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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Days Of Wine And Roses (1958)

A public relations executive (Cliff Robertson) and a secretary (Piper Laurie) meet at a rooftop office party. They are immediately attracted to each other but their avid social drinking will soon escalate into full tilt alcoholism which will take them through a Hellish journey and from which only one will survive. Most everyone has seen or is at least aware of the 1962 Blake Edwards film version but not many have seen the original 1958 production which is a pity. A pity because it's superior to the 1962 film (which isn't bad at all) in most ways. Fifty-five years later, it still packs a wallop! The sheer jumping out of their skin desperation of Robertson and Laurie as they panic for another drink in a grungy flat is palpable and heartbreaking even as you're repulsed. Robertson is wonderful here but it's Piper Laurie who's the revelation and one can't help but wonder what Universal was thinking when it wasted her in minor westerns and Arabian nights adventure flicks. The direction by John Frankenheimer is strong and one can see why the movies quickly snapped him up. With Charles Bickford who would go on to play the same role in the 1962 film, Malcolm Atterbury and Marc Lawrence.

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