Lost Weekend/Rozsa Part 2

May 4, 2006

I had the class tonight and we had a nice lively discussion of the movie, book, and score!  David, from MMM was nice enough to send me a copy of the original acetates from the OST.  From what I understand this was all that was left of them but what a joy to listen to them.  So much better than the now tepid recording from Sedares and the New Zealand.  We discussed how the original music that was spotted to the film was Gershwin=New York and all wrong.  People in Santa Barbara where they gave the test screening at laughed!  Rozsa of course fixed all of that and more.  Of course everyone laughed at the quote of Miklos when talking about the theremin and Hitchcock not knowing if it was something you ate or took for a headache.

Some of the more interesting little bits of information were Doris Dowling the bar girl was involved with Wilder at the time and ended up becoming Artie Shaw's 7th wife.  Paramount paid Jackson the author 50,000 for the rights which was a lot of money in 1945.  While billed as a novel it was an autobiography in reality.  Jackson, who had TB, ended up going to Switzerland for treatment of sorts and ended up becoming an alcoholic, drinking heavily for 7 years.  We discussed the symbolism of the DT scene with the mouse and the bat.  The mouse, as explained by Jackson, was the everyday Don Birnham, with the bat (mouse with wings) the artistic side of Don.  We of course had a lot of talk about the hopeless ending in the book as opposed to the ray of hope given in the film touching upon the symbolism of the cigarette being put out in the liquor glass.  For those who have not seen or read the book before, both are a must.  As far as alcoholic films are concerned it is by far the finest, although the sometimes writer, sometimes reviewer, didn't agree.  He basically did not like the film adaption from the book and did not approve of the spotting of the music in more than one place.  Milland lost 8 pounds to give the look of a man who hasn't eaten by surviving on plain toast, coffee, grapefruit juice, and boiled eggs.  Jose Ferrer was the first choice to do the role but was passed over as the studio heads felt Milland was a better choice.  The four Oscars proved it to be the film of 1945 over such other films as Mildred Pierce, The Bells of St. Mary, Anchors Aweigh, National Velvet, and Spellbound.  The day after the Academy Awards Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder came to work on the set to find bottles hanging from the window!  This has to be one of the top 100 films of all time.

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