Filmsite Movie Review
Days of Wine and Roses (1962)
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Background

Days of Wine and Roses (1962) is the intense dramatic portrayal of an alcoholic, co-dependent couple. The film's poster describes its intriguing premise: "It is Different. It is Daring. Most of All, in Its Own Terrifying Way, It is a Love Story."

The Story

At an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, advertising executive Joe Clay (Jack Lemmon), in flashback, tells the story of his deteriorating life. Joe is a former social drinker who turns alcoholic due to pressures at work. He meets his future wife Kirsten Arnesen (Lee Remick) at a party, and they both become full-blown alcoholics.

He forces her to take a good, harsh look in the mirror: "I walked by the Union Square Bar. I was going to go in. Then I saw myself - my reflection in the window - and I thought, 'I wonder who that bum is.' And then I saw it was me. Now look at me. I'm a bum. Look at me. Look at you. You're a bum. Look at you. And look at us. Look at us. C'mon, look at us. See? A couple of bums."

The film is known for its memorable portrayal of a ravaged boozer, especially in these two scenes:

- Joe's crazy and frenzied smash up of the contents of the greenhouse.

- his terrifyingly brutal and realistic collapse in a violent hospital ward.