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Don Birnam, long-time alcoholic, has been "on the wagon" for ten days and seems to be over the worst; but his craving has just become more insidious. Evading a country weekend planned by his brother Wick and girlfriend Helen, he begins a four-day bender. In flashbacks we see past events, all gone wrong because of the bottle. But this bout looks like being his last...one way or the other. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Powerful landmark film on alcoholism has lost none of its status...Ray Milland deserved his Oscar...
I take exception to previous comments that call the film "daring for its time" or "dated". It's still a very powerful film and there is nothing dated about the theme of a man who loses his soul to the bottle. It was a landmark film in its time and still is--there is no question about its holding power and the excellence of writing, acting and direction. Yes, even by today's standards! It outclasses more recent films dealing with alcoholism as it focuses on one man's problem with the bottle--a problem that affects all of the people whose lives he touches--particularly his loyal girlfriend (Jane Wyman in one of her best roles) and Philip Terry as his more conventional brother. The emotions are stark and real. The pity we feel for Milland's character is also mixed with disgust for his weakness. It's an accurate depiction of an alcoholic's struggle for the next fix--a never ending search for the next bottle. The pseudo-babble of a previous commentator attempts to inject disdain for the film as outdated and outclassed by more serious works. Nonsense! This was a stark and powerful film in 1945 and I have news for you--it is just as powerful and timely today! No other American film comes close to it. It is as searing an indictment of alcoholism as you are ever likely to see and Milland fully deserved his Oscar.
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