Billy Wilder’s still searing film about the dangers of alcohol stars Ray Milland as a writer struggling with the demon drink. Tricking his brother and partner into believing he’s decamping to the country for a sober break, he returns to his dingy flat for what will turn out to be a dark weekend of the soul.
The first Hollywood film to portray alcoholism is all its uncompromising detail, from the DTs to hallucinations, Lost Weekend was rewarded with four Academy Awards and remains one of only two films to have won the Best Picture Oscar and the top prize at Cannes Film Festival.
Billy Wilder was inspired to embark on the project following the painful experience of working with recovering alcoholic Raymond Chandler on Double Indemnity, hoping that Chandler would recognise some of himself in the film and act upon it.
In his attempts to accentuate the story’s gritty realism, Wilder hoped to release the film with no music score, only for early screenings to fall flat. The film was eventually released with Miklós Rózsa’s highly influential theremin score.