Stories about drug addiction and recovery might be appropriate for teen — and younger — audiences today, but in 1955, such tales were taboo. As was the case with The Man with the Golden Arm, director Otto Preminger’s grim and gritty (for the time) drama about one man’s struggle with heroin — both the Motion Picture Association of America and the Motion Picture Production Code refused to give their official approval to the movie. But to Frank Sinatra, who demonstrated some real range as Pvt. Angelo Maggio in 1953’s From Here to Eternity, the movie was a seemingly heaven-sent opportunity to really show off his dramatic chops. He gives Frankie Machine — the drummer-turned-dealer determined to beat an addiction that has already cost him so much — a human face that illuminates the hungry desperation at the core of a junkie’s torment.
OTHER NOTEWORTHY PERFORMANCE(S): As the dogged Major Marco in The Manchurian Candidate and the bitter Army vet Dave Hirsh in Some Came Running.