THE LOST WEEKEND
1945, Universal, 101 min, USA, Dir: Billy Wilder

Director Billy Wilder’s experiences working with Raymond Chandler on DOUBLE INDEMNITY reportedly drew him to this hard-hitting portrait of an alcoholic on a downward spiral. Ray Milland stars as New York writer Don Birnam, whose battle with the bottle takes him from bars to pawnshops to a psychiatric ward as he hits rock bottom. Co-starring Jane Wyman and Howard Da Silva, the film won Oscars for Best Picture, Director, Actor and Adapted Screenplay (by Wilder and producer Charles Brackett).


THE BREAKING POINT
1950, Warner Bros., 97 min, USA, Dir: Michael Curtiz

The finest film version of Hemingway’s novel To Have and Have Not (and yes, that includes the Bogart-Hawks classic) shifts the story from Cuba to Newport Beach, California, but retains the novel’s core of noir-stained tragedy. As Skipper Harry Morgan, John Garfield essays his finest screen portrayal of a man whose domestic travails and mid-life crisis results in crime, flight and death. Garfield’s turn is perfectly matched by Patricia Neal, as a predatory femme fatale, and Phyllis Thaxter as his beaten-down but unswervingly loyal spouse. With Wallace Ford as a bottom-feeding attorney and the great Afro-Cuban actor Juano Hernandez.


CROSSFIRE
1947, Warner Bros., 86 min, USA, Dir: Edward Dmytryk

Robert Mitchum, Robert Young and Robert Ryan lead the cast in this noir-tinged drama, among the first Hollywood films to confront anti-Semitism. When a Jewish man is murdered, a homicide detective (Young) focuses on a group of former soldiers, while an Army sergeant (Mitchum) conducts a parallel investigation to clear his friend of the crime. Costarring Gloria Grahame, CROSSFIRE earned Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Director.


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