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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>
On March 10, 1946 - three days after winning the Academy Award - Ray Milland appeared as a guest on a radio broadcast of "The Jack Benny Show." In a spoof of The Lost Weekend (1945), Ray and Jack Benny played alcoholic twin brothers. Phil Harris - who normally played Jack Benny's hard-drinking bandleader on the show - played the brother who tried to convince Ray and Jack to give up liquor. ("Ladies and gentlemen," said an announcer, "the opinions expressed by Mr. Harris are written in the script and are not necessarily his own.") In the alcoholic ward scene, smart-aleck Frank Nelson played the ward attendant who promised Ray and Jack that they would soon start seeing DT visions of strange animals. When the DT visions appeared (with Mel Blanc providing pig squeals, monkey chatters, and other animal sound effects), Ray chased them off. "Ray, they're gone!" Benny shouted. "What did you do?" Milland replied, "I threw my Oscar at them!" See more »
Don places the bottle on the right side of the ceiling lamp and later retrieves it from the left side. See more »
Seedy bars, pawnshops, and an array of elaborate hiding places are the overriding images from this film. The Lost Weekend is a grimly realistic account of four days in the life of a chronic alcoholic, played by Ray Milland. In films of this quality one always takes away unforgettable images. The most striking is Milland's drunken efforts to remember where in his apartment the last hiding place he used is. Degraded and thoroughly beaten by his addiction, his last refuge is to try and keep it a secret from those who still love him. Billy Wilder's direction and script is brilliant - sympathetic, but unpatronising in his handling of a delicate and rarely dealt with affliction. Not until Nicolas Cage's portrayal of a man determined to drink himself to death in Leaving Las Vegas, has alcoholism been dealt with so well. Milland's performance is first rate - no hammy shlurring of words - and the atmosphere is dark and seedy like the bars he frequents. The scene where he spends several hours trying to find an open pawnshop on a public holiday is both harrowing and dazzling - it is remeniscent of the filmic image of a parched man trying to cross the desert.
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