Back in 1945, vaguely realistic depictions of addiction on screen weren’t just a rarity, they were pretty much unheard of. However, coming off the success of Double Indemnity, writer-director Billy Wilder decided that the time was ripe to adapt Charles R. Jackson’s novel about alcoholism, The Lost Weekend, for the big screen. It certainly worked, as Wilder won Best Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture Oscars for the movie.
Ray Milland plays Don Birnam, who’s supposed to be giving up the booze and heading off for the weekend with his straight-laced brother, Wick. However the lure of the liquor proves too much and Wick gives up on helping his brother, leaving Don’s girlfriend, Helen (Jane Wyman), to deal with him. This is the start of a four day binge, where Don’s desperation for alcohol becomes ever greater. He harbours ideas of being an author, but blames his alcoholism of writer’s block, and it’s gotten so bad he even hocks his typewriter to get more whiskey. [Read more…]