Mad Men & Wilder Women: Focus on Billy Wilder ACMI Presents

The Lost Weekend

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“It is intense, morbid -- and thrilling. Here is an intelligent dissection of one of society's most rampant evils.”

Packing his suitcases for a sobering weekend away with his brother, an alcoholic New York writer (Ray Milland) seizes one last chance for one last drink. But that one drink turns into a dark and lonely journey through the depths of addiction.

In his follow-up to Double Indemnity, Billy Wilder presents another vision of a man who takes a dark turn when presented with two paths. Jane Wyman (Magnificent Obsession) stars as Don's wholesome and ever-supportive girlfriend, while Doris Dowling plays barfly and enabler, Gloria. The two contrasting women symbolise the film’s dualities of good and bad, virtue and vice. Even Don suggests there are two versions of himself.

Prior to the film's release, alcoholism had only been treated on screen as a source of comedy, and test audiences didn’t know how to react. The Lost Weekend exists today as the first film to truly deal with alcoholism as a serious and heartbreaking condition.