IMDb > The Lost Weekend (1945)
The Lost Weekend
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The Lost Weekend (1945) More at IMDbPro »

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The Lost Weekend -- Trailer for The Lost Weekend

Overview

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8.1/10   20,615 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Charles R. Jackson (from the novel by)
Charles Brackett (screen play) ...
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Contact:
View company contact information for The Lost Weekend on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
16 November 1945 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
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 »
Plot:
The desperate life of a chronic alcoholic is followed through a four day drinking bout. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Won 4 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 3 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
"Before 'Weekend', alcoholism was treated as something funny. There were character actors who only played drunks, and always for laughs.There's nothing funny about a drunk." See more (127 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Ray Milland ... Don Birnam

Jane Wyman ... Helen St. James
Phillip Terry ... Wick Birnam
Howard Da Silva ... Nat

Doris Dowling ... Gloria

Frank Faylen ... 'Bim' Nolan
Mary Young ... Mrs. Deveridge
Anita Sharp-Bolster ... Mrs. Foley (as Anita Bolster)
Lillian Fontaine ... Mrs. St. James (as Lilian Fontaine)
Frank Orth ... Opera Cloak Room Attendant
Lewis L. Russell ... Mr. St. James
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Andy Andrews ... Alcoholic (uncredited)
Gene Ashley ... Male Nurse (uncredited)
Walter Baldwin ... Man from Albany (uncredited)
Harry Barris ... Pianist at Harry & Joe's (uncredited)
Ian Begg ... (uncredited)
Jess Lee Brooks ... (uncredited)
Jack Clifford ... Guard (uncredited)
David Clyde ... Dave (uncredited)
James Conaty ... Man in Nightclub Washroom (uncredited)
Willa Pearl Curtis ... Mrs. Wertheim's Assistant (uncredited)

John Deauville ... Cloakroom Attendant (uncredited)
Helen Dickson ... Mrs. Frink (uncredited)
Clark Eggleston ... Cloakroom Attendant (uncredited)
Franklyn Farnum ... Concert Attendee (uncredited)
Byron Foulger ... Shopkeeper (uncredited)
John Garris ... Opera Singer (uncredited)
Jayne Hazard ... M. (uncredited)
Ted Hecht ... Man with Bandaged Ear (uncredited)
Ernest Hilliard ... Headwaiter (uncredited)

Earle Hyman ... Smoking Man (uncredited)
Jerry James ... Male Nurse (uncredited)
Stan Johnson ... Nurse (uncredited)
Jack W. Johnston ... Nightclub Guest (uncredited)

Karl 'Karchy' Kosiczky ... Baby (uncredited)
Eddie Laughton ... Mr. Brophy (uncredited)
Perc Launders ... Doorman (uncredited)
Audrey Long ... Cloak Room Attendant (uncredited)
Theodora Lynch ... Opera Singer (uncredited)
Bertram Marburgh ... Jewish Man (uncredited)
William Meader ... Hardware Man (uncredited)
James Millican ... Nurse (uncredited)
Frank Mills ... Drunk in Alcoholic Ward (uncredited)
Pat Moriarity ... Irishman (uncredited)
William Newell ... Liquor Store Proprietor (uncredited)
William O'Leary ... Irishman (uncredited)
Peter Potter ... Shaky and Sweaty Man (uncredited)
Mark Power ... (uncredited)
Stanley Price ... Fruit Clerk (uncredited)
Craig Reynolds ... George (uncredited)
The San Francisco Opera Company ... Themselves (uncredited)
Lester Sharpe ... Jewish Man (uncredited)
Lee Shumway ... Guard (uncredited)
Sophie ... Mrs. Deveridge's Dog (uncredited)
Douglas Spencer ... Beetle Man in Drunk Tank (uncredited)
Al Stewart ... Mattress Man (uncredited)
Amzie Strickland ... Woman in Bar (uncredited)
Bunny Sunshine ... Little Girl (uncredited)
Harry Tenbrook ... Drunk in Alcoholic Ward (uncredited)
Fred 'Snowflake' Toones ... Washroom Attendant at Harry & Joe's (uncredited)
Emmett Vogan ... Doctor (uncredited)
Max Wagner ... Mike (uncredited)
Milton Wallace ... Pawnbroker with Helen's Coat (uncredited)
Gisela Werbisek ... Mrs. Wertheim (uncredited)
Crane Whitley ... Waiter at Harry & Joe's Bar (uncredited)
Ernest Whitman ... Black Man Talking to Himself (uncredited)
Harry Wilson ... Drunk (uncredited)
Isabel Withers ... Woman Before Pawn Shop (uncredited)
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Directed by
Billy Wilder 
 
Writing credits
Charles R. Jackson (from the novel by)

Charles Brackett (screen play) and
Billy Wilder (screen play)

Produced by
Charles Brackett .... producer
 
Original Music by
Miklós Rózsa  (as Miklos Rozsa)
 
Cinematography by
John F. Seitz (director of photography)
 
Casting by
Robert Mayo (uncredited)
Alice Thomas (uncredited)
 
Art Direction by
Hans Dreier 
A. Earl Hedrick  (as Earl Hedrick)
 
Set Decoration by
Bertram C. Granger  (as Bertram Granger)
 
Costume Design by
Edith Head (costumes)
 
Makeup Department
Wally Westmore .... makeup supervisor
Jack Daniels .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Doris Rowland .... hair stylist (uncredited)
William Woods .... makeup artist (uncredited)
 
Production Management
Richard Blaydon .... production manager (uncredited)
Frank Parmenter .... assistant production manager (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Douglas Bridges .... second assistant director (uncredited)
Charles C. Coleman .... assistant director (uncredited)
Charles C. Coleman .... second unit director (uncredited)
Tex Harris .... second assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Jack Colconda .... props (uncredited)
Gene Lauritzen .... construction coordinator (uncredited)
Charles Mason .... props (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Stanley Cooley .... sound recordist
Joel Moss .... sound recordist
William Pillar .... stage engineer (uncredited)
 
Visual Effects by
Farciot Edouart .... process photography
Gordon Jennings .... special photographic effects
Loyal Griggs .... process photography assistant (uncredited)
Paul K. Lerpae .... special photographic effects assistant (uncredited)
Harry Perry .... process photography assistant (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Mitch Crawley .... transparency grip (uncredited)
Ray Guy .... electrician (uncredited)
Earl Hardaway .... mike grip (uncredited)
James Hawley .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Walter Newman .... transparency grip (uncredited)
Otto Pierce .... second camera (uncredited)
Chet Stafford .... gaffer (uncredited)
Harlow Stengel .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Fred True .... grip (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Julio Alonso .... wardrobe (uncredited)
Grace Harris .... wardrobe (uncredited)
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Doane Harrison .... editorial supervisor
Lee Hall .... assistant editor (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Sidney Cutner .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Samuel Hoffman .... musician: theremin (uncredited)
Russell Martin .... music recordist (uncredited)
George Parrish .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Leo Shuken .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Philip Wisdom .... music mixer (uncredited)
Eugene Zador .... orchestrator (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Armando Agnini .... technical advisor: opera (uncredited)
John Clark .... publicist (uncredited)
Rena Clark .... research assistant (uncredited)
Helen Hernandez .... assistant to producer (uncredited)
Sam Ledner .... dance supervisor (uncredited)
Al Mann .... dance director (uncredited)
Gladys Percey .... research director (uncredited)
Douglas Spencer .... stand-in: Ray Milland (uncredited)
George Thompson .... medical advisor (uncredited)
Marvin Weldon .... script clerk (uncredited)
Sam Wood .... coordinator (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
101 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Certification:
Argentina:16 | Australia:PG | Finland:K-16 | Germany:12 | Netherlands:18 (1947) | South Korea:15 (2003) | Sweden:15 | UK:PG | UK:A (original rating) | USA:Not Rated | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #10517) | USA:TV-PG (TV rating)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Billy Wilder first read the book when he was traveling to New York by train. Upon arrival, the first thing he did was ring his writing partner ; Charles Brackett in Los Angeles to get him to see if the film rights could be obtained. Brackett rang him back later that day with the news that they were available. He also asked Wilder what did he see in the book that made him think it would make a good film, having just read it himself. Wilder replied that it would be a hugely important movie - the first to depict a real alcoholic as opposed to a comic interpretation of the condition.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: Don Birman stops at the "A. Bloom" pawn shop. When it is closed, he walks uptown. He passes another pawn shop with a man standing in front of it and we can see the name "A. Bloom" againSee more »
Quotes:
Don Birnam:Let me have one, Nat. I'm dying. Just one.See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
It Was So Beautiful (and You Were Mine)See more »

FAQ

Is "The Lost Weekend" based on a book?
What is the significance of the three balls outside of the pawnbroker's shop?
See more »
29 out of 31 people found the following review useful.
"Before 'Weekend', alcoholism was treated as something funny. There were character actors who only played drunks, and always for laughs.There's nothing funny about a drunk.", 21 April 2006
Author: Ford-kp from Vienna, Austria

The often stated belief that alcoholism is a mere bodily addiction does not do the truth any justice. Alcoholism is more. It's a state of mind. It's addictive escapism for those who feel cheated by life, a way of avoiding fears and unhappiness, an illusionary method to make up for ones failures. Maybe that's why most therapies do not succeed. They solely concentrate on the illness, rather than on the cause of it. Of course, in many cases the cause cannot be helped...

In The Lost Weekend we accompany the failed writer Don Birnam (Ray Milland) surrendering to the self-destructive nature of his addiction. Despite being good-looking and intelligent, Don is a hopeless alcoholic filled with self-loathing ("The reason is me. What I am. Or rather what I am not.") The brand doesn't matter, the cheaper the better – to him it's all the same. Drinking seems to be his only way to escape from his misery and low self-esteem. "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. [...]" That's what a drunk Don tells his favourite barkeeper Nat (Howard Da Silva).

Yet, in one aspect he is lucky. Unlike many of his fellow sufferers he is not alone. After years of abuse, his faithful girlfriend Helen (Jane Wyman) and his brother Wick (Phillip Terry) have still not deserted him. Compassionately they do their utmost to protect Don from himself by keeping him under close observation. With great effort they determined the most inventive hiding-places of his bottles and they even visited nearby liquor stores and bars, begging not to accept Don as a customer. There is nothing they haven't tried, but Don appears to be beyond salvation ("I am not a drinker. I'm a drunk." he tells them.). Just before the three of them are about to go on a weekend trip, Don devises a cunning plan to temporarily get rid of the two persons who care about him, giving him time to acquire the liquid he treasures the most. Soon he is stone drunk, staggering through the streets, always on the lookout for the next drink. For Don there will be no weekend trip. Only the bottle and the desperate humiliations connected with attaining it.

The Lost Weekend is a a drama of great emotional vehemence, lacking the light heartedness of Billy Wilder's later works. It gives unclouded insight into the darkest corners of alcoholism and depicts the powerlessness of the alcoholic over himself. Wilder created great controversy at that time by letting the lead actor succumb to his addiction. He didn't shy away from showing the addict's humiliations when begging for money or booze. Neither did he hesitate to point out the addict's loss of all self-respect when stealing and lying to pay for his one need. The horrifying hallucination scene only adds up to the disturbing decline of Don Birnam's humanity, proving that the greatest horrors lie within our imagination.

This is an excellent film of lasting relevance. It is technically brilliant and shines with great dialogue (which is typical for Wilder). Its storytelling (flashbacks) is superior. Furthermore Ray Millard (Dial M for Murder) gives a terrific and equally courageous performance as the the self-destructive alcoholic. You can see the desperate self-loathing and calculating slyness of a true addict written on his face.

In the end it comes down to two choices. Don can give in to alcoholism and thereby give up on life. Or he can try to overcome his addiction and face his fears and discontentment. Although sheer will-power may not be enough to achieve the latter, it is essential for succeeding. And the cause isn't lost, for there is Helen to help and care for him. Don is not alone. May someone have mercy on those who are...

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