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.
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It's interesting to view the ending of this film through what we know of Charles Jackson's life, where the publication of The Lost Weekend, and the onset of fame, brought about his relapse into alcohol and drug dependency. That may have been too bleak a notion for audiences in 1945, but the fact that this film was ever made at that time is still astonishing. And, of course, Ray Milland is extraordinary.
Absolutely fantastic. In imagery and in story. Ray Millard's performance is the worthiest performance in Oscar terms. He is unrivaled in this one. Billy Wilder has put out a few gems, but this one stands closest to the top. Brilliant filmmaking, screenwriting, and acting. A must-see.
A pretty good film tackling social problems such as addiction (in this case, drinking) without being too exploitative and over-sentimental on the subject. Ray Milland pretty effectively carried the film. And there are a number of effective visuals and symbolism scattered within the film.
Part of the trend that overtook cinema after WWII to hold a mirror up to society, and thus today seems torn between "reality" and the artifice of melodrama and classical cinema. 2015 audiences may snicker at the haunted-house soundtrack or the optimistic ending, but the film still packs an unironic punch in the way the filmmakers feel frighteningly intimate with the details of addiction. Particularly its little lies.