Don Birnam long-time alcoholic has been ""on the wagon"" for ten days and seems to be over the worst; but his craving has just become more insidious. Evading a country weekend planned by his brother Wick and girlfriend Helen he begins a four-day bender. In flashbacks we see past events all gone wrong because of the bottle. But this bout looks like being his last...one way or the other. Winner of 4 Oscars including Best Actor Best Screenplay Best Director and Best Film.
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Ray Milland stars as alcoholic writer Don Birnam in Billy Wilder's first unabashedly dramatic film, and one of the first to deal in such painstaking detail with the disease of alcoholism. Don shares an apartment in New York City in the 1940s with his brother Wick (Phillip Terry) who has his hands full trying to deal with his brother's drinking problem. One night, Don encourages his brother to take his girlfriend Helen St. James (Jane Wyman) to hear some music only so that he can be out from under their watchful eyes. Taking the money left for the maid, he goes out to buy some liquor, stashing one bottle in the chandelier. When he goes to the bar the next day, Nat (Howard Da Silva), the owner berates him for treating his girlfriend badly and warns him that he's on a path toward death. Don returns to the apartment to try to work on his novel 'The Bottle' but consumed by self-doubt, goes to another bar, and steals a woman's purse to buy a drink. As the weekend wears on, his spiral downward continues apace. Although dated in some respects, the film's unadorned portrait of the relentless torture that is alcoholism still packs a powerful punch thanks to Wilder's sharp script, the deep-focus camerawork of John Seitz, and a career performance by Ray Milland.
Billy Wilder's classic drama starring Ray Milland as a writer and alcoholic who encourages his brother to embark on a drinking session with him around New York. Don Birnam (Milland)'s struggles with alcohol have become clear to those close to him. However, having satisfied himself that Don hasn't had a drink for ten days, his brother, Wick (Philip Terry), agrees to escort Don's girlfriend Helen (Jane Wynam) to a show while the writer prepares himself for their planned trip to the country. Instead, Don uses the absence of the pair to search his apartment for the booze Wick has hidden and sets off for the city's watering holes when he fails to locate it. Over the days that follow, Helen and the increasingly exasperated Wick attempt to track down the absent Don, but can anyone help the wayward writer get back on the wagon?