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Lost Weekend (Full Screen)

4.5 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ray Milland, Jane Wyman, Phillip Terry, Howard Da Silva, Doris Dowling
  • Directors: Billy Wilder
  • Writers: Billy Wilder, Charles Brackett, Charles R. Jackson
  • Producers: Charles Brackett
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: Jan. 15 2013
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B0000549B1
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #20,114 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

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.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Amazon User TOP 1000 REVIEWER on Oct. 17 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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. You will really enjoy this movie! Accurate portrayal of the "town drunk".
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Format: DVD
The Lost Weekend(released Nov/45)stars Ray Milland as Don Birnam,Jane Wyman as Helen, and a great supporting cast.Set in war time New York City(although,the war is not in evidence) and shot on location there,this film is a powerful and dynamic portrayal of an alcoholic that,over a weekend,sinks deeper and deeper into his sickness than ever before,and barely comes out the other side in one piece.
The story starts as Don is about to go off with his brother to spend the weekend in a cottage somewhere.Don is an unemployed writer who has lived off the avails of his brother for years now.A brilliant and promising student in his younger days,he slipped into his alcoholism early on when his stories and his rejections started to get the best of him.Three years earlier he met his current girlfriend Helen while attending the opera La Traviata.One day she found out that Don was a drinker when his brother tried to unsuccessfully cover up for him.However,instead of leaving him for good,as he suggested,she stood by him.Three long and struggling years pass with no discernible progress to kick the habit.Then comes this fateful weekend and as he and brother are about to leave and Don asks his brother to postpone leaving and take Helen out to a show.He makes the excuse that he doesn't like opera anyways.In reality he can't wait for them to leave as Don has a bottle of whiskey dangling from a string outside the apartment window.Helen has flicked a cigarette towards that same open window but it landed on the ledge.Don's brother sees it and goes over to throw it off.Instead he finds the liquor bottle.This is the last straw,his brother cannot take it anymore and leaves him for good.
Don goes from his apartment to the local to drink and back.We watch as his actions become more and more desperate.
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Format: DVD
I rarely watch older films. By "older" films, I mean movies made before 1960. It's not due to some prejudice on my part about black and white cinematography: my inability to view many early films arises from the fact that far too many of these movies are so melodramatic. You know what I mean: lots of swooning, hands swept across foreheads, and exaggerated body movements all set to crashing waves of syrupy orchestral music. Those swelling violins alone are enough to set my teeth on edge anytime I watch an old film, but occasionally a picture overcomes all of these pet peeves of mine and truly delivers on multiple levels. "The Lost Weekend" is one of those films. Sure, the emoting is there, as is the music and the swooning, but this compelling story about an alcoholic at the end of his rope always pulls at my heartstrings. I am going to start seeking out some classic older films that will tickle my fancy, but I don't expect to find too many of them with the power of "The Lost Weekend."
Ray Milland (an actor who starred in several schlockfests at the end of his career, such as "Frogs") plays Don Birnam, a painfully insecure writer who just can't make his life work. Birnam quickly learned that the soothing balm of alcohol took the edge off his various phobias, but he just as quickly learned that drinking took the edge off his talent, too. For years, Birnam never wandered far from the neighborhood bar or the liquor store, secure in the knowledge that a bottle of rye was always within reach. His brother Wick not only financially supports his boozy sibling; he also covers for him when the drinking causes problems. Of course, Don doesn't care much about his brother one way or the other as long as he gets his shot of whisky when he needs it.
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Format: VHS Tape
Superb mellow drama about a drunk, Don Birman, played by Ray Milland, & his battle with the bottle over one week-end in New York City. Nobody is a drunk anymore. They are said to have a "substance abuse " problem.
There is little stigma attached to the problem today as compared to the self-loathing Milland felt & the repugnance the neighborhood & even his favorite bartender felt towards him. In fact, the long, fairly one-sided conversations with Nat the bartender, played by Howard de Silva, are some of the best scenes in the movie.
Brakett & Wilder took some chances in this ground-breaking movie. They fought the Hollywood studios who probably wanted it watered down & rendered more palatable. They didn't give in &, as a result, this was the best movie of the the year 1945. It was well deserved. Ray Milland also got an Oscar & he was never better. Jane Wyman does a fine job as his long suffering girl friend, Helen.
It is unbelievable that that kind of woman, a real lady, would put up with a loser like that for so long. But after all, this is a movie. A pat ending that doesn't matter at all. The combination of gritty, street level scenes of New York City, the noir atmosphere & black & white filming all combine to make this one of the best aging movies, still relavent, I've seen in a long time.
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