After seeing Billy Wilder’s first movie, this, his second, is a great disappointment. DOUBLE INDEMNITY had a heart, THE LOST WEEKEND is a sermon, and it goes on for a very long time.
It earned him his first Academy Award. He had become an up-lifter!
Today, of course, it’s even easier. Just make it about racism, and you’re all set!
Milland can’t face the truth. Not that he’s a drunk, but that being a drunk doesn’t make him a writer.
Of course, there’s a happy ending, his self-biography helping others to realize that they’re drunks (but not writers) earning him an Academy Award. But he’s still not a writer.
Wilder was one, so he didn’t have to be an alcoholic to write about it. Billy wasn’t very impressed by his cowriter on DOUBLE INDEMNITY, Raymond Chandler – he didn’t look like Bogart – and Raymond wasn’t very impressed by Billy’s not being very impressed by him.
Billy’s wife reportedly told a friend: “Long before Billy Wilder was Billy Wilder, he thought he was Billy Wilder.” I used to have the same problem.
And Raymond Chandler was a drunk. THE LOST WEEKEND was the director’s well-meaning revenge.
Ray Milland also got an Oscar, for looking like a man with a hangover for two hours – very realistic, but not exactly riveting, until he gets the DT’s (don’t step on that bat, it may be Bela Lugosi!) Not really worth your time, unless you’re playing a drinking game.