The Lost Weekend

  • Directors: Billy Wilder
  • Producers: Charles Brackett
  • Writers: Charles R Jackson, Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder
  • Genres: Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Ray Milland, Jane Wyman

The Lost Weekend recounts the prognosis of an alcoholic New York writer, Don Birnam (Milland), over the last half of a six year period, and in particular on a weekend alcoholic binge.

Moving from a shot of the Manhattan skyline to an apartment, with a whisky bottle hung outside a window, Don and Wick are packing for a weekend vacation. Don, a supposed recovering alcoholic, has been on the wagon for ten days Wick believes. After Don’s girlfriend Helen St James (Wyman) arrives, Don urges his brother to agree to taking a later train, and urges him to go to a Barbirolli concert with Helen, while he collects his thoughts at home. Wick (Phillip Terry), having disposed of his brother’s hidden supply of drink, reluctantly agrees, despite seeing Helen as his brother’s ‘girl’. Helen, slightly mockingly, claims to be trying not to love Don while he is trying not to drink. On their way out of the building, Wick reassures Helen he has found Don’s hidden supply of alcohol, and points out Don is broke. A few minutes later, the cleaning lady arrives for work, but Don cons her out of her wages, and sends her away.

Nat returns Don’s typewriter, which he lost at Gloria’s home during his fall. After Helen persuades him that ‘Don the writer’ and ‘Don the drunk’ are the same person, Don finally commits to writing his novel The Bottle, dedicated to Helen, recounting the events of the weekend. He drops a cigarette into a glass of whisky, rather than drinking it. Recalling, while packing for his lost weekend, that his mind was on a bottle suspended just outside his window, he ponders, over a reversal of the opening shot, how many other people are in the same position as himself in New York City.

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