The Lost Weekend (1945) – The Tale of A Hopeless Drunk
Okay, this is another movie that doesn’t belong on a site – this is an Academy Award winning film (really – I’m not being sarcastic), still it is an unusual film, and I watched it so I’m putting it here… Deal with it
The Lost Weekend is a great Billy Wilder film Noir staring Ray Milland (see my write up on The Thing With Two Heads), as Don Birman, once a young writer that was full of potential, now a down and out alcoholic, living off his brother, Wick (Phillip Terry) and doted on by a devoted girl friend Helen St. James (Jane Wyman), both of whom just want Don to leave the bottle behind and get on with his life. At the start of the film Wick and Don are getting ready to go off on a weekend vacation together, in order for Don to get away and relax (and escape the call of the bottle). Don, though has other plans and quickly connives Wick and Helen into leaving him alone while he “collects his thoughts.” Once they are gone, Don searches the apartment for ant possibly forgotten stashes of Rye whiskey (Wick had just found and emptied the one Don was sure of). Not finding any, he manages to screw the housekeeper out of her pay for the week ($10) and heads out, promptly purchasing two bottles of the cheapest rye, the to Nat’s Bar where he’s informed that he will receive no credit – Don pulls out some cash and pays for his booze – asking the bartender to let him know when it’s a certain time, so he can get back before Wick and Helen return. Of course being the big drunk he is, he ignores the bartender and is late. He arrives home in time to see his brother leave in a cab. Avoiding Helen, he heads to his apartment and begins a weekend bender.
Over the weekend, he tells the story to Bartender Nat of how he and Helen met at an opera when the coat check managed to swap their coat check tickets. We hear how he managed to stay sober for weeks, so in love with Helen that he is willing to try to go dry for her. Unfortunately, the stress of going to meet Helen’s parents sets him drinking again – a drinking binge that goes on… and on. Don manages to make and break a date with a prostitute that has a crush on him, visit a new bar, but run up a tab that he can’t afford (and steals a ladies purse to pay, but is caught and humiliated), and fall down a flight of stairs and end up in the alcoholic ward of a local hospital – of which he promptly escapes. We see him in the grips of Alcoholic hallucinations (the D.T.s)… This guy is a mess.
This is a story of someone at his lowest, but with people that still care for him. This is a story of the devotion of a loved one, unwilling to give up on the person they love. This is the story of a raging alcoholic. This is a good movie.
I watched it for free on Youtube, so hopefully it is now public domain, so you too can see it on Youtube. Search for it and you will most likely find it.
Check out the trailer here:
And the Whole Movie (for as long as the link lasts):