|Still as amazing now as it was then.|
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I remember the first time I watched this film. I was at my father's, in my room, sitting in my computer chair, completely aloof to everything and anything around me. The film had just started, but the moment I saw Ray Milland's character, Don Birnam reach outside his window to grasp hold of the bottle dangling outside his apartment window on a string, I was hooked.
Near the end of the film , my father walked in and wanted to know what I was watching. When I told him that it was The Lost Weekend with Ray Milland and Jane Wyman, he told me about this man that he used to know when he was a kid, and while he didn't hang his bottles outside of a window tied to a string, he did bury them under the bushes next to the fence. And that there were days when the yard would be up heaved and destroyed from his incessant digging as he searched for the bottles that he had forgotten where he put. His wife, my father told me, had been a very sweet and dear woman, and while the man was very kind when he was sober, he turned into someone completely different when he was drunk.
|Don deciding his fate.|
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That's when I realized that to watch The Lost Weekend, despondency and hope are the exact emotions that you need to be feeling by the end of it, and if you aren't, you seriously need to get yourself checked out.
For me, The Lost Weekend was (is) one of those films that you really want to see, but you know what it's about, and you find the subject matter incredibly hard to watch, but you suck it up and you watch it anyways and before, during, and after a storm of emotions are lashing out inside of you and you're just left there going . . . "Oh. My. God." And you know if your life suddenly ended right there, you would be a better person for having seen the film.
|Don: A man of conflicted emotions and needs.|
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As I have stated before, Ray was a vastly under-appre-ciated actor whom many thought could only play the romantic men of the slapstick comedies. Still today he is mostly seen as the romantic lead. People! Ray was so much better than that! He was Don Birnam. Ray Milland didn't exist; he just wasn't, but Don Birnam . . . Don was real; he was. His pain was real. His fears were real. His addiction was real.
|Ray and Oscar: A beautiful pair.|
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|Don's pain is palatable.|
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|Needing that drink . . .|
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I would like to point out how remarkable that The Lost Weekend was even made. Look at that release date: 1945 . . . This film is a product from a time when a man could not sit on a woman's bed (even if they were confined to the holy state of matrimony) without at least one foot on the floor which makes me cock my eyebrow and give a good ole' long "Mmmmmhmmmm. Yeah, sure. That makes sense." And according to Billy Wilder, the liquor industry offered Paramount five million dollars to not release the film . . . [he suggested had they offered it to him, he would've taken it, but I doubt that because it doesn't really seem to jive with Wilder's personality] (TCM).
|Cary and Ray.|
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