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The Lost Weekend (1945)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  16 November 1945 (USA)
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 22,935 users  
Reviews: 130 user | 91 critic

The desperate life of a chronic alcoholic is followed through a four day drinking bout.

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(from the novel by), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Lost Weekend (1945)

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Won 4 Oscars. Another 12 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Phillip Terry ...
Howard Da Silva ...
Nat
...
...
Mary Young ...
Mrs. Deveridge
Anita Sharp-Bolster ...
Mrs. Foley (as Anita Bolster)
Lilian Fontaine ...
Mrs. St. James
Frank Orth ...
Opera Cloak Room Attendant
Lewis L. Russell ...
Mr. St. James
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Storyline

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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

How daring can the screen dare to be? No adult man or woman can risk missing the startling frankness of The Lost Weekend! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 November 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Días sin huella  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,250,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Billy Wilder became infatuated by a brunette extra who was hired to play a coat check girl in the scene where Don Birnam gets thrown out of a bar for stealing money from a woman's purse. It proved to be a non-role for the extra, since only her arm can be seen giving a coat to Birnam, but no matter. The extra's name was Audrey Young, and she eventually married the smitten director. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Don Birnam: [after buying two bottles of rye whiskey] I'm not a minor, Mr. Brophy, and just to ease your conscience, I'm buying these to refill my cigarette lighter.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Gilmore Girls: Always a Godmother, Never a God (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

It Was So Beautiful (and You Were Mine)
(1932) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Barris
Lyrics by Arthur Freed
Played on piano and sung by Harry Barris at Harry and Joe's
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Textbook drama about addiction powerfully told...
2 March 1999 | by (Philadelphia, PA) – See all my reviews

From the first shot of a bottle hanging from a drunk's apartment, we realize we are about to see a clever addict and a weekend of his demented exploits. Ray Milland has an honest face, not unlike Jimmy Stewart's, however, with this character it is only skin-deep. The great thing about his performance and the film as a whole, is that his face will gradually change, becoming dark and chilly, just like Stewart's in IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE. Stewart had lost his life momentarily. Milland has lost his soul to the bottle and he will stop at nothing to quench his thirst.

This really is a textbook example of the alcoholic's lies and schemes, a precursor to LEAVING LAS VEGAS, although there are people in this film who care about the drinker from the beginning. He just can't stop and we start to lose whatever sympathy we had for him because of how he treats other people. This is a drunk with a sober man wanting to come out, but Wilder's script dives deeply into the unpredictable outcomes of most alcoholics.

LOST WEEKEND was innovative and was almost never released because test audiences could not take the film's realism. The hospital sequence retains its horror, and Milland's withdrawal-induced hallucination of a rat in the wall was like him looking in the mirror. See this movie and you will come away with a completely informed and scary anthology of the antics of a hopeless alcoholic. This is amazing considering it came out of the old Hollywood system.


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