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Some Like It WilderThe Life and Controversial Films of Billy Wilder$
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Gene D. Phillips

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780813125701

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813125701.001.0001

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Through a Glass Darkly

Through a Glass Darkly

The Lost Weekend and Die Todesmühlen

(p.71) 5 Through a Glass Darkly
Some Like It Wilder


University Press of Kentucky

Billy Wilder was convinced that Charles Jackson's novel The Lost Weekend would make an engrossing movie. Wilder phoned Paramount executive Buddy De Sylva and requested that the studio purchase the screen rights to the book. De Sylva put down fifty thousand dollars for The Lost Weekend. After the conference, Wilder commented to a journalist that The Lost Weekend was not going to be the ordinary Hollywood fare. It would be the first mainstream film to take alcoholism seriously. The Lost Weekend was to some degree influenced by the years that Wilder spent in Berlin during the heyday of the expressionist movement, which made a significant impact on German cinema. It is also an intense and intricate story of spiritual meltdown, told with invisible dexterity and emotional acuity. In addition, one of Wilder's chores was to collaborate on a documentary about the concentration camps, to be titled Die Todesmühlen (Death Mills).

Keywords:   The Lost Weekend, Die Todesmühlen, Billy Wilder, Charles Jackson, Buddy De Sylva, Paramount, alcoholism

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