Best Picture: The Lost Weekend

220px-The_Lost_Weekend_posterDon: I’m a writer.  I just started a novel.  As a matter of fact, I’ve started several but I never seem to finish one.

Helen: Well in that case, why don’t you write short stories?

Don: Oh, I have some of those – first paragraphs.  And there’s one half of the opening scene of a play which takes place in the leaning tower of Pisa that attempts to explain why it leans and all sensible buildings should lean.

The Lost Weekend is a cautionary tale of a writer experiencing an alcoholic binge over the course of an elongated weekend.  He struggles with alcoholism, interacting with his favorite bartender, brother, several women and a hospital nurse, not to mention his own mind, and the two Dons, the writer and the drunk.

During my post-movie research, I came across a claim made by the director, Billy Wilder, that the liquor companies offered Paramount $5 million to not distribute this film.  I’d believe it, as a number of times the movie seemed to be oddly reminiscent of some of the old DARE movies we watched in Middle School.

That being said, I did enjoy the film.  The pacing is a big slow, but the movie isn’t too long.  And I was curious to see how the movie would end.  You can’t expect a Best Picture winner to pull a lot of punches, especially about a topic as sensitive as alcoholism (being made in a time where one generation had lived through prohibition and another was coming back from war).

And believe me, it doesn’t pull the punches.

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