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Review: Billy Wilder's "The Lost Weekend" (1945) Starring Ray Milland; Blu-ray Special Edition

Review: Billy Wilder's

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“The DTs In High Definition”

By Raymond Benson

In 1945, Billy Wilder’s The Lost Weekend was a big deal. If it wasn’t the first Hollywood movie to portray alcoholism as a serious problem, then it was certainly the most visible and influential one.

In the latter 1940s, Hollywood’s output changed from the sunshine-feel good-entertainments that the Golden Age had produced in the 30s and early 40s. American GIs came home from the war, and many were disillusioned and cynical. The war was the catalyst for Americans to “grow up.” They were ready to accept more serious, darker fare. Thus, we got film noir—crime pictures that were full of angst and betrayals—and we got the “social problem film.” The latter tackled subjects that Hollywood had previously never touched—alcoholism, racism, anti-Semitism, government corruption, and drug abuse. Titles like Gentleman’s Agreement,

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