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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>
This was the first time that any film crews had been given permission to film in Bellevue Hospital. 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 »
[Nat moves to wipe away the circle of whisky from Don Birnam's glass]
Don't wipe it away, Nat. Let me have my little vicious circle. You know, the circle is the perfect geometric figure. No end, no beginning.
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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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