Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
September 21
November 16, 1945
The Lost Weekend Premieres in NYC

On the train ride from Los Angeles to New York City, Billy Wilder picked up four novels, with Charles Jackson’s harrowing tale of alcoholic writer The Lost Weekend being one them. As soon as Wilder’s train pulled in Manhattan’s Grand Central Station, he called his old writing partner Charles Brackett back in LA to get him on board with the film. But why such a downbeat tale? Some suggest his recent experience with Raymond Chandler’s alcoholic behavior while co-writing Double Indemnity propelled Wilder's desire to understand the disease. In the novel, the main character drank over guilt of a homosexual affair, but in the film Wilder changed that to writer's block. Wilder convinced Paramount to greenlight the project, but the production faced challenges at every stage. Ray Milland was wary of starring as a drunk. Studios execs were nervous about the downbeat tale. Even the liquor industry, according to Wilder, want to quash the project, supposedly offering Paramount $5 million to sell them the negative. When it first showed, the audience reaction was so bad that Paramount almost buried it. But when the film finally was released, it was greeted with much critical acclaim. The film was nominated for seven oscars, winning four: Best Actor (Ray Milland), Best Director (Billy Wilder), Best Screenplay (Wilder and Charles Brackett) and Best Picture. Miklós Rózsa was nominated for Best Music for his innovative score that included the first use of theremin in a film.


More Flashbacks
Bill Murray September 21, 1950
Bill Murray born

Edgy without being mean-spirited or snarky, emotional without tipping into the sentimental, and crazily offbeat while not being alienating or obscure, Bill Murray fashioned a unique comic persona early in his career and has only deepened and expanded it as the years have gone by.

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Sep. 21, 1957
Ethan Coen Born (alone)

While it is hard to separate either Ethan and Joel Coen from the team title “the Coen Brothers,” they are, of  course, different people.

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Sept 21, 1957
O Brother, Where Art Thou

Even as the younger Coen Brother, Ethan has been essential to this filmmaking duo.

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