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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>
To achieve the gaunt, haggard look of a drunk on a whopper of a bender, Ray Milland went on a crash diet of dry toast, coffee, grapefruit juice and boiled eggs, and subsequently took off many pounds. See more »
In the last ten minutes. His coat is tossed to the floor. A few shots later it's laying on the arm of the chair. See more »
It shrinks my liver, doesn't it, Nat? It pickles my kidneys, yeah. But what it does to the mind? It tosses the sandbags overboard so the balloon can soar. Suddenly I'm above the ordinary. I'm competent. I'm walking a tightrope over Niagara Falls. I'm one of the great ones. I'm Michaelangelo, molding the beard of Moses. I'm Van Gogh painting pure sunlight. I'm Horowitz, playing the Emperor Concerto. I'm John Barrymore before movies got him by the throat. I'm Jesse James and his two brothers, all...
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The script and score are superb and the acting flawless. Ray Milland is riveting in the role of a man who is as consumed by alcohol as it is consuming him. He lives and breathes for it and all around him become secondary including his long suffering girlfriend.
There is always a girl like this in the life of a good looking useless purposeless alcoholic kept afloat by either a wife or other family member, in this case a brother who pays the bills and tries to sober him up and dry him out periodically.
The score is relentless and highly avant Gard for its time, featuring music normally backing sci-fi flicks. Some of the scenes are profoundly frightening, his stay in the drunk tank with a sadistic feminine male nurse outlining all the horrors that await him and his DTs which feature a bat biting the head off a bird.
Very well done. I felt the ending was a little too pat, that would be my only fault with this.
9 out of 10. Excellent.
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