The Days of Wine and Roses is the story of two adults who meet and marry. They live a kind of 1950's dream life with, at first blush, a harmless annoyance: he liked to drink but she has been brought up a teetotaler. She does like chocolate so he convinces her to drink Brandy Alexanders (cognac, crème de cacao, and cream). Both end up having addictive personalities and cannot stop drinking. Soon, he loses his job as a PR person and they begin a slow and painful descent into alcoholic hell with stops on the way for alienating friends and family, attempting to reform and arguing over who is to blame for what has happened.
The Days of Wine and Roses began as a TV drama on the legendary Playhouse 90. Written by J.P. Miller, directed by John Frankenheimer and starring Cliff Robertson and Piper Laurie, the live TV version is available on YouTube.
For the movie, Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick were brought as was director Blake Edwards. Only Charles Bickford as her father was hired from the TV version.
In 1962 when the movie was released, alcoholism was rarely portrayed on the screen. Most famously, there was The Lost Weekend which was a Best Picture winner in 1945, also winning Best Director for Billy Wilder and Best Screenplay for Wilder and Charles Brackett. But that movie depicts an alcoholic falling off the wagon while Days shows us a couple who become alcoholics almost as part of their courtship and then marriage.
This movie is a serious but entertaining look at real people with real problems in a real world. The fact that Lemmon and Remick, two of the most likeable and talented actors of their time, are the couple who live out this nightmare make the movie all the more heartbreaking.
Take a look and see what movies can be.