Saturday, June 23, 2007

Revisit: The Lost Weekend

A Paramount Pictures release 1945

Directed by Billy Wilder

Written by Billy Wilder & Charlie Brackett

A writer (Ray Milland) struggles with alcohol addiction over the course of a five day binge.

Nominated for seven Acamedy Awards, and winner of four, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Actor, The Lost Weekend shocked audiences in 1945 with it's frank, relentless, realistic portrayal of addiction. Like with many of his films, Wilder chose an unpopular subject and somehow turned it into a smash - partly due to the strong performance of Ray Milland as addict Don Birnam, and partly due to the way the film deals with the taboo subject matter head on. Audiences had never seen anything like it before - crass, revealing, and fully realized, The Lost Weekend gives a full picture of the struggles of the addict, including some particularly terrifying hallucination scenes. The film was also the first to contain a theramin in the soundtrack, an instrument which later became associated with B sci-fi pictures.


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