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Most men lead lives of quiet desperation. I can't take quiet desperation!—Don Brinam
A 1944 novel by Charles R. Jackson, The Lost Weekend entered the Popcultural Osmosis once the film version was released the following year. Directed and co-written by Billy Wilder and starring Ray Milland, the film won four Oscars, including Best Picture.
An alcoholic writer, Don Birnam, leads a tough existence in New York City. His girlfriend, Helen, is one of the few people out there who can hopefully lead him on the straight and narrow. However, Don's personal life has been at a crossroads due to his insecurities. After ditching his brother's suggestion for a weekend in the country, Don begins a long drinking binge (the titular lost weekend). Of ocurse, the more he drinks, the closer it may be to his last one...
This work features examples of:
- The Alcoholic: Possibly the first Hollywood film to treat alcoholism in anything resembling a realistic way.
- At the Opera Tonight
- Bowdlerize: The novel pointed to a homosexual affair as the root of Birnam's troubles; the film version replaced it with writer's block.
- Drunken Montage
- I'll Tell You When I've Had Enough
- Moral Guardians: On both ways: the liquor industry tried to sway Paramount from releasing the film, allegedly even going as far to bribe Billy Wilder. On the other hand, the more traditional folks tried to keep it from release for fears it would encourage drinking.
- Pink Elephants: A particularly terrifying use of this trope.