Days of Wine and Roses (1962) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • An alcoholic marries a young woman, who he systematically addicts to booze, so they can share his "passion" together.

  • Joe Clay is a top-notch public-relations man. Anything a client wants, Joe can arrange, from dancing girls to an article in a prominent magazine. But part of the job is drinking, and Joe's ability to consume alcohol seems boundless. When he meets the very pretty Kirsten Arnesen, she prefers chocolate to alcohol; Joe's solution is Brandy Alexander, which is made up of brandy and crème de cacao. Joe and Kirsten eventually marry, but their love can't prevent the downward spiral brought on by alcohol. They try desperately to break the habit but continually relapse until only one of them manages to break free.

  • Working in a public relations firm as an account executive, Joe Clay feels like he needs to drink as part of his job. But he enjoys this aspect of work. While at a client party, Joe meets his client's secretary, Kirsten Arnesen. Despite an initial dislike of Joe, Kirsten eventually goes out on date with him. She is a non-drinker who neither likes the taste of alcohol or feels the need for its effects. But based on her addiction to chocolate, Joe does start her on alcohol consumption with the chocolate-tasting Brandy Alexander. Joe and Kirsten fall in love, get married, and start a family. But as the stresses of work start to pile up, Joe's drinking increases and he pressures Kirsten into joining him to drown his sorrows. Alcohol soon becomes their main focus, and this rapidly destroys both their personal lives and Joe's professional life. Kirsten's father, hardworking nurseryman Ellis Arnesen, wants to help, specifically his daughter, but he has a difficult time forgiving Joe who introduced her to drinking. Despite Joe finally coming to the realization that alcohol is the main problem in their lives (Joe states that the reflection of a bum he saw in a window was himself), they must admit that they are indeed alcoholics and that they can never have alcohol again before they can even think of reclaiming their lives. Beyond that, they must be able to stay away from liquor, which may be impossible.

  • Boy (with drinking problem) meets girl (with addiction to chocolate). They fall in love, marry, and have a beautiful baby girl. But the picture-perfect family is anything but. Joe has introduced his wife Kirsten to the "pleasures" of drinking, and soon both are confirmed alcoholics. An absorbing, frightening study of the insidiousness of addiction.

  • San Francisco public-relations man Joe Clay drinks every day to "socialize" with his clients. He falls for secretary Kirsten Arnesen and they marry. But soon the drinking catches up with them and threatens their happy family life.


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