Last year, between the two of us, we watched an average of 317 movies.
This year our goal is to top that by watching at least one a day.
And as an extra special torture, we've decided to write about all of them.

21 September 2008

Days of Wine and Roses

Director: Blake Edwards
Writer: JP Miller
Released: 1962
Cast: Jack Lemmon, Lee Remick, Charles Bickford, Jack Klugman

NIKKI says:
You know, the humour wasn't lost on me that I watched this movie with a hangover. In the beginning, too, I understood the lure of alcohol for these people; the use of it as a means of escape, of obtaining highs, of freeing oneself of inhibitions and fears. Life looks more fun when all of those things come together. And bourbon just tastes so good.

But like all seedy relationships, all is not what it seems. There is a downside. And this movie is about that downside. So much so that it's somewhat of an advertisement for Alcoholics Anonymous, and an absolute smear campaign against alcohol in general. When the film shifts from a story about two people losing control to this other thing involving long monologues about the dangers of alcohol and what it can do to people it loses much of its appeal. Perhaps it's the era, but subtle this film is not.

It's a pity, too, because everything else is right where it needs to be. The acting is especially brilliant. Jack Lemmon just mesmerises me. I don't know how he does it. The transitions here from happy-go-lucky workman to violent drunk to crazed DT-sufferer to sober father are really something to see. He is a fascinating performer. His energy kept me going through the preachier parts of the movie.

I was disappointed in the end, leaving Lee Remick with the scarlet letter firmly stuck to her of woman to drag Jack down. Is the film about the dangers of alcohol, or women? There's even a point in this film where a link is made between women and addictive personalities, and that spun me out a bit. The movie goes all PC, and then just pulls right back and goes, nope, Lee Remick can stay on the downward path -- dirty femme-ale. Well...

So, I'm glad I watched it. It's truly one of the best acted films I've seen. But, really, it's far too preachy and simplistic to really feel like a true comment on alcoholism. The Lost Weekend is the movie for that.


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