Would-be novelist, Don Birnam (Milland), has had a drinking problem for several years, and though he has just gone ten days without a drink, things are about to take a turn for the worse. His brother Wick and girlfriend Helen (Jane Wyman), both of whom feel like they must police Don's every action, are manipulated into leaving Don alone for a few hours. Since Wick had poured out the contents of the whiskey bottle and since Don has no money, Wick and Helen are sure Don will be fine for the couple hours he is alone.
Don's desperation for a drink, though, is stronger than anything else in his life, and upon discovering the $10 Wick had left for the cleaning woman, he heads out to satisfy his need. Hitting bars and liquor stores, Don downs one drink after another. Eventually, after he runs out of money, he resorts to begging, stealing a woman's purse, and hocking his typewriter in order to get the necessary cash for his next drink. By Don's own admission, he's not a drinker...he's a drunk---and as the truth of that statement plays out, Don may well find his life in jeopardy. (This clip is one of Don's particularly tormenting episodes.)
The Lost Weekend is definitely not a feel-good movie. On the contrary, it's ugly and painful...and extremely difficult to watch. However, since I am one who loves a powerful, hard-hitting story, I think this film is a total masterpiece. Everything about it is absolutely brilliant...Milland's acting, Wilder's direction, the cinematogrpahy, even the haunting, Oscar-nominated score. Combining all those things, and adding in the boldness of such a story in 1945, this film is easily a 5-star film for me. I cannot praise it highly enough. (Movie trailer below)
This film is out on DVD, so it should be quite easy to track down. Also, it is on the TCM schedule for March 30th, so you could catch it then.