Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick are unforgetable-and the title tune wins an Oscar(R) in Blake Edwards' searing, bittersweet study of an alcoholic couple on the rocks. Year: 1962 Director: Blake Edwards Starring: Jack Lemm... more »on, Lee Remick, Charles Bickford« less
DB L. (Virgo1) from FARMERS BRNCH, TX Reviewed on 1/4/2013...
I absolutely LOVE this movie. I saw it at a pretty young age & I empathized with them. My parents were alcoholics. Its a great movie. Great acting.
Hit me again, please. It's magic time ...
Schtinky | California | 04/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Joe Clay (Jack Lemmon) is an up-and-coming Public Relations agent in the era of the three-martini lunch and "drinks with the boys" following the workday. While providing a client with, literally, a boatload of girls, Joe meets receptionist Kirsten Arnesen (Lee Remick), a good girl from a stable country upbringing.
Joe introduces Kirsten to alcohol in the form of a Brandy Alexander, and before long the two fall in love and marry. Joe provides a good living for his wife and new baby daughter, but becomes depressed from the quiet family life and a baby that takes up all of his wife's attention. In a truly gut-wrenching scene, Joe berates and completely degrades Kirsten for not being any fun anymore, throwing a temper tantrum while drunk and demanding that she stop nursing her own baby (mammary envy) because its going to ruin her shape. A very poignant and heart braking scene.
Kirsten is deeply in love with Joe, and concedes to his demands to "loosen up a little and be fun again", which means having a couple of drinks with him. It isn't long before Kirsten is drinking all the time, and very common of women in the early sixties, Kirsten starts smoking (probably to help lose weight, though this isn't mentioned beyond Joe's comment about her shape).
Joe's career slides as his drinking increases, causing him to be late for work and upsetting his clients. His company assigns him to a lower-level client in far away Houston. While Joe tries to do his job there, Kirsten sets their apartment on fire from drinking and smoking. Joe is fired, and not long afterward Joe has an epiphany. He is a bum, and his wife is a bum, and they need to stop drinking.
Kirsten's father takes the struggling couple into his home where he runs a nursery. After a couple of months sober, Joe and Kirsten fall off the wagon together in a riotous binge in their room. A second very poignant incident follows where Joe trashes his father-in-law's nursery looking for the bottle he hid. This scene may seem overdone at first, but just tune into one episode of 'Cops' and you will see how well Jack Lemmon played this scene.
This time, Joe winds out in the hospital going through some overblown withdrawal symptoms, and it is here he meets Jim Hungerford (Jack Klugman) from Alcoholics Anonymous. Once in AA, Joe tries to fight his disease, while Kirsten remains in absolute denial of being an alcoholic. You must remember that this movie was made in 1962, and there was quite a stigma attached to being an alcoholic, the 60's version of a scarlet letter.
There is no happily-ever-after in this movie. Though made in 1962, it is still the best of the 'alcoholic' movies ever made. 'Leaving Las Vegas' certainly portrayed a down-and-out alcoholic, but the character Ben from that modern portrayal wanted to die. 'Days Of Wine And Roses' is the story of two people's struggle against alcoholism, not their submission to it.
There is nothing outdated about this movie except the fashion; times change, behaviors don't. Kirsten's confession that she "just wants things to look prettier than they are" rings so true to addiction in any form or from any era. This movie is about people and the disease, not the time-period, so it stands up to any of the modern day addiction stories.
'Days Of Wine And Roses' is a true classic, a timeless piece that is both sad and entertaining. Take a quick note of the fact that in Joe and Kirsten's first apartment, the bar was right outside the baby's room. I thought that was a bit ironic.
If you love addiction movies, modern pieces like 'Leaving Las Vegas', 'Requiem For A Dream', 'Spun', or 'Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas', you will love 'Days Of Wine And Roses'. Enjoy!
The greenhouse effect
D. Hartley | Seattle, WA USA | 07/02/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The late Jack Lemmon is likely to be remembered by most moviegoers for his memorable comic presence in classics like "Some Like It Hot" and the "Odd Couple", but anyone who ever doubted his capacity for dramatic acting should screen "Days Of Wine And Roses". This shattering 1962 Blake Edwards drama was shockingly realistic for its time (apparently prompting opening-week "walkouts" by many Lemmon fans expecting another "funny" role). The film still packs quite a wallop in its depiction of an alcoholic couple and thier hellish descent. Lee Remick, forever underrated, (undoubtedly due to her luminous beauty) delivers another of her brainy, mature performances. Everyone mentions the "greenhouse scene", but I feel the most intense moment comes in the "padded room" scene, with a sweating, screaming, strait-jacketed Lemmon writhing in "withdrawal". Call it "sense memory", "method" or whatever, but to this day it remains one of the the most "naked" scenes of an actor totally "in the moment" ever captured on film. A great American film, and a classic Henry Mancini score to boot."
Hard lessons, but lessons well learned.
Gary Gardner | Ellsworth, ME United States | 12/14/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Days of Wine and Roses" might be one of the least pleasant movies you will ever watch. But one of the main reasons to watch this wonderful film is the great interaction between Boston natives Jack Lemmon and the late Lee Remick. Lemmon plays busy-body Joe Clay, a very agreeable man who ends acquiring a decidedly UNagreeable habit while pressing flesh with business peers--alcoholism. Joe finds time to court pretty Kirsten (Remick), and she finds herself trying to keep up with Joe and his crazy nightlife. In the span of a couple of months, Kirsten is herself caught in a maze of booze and sleepless nights.Soon, the happy couple are both victimized by their addiction to drink, but are slow to realize it. Slowly, painfully, each scene of their lives is shown to revolve around the bottle; even their time alone is marred by a bottle of champagne. Joe is the first to hit rock bottom. He finds assistance and solace by a member of Alcoholics Anonymous (Jack Klugman). Joe sets his sites on getting his wife free of the disease, but finds it will not be easy. The scenes of Joe going through his final binge are scary indeed. The second half of the film is quite different from the first in mood. It is not pretty to watch such self-destruction, and director Blake Edwards (known for producing much lighter, screwier fare in the late 70's and early 80's) makes his audience feel the pain deeply; he succeeds to the point that we, the audience, can sense some urgency in Edwards' emphasis.There is a tendency for too much preachiness in a story of this magnitude. However, Edwards does a good job in maintaining the plot line, letting IT tell the story. Klugman is a great supporting actor in this film. It's his performance in the second half that gives this film a better than average rating, as the voice of conscience to Joe Clay, setting the stage for the final, inevitable reality."
A message of hope, a warning of doom
C. MacNeil | Fort Wayne, IN USA | 01/09/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This early depiction of alcoholism was also among the first to present its sufferers as real people with souls and some dignity, and it remains a timeless and relevant film. Ingeniously, this film not only is about alcoholism, it is also about recovery, and that both are told earns the film classic status. The film's leads, Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick (sadly, neither of whom is with us anymore), got Best Acting Oscar nominations, Lemmon for his frightening depiction of one man's descent to hell but who, leaning heavily on AA philosophy, earns his recovery. As Lemmon's screen wife, Remick is her husband's antithesis, and her final scene leaves us with no hope for her character. Though firmly on the path toward sobriety, Lemmon's character nonetheless injects the warning that even the rosebed of recovery has its thorns. Just as the film's subject remains pertinent, so does Henry Mancini's haunting musicial score. A spate of drug and recovery films have come out through the years since "Days of Wine and Roses," but none have equalled the film's painful honesty and realistic depiction of addiction and recovery."