Sunday, June 13, 2010


“It was after this picture that people started taking me seriously.” – Billy Wilder

If you are hooked to liquor or smoking or any other form of addiction, than this is absolutely the film for you. Grim degradation of alcoholism is never so absorbing and painful to watch as Wilder’s this classic. Evan after sixty years of its making it still seems fresh and original in its execution.

In the opening shot of this classic we witness the desperation of booze addicted protagonist. Don Birnam is a self proclaimed Hemingway but a failed writer and loser turned into a pathetic hopeless alcoholic. ‘I am not a drinker…I am drunk’, he said to his beloved. His caring brother and a lover failed in their all trials and testimony to abstain him from liquor. Billy Wilder showed us the personal world of compulsive alcoholic with great detailing and Ray Milland enacted his part so subjectively and meticulously that we feel the drama from his point of view. He steals, cheats, lies, exploits, ignores and even begs anything and anyone for the sack of his bottle. Undoubtedly his most intense act of lifetime winning him Oscar. Wilder and Milland showed us successfully an inanimate antagonist in the form of liquor. As unconditional and supportive lover Jane Wyman is like a sweet angel for the lost man.

Watch the shadow of bottle hidden on chandelier or the climax where the hidden gun in washbasin reflecting in the mirror. B&W camerawork rightly creates the mood of tragedy and also juxtaposed both neorealist and noirish frames. Its one of the most intense and powerful tragedy by Wilder like his later classic ‘Sunset Boulevard’ but it didn’t end as poignantly quite surprisingly. The film not only bagged four significant trophies only at Oscar including best film, best director and best actor but also won Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

Must watch for any classic lover.

Ratings- 10/10

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