“The Lost Weekend” Review

The Lost Weekend: Directed by Billy Wilder. With Ray Milland, Jane Wyman, Phillip Terry, Howard Da Silva. The desperate life of a chronic alcoholic is followed through a four-day drinking bout.

Other than some period based phrases, this film could have been made yesterday and not in 1945 and there’s a surprising amount of content that I directly remember from my own experiences with booze. I never sunk to the level of self destruction this guy did, but when he’s out buying bourbon when he knows he shouldn’t and tells the store clerk “none of that barrel aged stuff for me” I distinctly remembering making choices of buying the cheaper stuff in plastic bottles over the glass bottles because I wanted to get drunk, not taste something that tastes good. There’s flashback to a familiar scene where he’s been sober for some time but then one small setback pushed him back into the bottle where he bemoaned his tragic life, then continued to drink to bring back the muse that would help him write his first great novel.

The plot and story elements were the only great thing about “The Lost Weekend”, the cinemaphotography and the framing of many of the scenes have some great elements to them, specifically the angel of the camera when he was tearing his apartment apart to find the missing bottle of booze and was asking “where did you put it?!”, all while you could see the light fixture hanging behind him, taunting him with it’s hidden secrets that he was too stupefied by withdrawals to understand.

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