Watch Frank Sinatra morph from top of the charts crooner into an Oscar nominated actor in Otto Preminger’s 1955 drama “Man with the Golden Arm.” Sinatra beat out Preminger’s other considerations – William Holden and Marlon Brando – to play Frankie “Dealer” Machine, an ex-heroin addict who’s released from prison and returns to his wife, played by Eleanor Parker, in his old run-down neighborhood with a set of drums and a new outlook . Will his plans to live an honest life prevail when he’s welcomed back by old friends to a world of crime and deception?
Author Mario Puzo reportedly used Sinatra’s struggle for the “Golden Arm” role as a template for singer Johnny Fontane, a character in The Godfather. In the book and subsequent 1972 film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, a Hollywood executive who failed to cast Fontane in his latest release found a horse’s severed head in his bed. The character was based on Sinatra but the horse’s head scene was fiction, according to his daughter, Tina Sinatra.