The Lost Weekend

Synopsis: Writer Don Birnam (Ray Milland) is on the wagon. Sober for only a few days, Don is supposed to be spending the weekend with his brother, Wick (Phillip Terry), but, eager for a drink, Don convinces his girlfriend (Jane Wyman) to take Wick to a show. Don, meanwhile, heads to his local bar and misses the train out of town. After recounting to the bartender (Howard da Silva) how he developed a drinking problem, Don goes on a weekend-long bender that just might prove to be his last.
Genre: Drama, Film-Noir
Production: Paramount Pictures
  Won 4 Oscars. Another 12 wins & 3 nominations.
 
IMDB:
8.0
Rotten Tomatoes:
100%
NOT RATED
Year:
1945
101 min
960 Views


FADE IN:

A-1 THE MAN-MADE MOUNTAIN PEAKS OF MANHATTAN

on a sunny day in October, 1938. THE CAMERA PANS ACROSS the

distant ridge of midtown buildings, then slowly FINDS A

FOREGROUND:
THE REAR OF A SMALL APARTMENT HOUSE on East 55th

Street.

It is a 4-story affair of brick, housing some eight

apartments, half of them giving on the garden or rather on

the routine back yard with a sumac tree, a stone bench, and

some mouldy flower boxes in which geraniums are dying.

THE MOVING CAMERA CONCENTRATES on the 4th-floor apartment,

which boasts three windows. Two of them give on the living

room, one on the bedroom of the brothers Birnam. THE CAMERA

NARROWS its interest to THE BEDROOM WINDOW.

It is open, like a million other windows in New York that

warm day. What gives it individuality is that from an awning

cleat there dangles down the outside wall something which

very few people hang from their windows: a bottle of whiskey.

Through the window we can see the brothers Birnam packing.

A-2 INT. BEDROOM

It is a smallish room with twin beds in opposite corners,

both of them unmade. There are books on the night tables,

two chests of drawers with some of the drawers open, and the

closet is open too. One door leads to the living room, another

to the cramped entrance hall.

(Maybe this is the time to describe the apartment. You've

seen that living room a hundred times if you know literate,

artistically inclined people. On one wall are bookshelves

surrounding a marble fireplace, on which stands a tiny plaster

bust of Shakespeare. In the shelves, art books and serious

works of fiction: Thomas Mann, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James

Joyce and the like. There are Picasso, Van Gogh and Utrillo

reproductions on the other walls. A comfortable, elderly

armchair stands near one of the windows. There is a studio

couch, a low, tiled table -- oh, you know.

Off the living room is the familiar kitchenette for the light

housekeeping of two bachelors -- i.e. coffee and coffee.

The bathroom, inconveniently enough, is off the entrance

hall. A floor plan, authenticated by the author of the book,

will be furnished on request).

To get back to the bedroom and the Birnam brothers: a small

suitcase lies open on each bed. DON, the brother nearest the

window, is bent over one, putting in socks, shirts, etc. He

is thirty-three, an extremely attractive guy, but ten pounds

underweight, and in his eye there is something rebellious,

something sly.

WICK, two years younger, is much sturdier, kindly,

sympathetic, solid gold. He wears glasses and is smoking a

cigarette. He is on his way from the closet to his suitcase

with some stuff. He throws a sweater across to Don.

WICK:

Better take this along, Don. It's

going to be cold on the farm.

DON:

Okay.

WICK:

How many shirts are you taking?

DON:

Three.

WICK:

I'm taking five.

DON:

Five?

WICK:

I told them at the office I might

not be back till Tuesday. We'll get

there this afternoon. That'll give

us all Friday, Saturday, Sunday,

Monday. We'll make it a long weekend.

DON:

Sounds long, all right.

WICK:

It'll do you good, Don, after what

you've been through.

Don has crossed to the chest of drawers and fished out more

shirts and socks.

WICK:

Trees and grass and sweet cider and

buttermilk and water from that well

that's colder than any other water.

DON:

Wick, please, why this emphasis on

liquids? Noble, upstanding, nauseating

liquids.

WICK:

Sorry, Don.

DON, his back toward Wick, is bent over the suitcase, packing.

His eyes travel to the window.

DON:

Think it would be a good idea if we

took my typewriter?

WICK:

What for?

DON:

(Indignantly)

To write. To write there. I'm going

to get started on my novel.

WICK:

You really feel up to writing?

DON:

Why not?

WICK:

I mean, after what you've been

through.

DON:

I haven't touched the stuff for ten

days now.

WICK:

I know you haven't. Where's the

portable?

DON:

In the living room closet, kind of

towards the back.

Bent forward tensely, he watches Wick go into the living

room. Left alone, he acts with lightning rapidity. He takes

the sweater, goes over to the window, pulls up the whiskey

bottle, wraps the sweater around it so that only the top

with the string around it shows. He tries to loosen the noose

but he's nervous and loses a precious second.

From the living room has been coming the sound of Wick opening

the closet door and ransacking. Now comes:

WICK'S VOICE

You sure it's in the closet? I can't

find it.

DON:

(Working desperately)

Look by the big chair.

WICK'S VOICE

(Approaching fast)

Isn't it under your bed?

Don sees he can't loosen the string in time. In the last

fraction of a second before Wick enters, he manages to lower

the bottle back down the wall. With what nonchalance he can

muster he bends down and looks under the bed just as Wick

enters, a sheaf of white paper in his hand.

DON:

Of course. Here it is.

He pulls out a Remington portable, 1930 model.

WICK:

Here's some paper.

He puts it in Don's suitcase.

WICK:

We'll fix a table on the south porch.

Nobody to disturb you -- I'll see to

it. Except maybe Saturday night we'll

go over to the Country Club.

DON:

I'm not going near that Country Club.

WICK:

Why not?

DON:

Because they're a bunch of hypocrites

and I don't like to be whispered

about:
Look who's here from New York.

The Birnam brothers -- or rather the

nurse and the invalid.

Rate this script:4.0 / 1 vote

Charles Brackett

Charles William Brackett (November 26, 1892 – March 9, 1969) was an American novelist, screenwriter, and film producer, best known for his long collaboration with Billy Wilder. more…

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