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The Best Picture of 1945 has lost none of its bite or power in this uncompromising look at the devastating effects of alcoholism. Ironically, this brilliant Billy Wilder film was almost never released because of poor reaction by preview audiences unaccustomed to such stark realism from Hollywood, but the film has since gone on to be regarded as one of the all-time great dramas in movie history. Ray Milland's haunting portrayal of a would-be writer's dissatisfaction with his life leads him on a self-destructive three-day binge. Filled with riveting imagery, the multiple Academy Award-winner offers an unforgettable view of life on the edge.
"I'm not a drinker--I'm a drunk." These words, and the serious message behind them, were still potent enough in 1945 to shock audiences flocking to The Lost Weekend. The speaker is Don Birnam (Ray Milland), a handsome, talented, articulate alcoholic. The writing team of producer Charles Brackett and director Billy Wilder pull no punches in their depiction of Birnam's massive weekend bender, a tailspin that finds him reeling from his favorite watering hole to Bellevue Hospital. Location shooting in New York helps the street-level atmosphere, especially a sequence in which Birnam, a budding writer, tries to hock his typewriter for booze money. He desperately staggers past shuttered storefronts--it's Yom Kippur, and the pawnshops are closed. Milland, previously known as a lightweight leading man (he'd starred in Wilder's hilarious The Major and the Minor three years earlier), burrows convincingly under the skin of the character, whether waxing poetic about the escape of drinking or screaming his lungs out in the D.T.'s sequence. Wilder, having just made the ultra-noir Double Indemnity, brought a new kind of frankness and darkness to Hollywood's treatment of a social problem. At first the film may have seemed too bold; Paramount Pictures nearly killed the release of the picture after it tested poorly with preview audiences. But once in release, The Lost Weekend became a substantial hit, and won four Oscars: for picture, director, screenplay, and actor. --Robert Horton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This movie appealed to me because of Milland's awesome use of the English language. He is a writer who, although spends most of the movie in turmoil, really has a way with words. Read morePublished on Oct. 17 2011 by Amazon User
Alcoholism is a disease, and no other film before Billy Wilder's The Lost Weekend portrayed it as such. Read morePublished on Aug. 17 2007 by Nolene-Patricia Dougan
This movie which won 4 academy awards including best picture stars Ray Milland as a debonair drunk who hides alcohol in his apartment and cares more about booze than girls. Read morePublished on Jan. 15 2004 by Dorion Sagan
I can understand why the studio did not want to release "The Lost Weekend" in 1945: it's a gritty and realistic (sometimes horrifyingly so) account of an alcoholic's... Read morePublished on Feb. 6 2003 by Jennifer M.
Billy Wilder electrified the film world in 1944 with his brutally realistic film about lust and greed, "Double Indemnity. Read morePublished on Dec 19 2002 by William Hare
It's hard to believe that this movie was produced in 1945, a year which introduced Americans to the twin horrors of the Nazi concentration camps and the effects of the atomic bomb. Read morePublished on July 6 2002 by Greg McDowell
The best being the 'Days of Wine and Roses'. However this movie is a great movie about the relationship of a person and their alcohol. It is like a love affair. Read morePublished on July 5 2002 by Gregory R Waldrop
Alcoholism has been seen on movies for a very long time. Many people just haven't realized it because it was never something to care much for. Read morePublished on May 15 2002 by "weirdo_87"