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The Lost Weekend [Masters of Cinema] (Blu-ray) [1945]

46 customer reviews

Price: £11.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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The Lost Weekend [Masters of Cinema] (Blu-ray) [1945] + Lifeboat [Masters of Cinema] (Dual Format) [Blu-ray] [1944] + Cleopatra [Masters of Cinema] (Limited Edition Dual Format SteelBook) [Blu-ray] [1934]
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Product details

  • Actors: Ray Milland, Jane Wyman
  • Directors: Billy Wilder
  • Format: Widescreen
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Eureka Entertainment Ltd
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Jun. 2012
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B007196V1U
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 27,018 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

SYNOPSIS:

Directed by Billy Wilder (Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard, Some Like It Hot), this gut-wrenching adaptation of Charles Jackson's The Lost Weekend horrified its studio, was rejected by test audiences, and was lobbied by temperance groups, yet went on to huge success and became the awards sensation of its year.

Ray Milland stars as Don Birnam, a New York author struggling with years of alcoholism and writer's block. Trying to keep him on the path to rehabilitation are his straight-laced brother Wick (Philip Terry) and devoted long-time girlfriend Helen (Jane Wyman). When Don absconds from a country excursion, he embarks on a four-day binge, spiralling towards rock bottom.

Winner of the Grand Prix at the first ever Cannes Film Festival, as well as Oscars for Best Picture, Director, Actor, and Screenplay, this brutal noir provided one of cinema's first in-depth studies of addiction. Crackling with rapier dialogue, vivid performances, and Wilder's superlative direction, The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present The Lost Weekend for the first time anywhere in the world on Blu-ray. Released in the UK in a standard edition & limited edition steelbook.

SPECIAL BLU-RAY FEATURES:
  • New high-definition master, officially licensed from Universal Pictures
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
  • Exclusive new video introduction by director Alex Cox
  • The three-part 1992 BBC Arena programme Billy, How Did You Do It? directed by Gisela Grischow and Volker Schlöndorff, featuring Schlöndorff in conversation with Billy Wilder
  • The 1946 Screen Guild Theater radio adaptation of The Lost Weekend starring Ray Milland, Jane Wyman, and Frankie Faylen
  • The original theatrical trailer
  • 36-PAGE BOOKLET featuring a new essay on the film by critic and filmmaker David Cairns; a reproduction of the famous hallucination sequence in three forms: an excerpt from Charles R. Jackson s novel, an excerpt from Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder s screenplay, and a presentation of actual frames from the corresponding scene in the film; a vintage public service advertisement by Seagram s about The Lost Weekend and the broader social dilemma of alcoholism; and rare archival imagery

REVIEWS:

"A scarifyingly grim and grimy account... Gripping." - Tom Milne, Time Out

"...ranks with the best and most disturbing character studies ever put on the screen. The Lost Weekend is truly a chef d'oeuvre of motion-picture art." - The New York Times

"Painfully sincere and uncompromising look at alcoholism ... with a superb central performance. " - Kim Newman, Empire

From Amazon.co.uk

"I'm not a drinker--I'm a drunk." These words, and the serious message behind them, were still potent enough in 1945 to shock audiences flocking to The Lost Weekend. The speaker is Don Birnam (Ray Milland), a handsome, talented, articulate alcoholic. The writing team of producer Charles Brackett and director Billy Wilder pull no punches in their depiction of Birnam's massive weekend bender, a tailspin that finds him reeling from his favorite watering hole to Bellevue Hospital. Location shooting in New York helps the street-level atmosphere, especially a sequence in which Birnam, a budding writer, tries to hock his typewriter for booze money. He desperately staggers past shuttered storefronts--it's Yom Kippur, and the pawnshops are closed. Milland, previously known as a lightweight leading man (he'd starred in Wilder's hilarious The Major and the Minor three years earlier), burrows convincingly under the skin of the character, whether waxing poetic about the escape of drinking or screaming his lungs out in the D.T.'s sequence. Wilder, having just made the ultra-noir Double Indemnity, brought a new kind of frankness and darkness to Hollywood's treatment of a social problem. At first the film may have seemed too bold; Paramount Pictures nearly killed the release of the picture after it tested poorly with preview audiences. But once in release, The Lost Weekend became a substantial hit, and won four Oscars: for picture, director, screenplay, and actor. --Robert Horton --This text refers to the DVD edition.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By David L Rattigan VINE VOICE on 8 Aug. 2008
Format: DVD
Ray Milland delivers his finest performance in this 1945 drama. Even over 60 years later, it remains believable, tense and hard-hitting. A must for all Jane Wyman fans, too.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Vladimir Antimonov on 12 Aug. 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I've seen only the first half of the movie. The film is great, but was too painful for me to watch till the end. As one of my friends died because of alcohol addiction before he turned 35, what is depicted it this drama is just too close to that experience.

One of the very powerful scenes in this movie is when the main character, already being an addict, sits in the theatre and watches La Traviata. He consults libretto and looks very decent and seems engaged in the performance, until the actors during the famous "Libiamo Ne'lieti Calici" aria all start to drink. They do it so joyfully, cheerfully, raising and touching their champagne coupes, and the butler makes sure that their glasses stay full. Immediately the mind of the guy becomes anxious, excited, one pointed - that is, he needs a drink himself! His lips starts to tremble and he can't help rushing out of the seat in the middle of the performance to get a drink. This scene was so powerful for me because that's exactly how it really happens with such who already felt down for booze, and stimulates heavily the others who still might have a chance. It is really very sad to realise that alcohol is everywhere: at home, in the movies, in the normal groceries (in Russia at least), even in theatres! I remember as a young kid of 5 I was told that one drop of alcohol can kill a horse, yet my parents and their guests always had alcohol on all occasions, and clearly more than one drop of course. When, after my friend's passing, I realised how much hypocricy is there about alcohol and that everyone who drinks do contribute, by example and support of this "tradition", to the new crowds of addicts, I ostentatiously quit drinking all liquor completely. I hope this movie will help many more people to do the same.

The movie, the acting and the script are great, highly recommended!
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Henry Ireton VINE VOICE on 27 April 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This should be in everyone's list of the greatest films ever made. It profiles the slow descent of an alcoholic into an internal hell- it doesn't show the final moments of such a descent but lets us and him see where the story might end. It offers some hope but not much. Its wonderful particularly because of its insight into the psychology of its characters. The main character, Don, knows he is an alcoholic, understands it is a problem but can't get away from the thrill of it, he wants to but can't break out of it. His mornings and Sundays are consumed by guilt, the rest of the time he cadges, steals and begs money for drinks from others. His brother and girlfriend, his barman and a local whore stand by watching his descent into torture, trying to persuade him that there is something worth saving there. You can see especially in his brother and girlfriend's eyes the expression of mingled incomprehension and love that close friends feel for those going through these experiences- incomprehension that somebody like Don with so much to live for could think they have nothing and love for Don. In a strange way by the end of the film, we who begin the film understanding his point of view- the endless quest for a drink- understand theirs too and Wilder takes us to a place that no other film about addiction has ever taken me where we sympathise with the addicted victim and yet still more with those he damages by his addiction. This is a great film- if you haven't seen it watch it now.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By T Everson on 21 Jun. 2012
Format: Blu-ray
'The Lost Weekend' is a film by Billy Wilder, released in 1945, and covers a 4-day period in the life of Don Birnham (played by Ray Milland in a career-best performance). Birnham is an alcoholic, and the film shows how he continues to sink to new lows in ever more desperate attempts to get his hands of a bottle of alcohol. If the film were released today, its subject matter would likely draw no attention. But in 1945, alcoholism (or dipsomania as it was known medically) was considered a disease, not the social condition it is now understood to be. So 'The Lost Weekend' gave cinema audiences their first real sympathetic glimpse at the underlying condition. Much of the film is shocking, and the famous hallucination scene is both masterly directed and acted. Other characters aside from Birnham are made three-dimensional, from his long-suffering girlfriend, Helen, to Bim, the cynical, worldly-wise nurse who deals with alcoholics every day. This is rightly considered one of the finest American films on the 1940s, and it really does deserve all the praise it's received, and continues to receive.

The Blu-ray itself is another product of the Masters of Cinema series' partnership with Universal, and once again this is a fantastic release. The 1080p black-and-white image is very strong, with lots of detail visible in close ups of jackets etc., and there is a fine, though not intrusive, level of film grain noticeable throughout. Damage, apart from some noticeable dirt in the very first scene, is minimal, and overall this is a very strong transfer, with no signs of edge-enhancement or DNR. The mono DTS-HD Master Audio is also clear, and free from any hiss or noise that I could detect. The film is locked to Region B, and there are optional English subtitles on the film.
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