Days of Wine and Roses (1962)

“You remember how it really was? You and me and booze—a threesome. You and I were a couple of drunks on the sea of booze, and the boat sank. I got hold of something that kept me from going under, and I’m not going to let go of it. Not for you. Not for anyone. If you want to grab on, grab on. But there’s just room for you and me—no threesome.” Ever wonder what it was like to be a total drunk and still try to hold down a cozy white-collar job during the early 1960s? Jack Lemmon portrays “Joe Clay,” an office worker and budding alcoholic. Think of The Apartment without the comedy and you have this award-winning drama about a total boozer who also gets his wife hooked on the sauce. There’s even a scene where Lemmon destroys a greenhouse as he frantically searches for a misplaced bottle. He ends up as a raving lunatic in a straitjacket, by the way—a scene that makes watching this thing worthwhile right there! And Lee Remick is also topnotch as Lemmon’s frazzled wife, “Kirsten,” who sips whisky and watches cartoons all day. Jack Klugman is “Jim Hungerford,” Joe’s AA sponsor. Believe it or not, Blake Edwards (The Pink Panther) directed this movie, which ranks right up there with The Lost Weekend in the “fucked-up, now I’m sober” genre! According to the tagline, “This, in its own terrifying way, is a love story.” The film captured an Oscar for “Best Original Song” and was nominated for “Best Actor” (Lemmon), “Best Actress” (Remick), “Best Art Direction” and “Best Costume Design.” So the next time you want a shot of black-and-white reality, sit back and take in one of the best films about alcoholism to ever hit Hollywood. The film’s title comes from Ernest Dowson’s 1896 poem “Vitae Summa Brevis Spem Nos Vetat Incohare Longam”: “They are not long, the days of wine and roses/Out of a misty dream/Our path emerges for a while, then closes/Within a dream.”

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