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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 <email@example.com>
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 »
Amount of rye in shot glass changes. When bartender Nat pours Don Birnam's first drink, the shot glass is approximately 75% full as seen over bartender's left shoulder. Birnam lifts glass, but does not drink. Cut to camera over Birnam's right shoulder looking at bartender. As Birnam leans away from bar, glass is now filled almost to brim. See more »
If it happens, it happens and I hope it does. I've had six years of this. I've had my bellyfull... Who are we fooling? We've tried everything, haven't we? We've reasoned with him. We've baited him. We've watched him like a hawk. We've tried trusting him. How often have you cried? How often have I beaten him up? Scrape him out of a gutter and pump some kind of self-respect into him and back he falls, back in every time.
Helen St. James:
He's a sick person. It's as though there was something wrong with his heart ...
[...] See more »
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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