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The Lost Weekend

( 5 )

Overview

Billy Wilder's brilliant, trend-setting study of an alcoholic receives an adequate DVD release from Universal. While The Lost Weekend went on to great public and critical acclaim and ended up winning 1945's Oscar for Best Picture, it had been tough for Wilder and his crew to be allowed to get their tough, uncompromising vision onto the screen. While this Paramount DVD ignores the film's history, giving it no meaningful supplemental materials, the print used is in fine shape and the Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono audio ...
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DVD (Black & White / Pan & Scan / Dolby 5.1 / Mono)
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Overview

Billy Wilder's brilliant, trend-setting study of an alcoholic receives an adequate DVD release from Universal. While The Lost Weekend went on to great public and critical acclaim and ended up winning 1945's Oscar for Best Picture, it had been tough for Wilder and his crew to be allowed to get their tough, uncompromising vision onto the screen. While this Paramount DVD ignores the film's history, giving it no meaningful supplemental materials, the print used is in fine shape and the Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono audio transfer sounds much better than earlier video releases of the movie. Pay no attention to listings of this DVD only showing The Lost Weekend in a pan-and-scan format. Before 1955, no theatrical motion pictures were shot in widescreen; instead, the aspect ratio conforms naturally with television screens. While it would be nice to have an accompanying documentary for a film as historically important as The Lost Weekend, this DVD remains an improvement over its earlier video releases.
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Special Features

Production Notes On The Making Of The Film; Cast And Filmmakers Biographies And Film Highlights; Theatrical Trailer
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Billy Wilder's harrowing case study of a booze-addicted writer, released in 1945 to international acclaim, heralded a new realism in Hollywood dramas; today, more than five decades later, The Lost Weekend retains the power to shock with its uncompromising depiction of alcoholism. Ray Milland won a richly deserved Oscar for his moving portrayal of a drunken scribe who goes on a three-day bender, plunging himself into a nightmarish phantasmagoria. Jane Wyman delivers a first-rate performance as Milland's heartbroken girlfriend, while Howard Da Silva as a cynical bartender and Frank Faylen as a sanitarium attendant contribute notable supporting turns. The screen adaptation of Charles Jackson's bestselling novel, penned by Wilder and Charles Brackett, deviated somewhat from the original story but sacrificed none of its potency. The film was deemed so effective, in fact, that a consortium of liquor manufacturers offered Paramount five million dollars to suppress it. Ultimately, Wilder's faith in the project was justified by rave reviews and a slew of Academy Awards including Best Picture. His film pioneered a new type of socially relevant drama, specimens of which periodically issued from Hollywood studios in the post-World War II era. Its historical importance, however, shouldn't obscure the fact that Lost Weekend is, first and foremost, a tremendously entertaining movie. The new DVD release includes production notes, cast and crew biographies, and the original theatrical trailer.
All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
Charles Bukowski, the poet and novelist well known for his alcoholic excesses, once said admiringly of The Lost Weekend, "It was Ray Milland's only bit of acting, but it was aces." While Bukowski's praise of Milland's work may have been tongue-in-cheek, it was also based in truth: Milland never gave a stronger performance than in this film, in which he captured the alcoholic personality with uncanny accuracy. Years before addiction became common currency in the movies (or in American life), Milland etched an indelible portrait of an alcoholic in denial, willing to lie to friends and family, steal from strangers, and give up his livelihood for a drink; Milland's pained and weary desperation as he searches for a pawnshop or the abject terror of his bout with DTs still ring horribly true. The Lost Weekend also manages the clever (and wholly appropriate) feat of making Milland's Don Birnam sympathetic without asking the audience to feel sorry for him or to ignore the deadly foolishness of his actions. Director Billy Wilder (who also co-wrote the screenplay with Charles M. Brackett) makes clear that Don is intelligent and not without talent; he's also weak-willed and a willing slave to the bottle, and while he knows what drink is doing to him, he's unable to stop himself until a final collapse grinds him to a halt. The Lost Weekend is also punctuated by bitter humor (Frank Faylen as the Bellevue alcoholic ward attendant is as funny as he is devoid of compassion) and a superb supporting cast, especially Howard Da Silva as Nat the bartender and Doris Dowling as the bar girl with a softer heart than we'd imagine; and Wilder seems to relish the unstated irony that the drug that's destroying Don Birnam is openly available and used readily by others all around him.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/6/2001
  • UPC: 025192115325
  • Original Release: 1945
  • Rating:

  • Source: Universal Studios
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Pre-1954 Standard (1.33.1)
  • Presentation: Black & White / Pan & Scan / Dolby 5.1 / Mono
  • Sound: Dolby Digital, monaural
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:41:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 6,291

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ray Milland Don Birnam
Jane Wyman Helen St. James
Howard Da Silva Nat the Bartender
Phillip Terry Nick Birnam
Doris Dowling Gloria
Frank Faylen Bim
Mary Young Mrs. Beveridge
Anita Bolster Mrs. Foley
Lilian Fontaine Mrs. St. James
Lewis L. Russell Mr. St. James
Frank Orth Opera Attendant
Harry Barris Piano Player
Byron Foulger Shopkeeper
Jayne Hazard M.M.
Jerry James
Clarence Muse Washroom Attendant
William O'Leary Irishman
Craig Reynolds M.M.'s Escort
Lester Sharpe
Emmett Vogan Doctor
Milton Wallace Pawnbroker
Gisela Werbiseck Mrs. Wertheim
Theodora Lynch
Jess Lee Brooks
David Clyde Dave
Helen Dickson Mrs. Frink
Eddie Laughton Mr. Brophy
James Millican Nurse
Pat Moriarity Irishman
Peter Potter Shaky and Sweaty
Lee Shumway Guard
Douglas Spencer Beetle
Fred "Snowflake" Toones Washroom Attendant
Walter S. Baldwin Albany
Technical Credits
Billy Wilder Director, Screenwriter
Charles Brackett Producer, Screenwriter
Stanley Cooley Sound/Sound Designer
Hans Dreier Art Director
Bertram Granger Set Decoration/Design
Doane Harrison Editor
Edith Head Costumes/Costume Designer
Earl Hedrick Art Director
Gordon Jennigns Special Effects
Pat Moore Sound Editor
Joel Moss Sound/Sound Designer
Miklós Rózsa Score Composer
John F. Seitz Cinematographer
Wally Westmore Makeup
Victor Young Musical Direction/Supervision
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Scene Index

Chapter List
0. Chapter List
1. Main Titles [1:08]
2. The Birnam Brothers [8:43]
3. Mrs. Foley's Money [2:38]
4. Nat's Bar [5:11]
5. A Sick Person [8:06]
6. Gloria [3:10]
7. "The Bottle" [10:02]
8. Helen's Parents [13:39]
9. Writing? [8:36]
10. Hungover [7:31]
11. Gloria's Help [2:38]
12. Hospitalized [5:01]
13. Escape [7:49]
14. The D.T.'s [5:24]
15. A Pawned Coat [2:19]
16. Death wish [5:10]
17. Nat Pays A Visit [1:56]
18. Novel Plans [1:12]
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Menu

Main
   Menu Group #1 with 19 chapter(s) covering 01:40:19
Languages
   Spoken Language
      English
   Captions & Subtitles
      English
      Español
      Français
Bonus Materials
   Theatrical Trailer
   Production Notes
   Cast and Filmmakers
      Ray Milland as Don Birnam
      Jane Wyman as Helen St. James
      Phillip Berry as Wick Birnam
      Howard De Silva as Nat
      Doris Dowling as Gloria
      Frank Faylen as Bim
   Recommendations
Play
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    alcoholism

    A wonderful example of how alcohol can control one's actions and emotions. Billy wilder has proven himself to be one of the greatest directors of all times. This movie is a must see for all addicts to show what their addiction looks likes to others and how it affects others. just to know it,s there gives you a sense of peace. Just like this movie!

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    The Lost Weekend

    The Lost Weekend is perhaps a lost film in Hollywood history and I cannot figure out for the life of me why that is. It is a film that is difficult to find on video/dvd anywhere and I have not found a place yet to rent it from or even found many people who have seen/heard of it. However, with this film the great Billy Wilder once again crafts a story full of drama, superb acting, dialogue and a story that are as true to life as they were in 1945 when it one the Oscar for best picture. It is hard to distinguish if it is the direction and mastery of Billy Wilder that makes this film unforgettable or if it is the dead on acting of Ray Milland, the alcholic who will do and say anything to get his fix, even if for a brief moment. This is a must see film for anyone who wants to be captivated by film making at its finest and if you know anyone who suffers from alcoholism or another drug addiction it will hit home with its stark realizm as Milland's character bargins with himself over his sobriety and how/where to get this next taste to escape.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Classic Film

    Superb black-and-white film.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Totally Outstanding

    I enjoyed this movie so much that years after seeing it I think it still has the impact as it did back in the 40's. I have used the line that the bartender used on Ray Miland many times over the years "One drink is too much and a hundred aren't enough". Watching Miland walking down the street in a drunken stuipper is enough to make anybody think,"Is drinking really worth it?"...Heck No! This is one great movie - share it with your kids if they are at the years when they would like to start trying some of the garbage that this world has to offer! "Enjoy" Joe Kopeck

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews