approval by the censors back in 1955, but was made anyway.
Director Preminger, always walked close to the edge in his film, a maverick film maker. His 1959 film "Anatomy of a Murder", was the first film to use the word, "panties", of all things.
Very good transfer to DVD. Special featurette , The story Behind the Man with the Golden Arm. Theatrical trailer. Highly recommended.