Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
August 27
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
Tuesday Weld August 27, 1943
Tuesday Weld born

A child model to support her widowed mother, an alcoholic by age 12, a pre-teen suicide survivor, and a teenage lover of Elvis Presley, actress Tuesday Weld had a backstory more vivid, more tragic, more fantastic than could have been created by any screenwriter’s pen.

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August 27, 1969
Medium Cool opens

"A kind of cinematic Guernica" is how New York Times critic Vincent Canby described Haskell Wexler's Medium Cool, the veteran cinematographer's highly influential blend of documentary, fiction, and agitprop released August 27, 1969.

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27 August 1964
More than a Spoonful of Sugar

The woman that the world would turn to for sweetest and light couldn’t get cast in a film, until she put on the smock and pick up the umbrella of Mary Poppins.

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