Review: ‘The Lost Weekend’

Lost Weekend
Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

The filming by Paramount of “The Lost Weekend” marks a particularly outstanding achievement in the Hollywood setting. The psychiatric study of an alcoholic, it is an unusual picture. It is intense, morbid — and thrilling. Here is an intelligent dissection of one of society’s most rampant evils. Ray Milland and Jane Wyman are the stars. It is smash boxoffice.

This is no picture to serve as sheer entertainment, for herein is what may well be termed the heresy of filmmaking. A picture of doubtful entertainment value? Well, now.


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“Weekend” hasn’t any laughs. Or gams. Or crackling, smart dialog. It is startling in its manic-depression. It required courage for Paramount to violate cardinal boxoffice rules to film it. Yet, here is a pic that should snowball b.o. interest on the basis of word-of-mouth and intelligent, conservative exploitation. That is, if the original novel by Charles R. Jackson hasn’t already developed that interest.



— Kahn.

The Lost Weekend


Paramount. Director Billy Wilder; Producer Charles Brackett; Screenplay Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder; Camera John F. Seitz; Editor Doane Harrison; Music Miklos Rozsa; Art Director Hans Dreier, Earl Hedrick. Previewed in N.Y., Aug. 10, '45.


(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Original review text from 1945. Running time: 104 MIN.


Don Birnam - Ray Milland Helen St. James - Jane Wyman Wick Birnam - Philip Terry Nat, the Bartender - Howard da Silva Gloria - Doris Dowling Rim - Frank Faylen Mrs. Deveridge - Mary Young Mrs. Foley - Anita Bolster Mrs. St. James - Lilian Fontaine Mr. St. James - Lewis L. Russell Attendant at Opera - Frank Orth

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