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).


MIDNIGHT
1939, Universal, 94 min, USA, Dir: Mitchell Leisen

A showgirl (Claudette Colbert) impersonating a Baroness, a lovestruck taxi driver (Don Ameche) and a cuckolded millionaire (John Barrymore) are just a few of the ingredients in this frothy concoction penned by Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder and directed with breathless elan by Mitchell Leisen. Costarring Mary Astor, Francis Lederer and gossip queen Hedda Hopper, this delirious riff on the Cinderella story ranks among the greatest of all screwball comedies.


BLUEBEARD’S EIGHTH WIFE
1938, Universal, 85 min, USA, Dir: Ernst Lubitsch

Gary Cooper plays multimillionaire Michael Brandon, who changes wives as if they were underwear (or, in this case, pajama tops) until he marries the daughter (Claudette Colbert) of an impoverished marquis. As lucrative as divorce would be, the young woman is determined to be the final Mrs. Brandon. Director Ernst Lubitsch’s first pairing with the Charles Brackett-Billy Wilder writing team was a match made in heaven.


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