The first major Hollywood film on heroin addiction, a subject totally proscribed by the Hays Code. Sinatra is excellent as the ex-con junkie trying to make it as a jazz drummer but pulled into a world of pushing, and Kim Novak convinces as his enigmatic mistress; but the casting of Eleanor Parker as his supposedly wheelchair-ridden wife is miscalculated, and Preminger's evocation of the social milieu of the drug user/pusher shows little sign of first-hand observation. There are some great scenes, though, notably Sinatra's audition for a make-or-break drumming job, and the later scene where he suffers cold turkey in Novak's apartment. Notable for its jazz score, too. (From the novel by Nelson Algren.