1945’s The Lost Weekend takes a look at the devastating effects of alcoholism, it was almost never released because of the poor reaction by preview audiences unaccustomed to such stark realism from Hollywood. It has since gone on to be regarded as one of the all-time great dramas in movie history. It features Raymond Mlland’s haunting portrayal of a would-be writer’s dissatisfaction with life that leads to a self-destructive three-day binge. Filled with riveting imagery, this film, directed by the famous Billy Wilder (Some Like Hot, The Apartment, Sunset Boulevard) co-starring Jane Wyman (All That Heaven Allows), won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director (Wilder), Best Actor (Milland) and Best Screenplay (Charles Brackett and Wilder).
The Lost Weekend hit me on a personal level because I feel for the character of Don Birnam, played by Millard. The film speaks to the human condition of addiction and the harmful aftermath it can bring to one’s life. It’s the push and pull of knowing to let go of something which we know is harming us, but not being able to let go.
Here is a clip of the film to give you a little preview: