Originally posted on Patryk's Film Blog:
This is probably one of the greatest and most powerful stories about alcoholism that has even been depicted. This is probably also the most moving film about any kind of addiction, and the daunting struggle to overcome it. The Lost Weekend certainly still carries an enormous message more than 65 years after its first screening.
Billy Wilder took up a really hard challenge of adapting Charles Jackson’s emotional novel in the times when film studios weren’t so keen on producing controversial pictures like this one. He wanted to show the world the disastrous effects of a drinking problem in a very graphic way. I must say that every time I watch it it still sends chills down my spine.
As we meet Don Birnam, played brilliantly by Ray Milland, he is already affected by the omnipresent power of alcohol (Rye Whiskey, to be more precise). We don’t know how long has he been fighting with this brutal ‘cancer’, but we find out that he has been 10 days sober as of now. His brother and girlfriend are trying to send him on a trip out of town, so he can rest and forget about his troubles. Oh, if it was ever so easy. His extreme needs and possessed cunningness eventually lead to a moment when his brother goes away all by himself, while Don stays at the nearby bar taking one shot after another. And that’s when the ‘lost weekend’ begins.