Academy Award-nominated masterpiece of vintage film scoring makes world premiere release!

In the 1945 Paramount film THE LOST WEEKEND, composer Miklos Rózsa continued to build on what would become his famous film noir style — and he had just introduced it in Double Indemnity the previous year.  Throughout the remainder of the decade it would become a signature style both for him and the genre in general.  It was a style steeped in dissonance, yearning and dark orchestral colors.  For Weekend,  Rózsa’s melodies, harmonies, rhythms and orchestration suffuse the film with qualities of restlessness, yearning and struggle. Without this score, the film would have struggled to portray the seriousness of alcoholism and its destructive wake.  The main theme is a piercing siren call, often reinforced by the eerie, wailing timbre of the Theremin, representing main character Don Birnam’s overpowering addiction to alcohol. Another theme represents the faithful, loving and stabilizing presence of Helen as she struggles to hold onto and help Don. These are just examples of artistry found in this Oscar-nominated score.

Paramount transferred The Lost Weekend’s original optical music tracks to 35-millimeter magnetic tape long ago. However, it was only recently that archivists located these master tapes. Almost everything had been preserved, but age had taken its toll, and four cues were missing altogether.  Nonetheless, this classic score is now represented for the first time as definitively as possible.

The film portrays a first in film — a stark view into the downward spiral of alcoholism and a front row seat to the impact of hitting bottom. The film was nominated for seven Oscars, and took home four:  Best Picture, Best Actor for Ray Milland, Best Director and Best Screenplay.

Recently located 35mm magnetic transfers by Paramount Pictures of nearly every cue scored for 1945 “Best Picture” Oscar winner The Lost Weekend are made available for the first time ever, including never-before-heard alternates, revisions. Nealy 70 minutes of landmark score showcase Miklos Rozsa at his finest! Ray Milland (also an Academy Award-winner) plays alcoholic writer Don Birnam, Billy Wilder (yet another Oscar winner) directs, Charles Brackett & Wilder provide powerhouse screenplay (still another Academy Award), drawn from Charles Jackson’s bestseller. All involved deliver an unflinching, harrowing tale to audiences then unaccustomed to such stark realism on screen. Hollywood history was made.

Rozsa writes three major themes plus several smaller ideas, all with unique colors drawing on important moods of film. While tonal optimism does have its say, ambiguous harmonies of suspense, agitated motifs of nervous fear, sharply angled lines and intense chords for horror get majority of the spotlight. In what remain film scoring highlights for all time are two incredibly vivid musical portraits of alcoholic horror: first is famous “Walk” on Third Avenue with Birnam desperately attempting to sell his typewriter to afford another drinking binge. Second is “Nightmare” scene with Birnam confined in alcoholism ward. Here (in what ranks with Bernard Herrmann’s legendary murder music for Psycho) Rozsa creates one of the most terrifying film cues ever: Birnam helplessly watches as mouse (portrayed by violin squeaks, woodwind chirps) is violently attacked by bat (menacing strings, slashing brass) and slain in horrific manner.

An indelible film image made all the more unforgettable courtesy Miklos Rozsa. During the 1940’s era, Rozsa was creating one magnificent “film noir” score after another. As with Double Indemnity, jagged melodic lines and dissonant harmonies for Lost Weekend abound, as with his Oscar-winning Spellbound, signature theremin colors have prominence. While suites and excerpts have been re-recorded by different artists over the years (including one with a synthesized theremin), this new Intrada CD is the first official release of the actual soundtrack recorded at Paramount’s scoring stage in April & May 1945 under staff conductor Irvin Talbot. Exciting project supervised by Lukas Kendall, dramatic packaging designed by Joe Sikoryak with original 1945 campaign artwork courtesy Universal Pictures, authoritative notes from Rozsa scholar Frank DeWald. Watch for more vintage soundtracks from Paramount and other studios coming up ahead as new preservation efforts are underway!

Golden Age soundtracks finally getting their premieres on CD at last! Miklos Rozsa composes, Irvin Talbot conducts.

Label: Intrada Special Collection Volume ISC 321
Date: 1945
Time: 68:26
Tracks: 22

01. Prelude (alternate)/New York Skyline (2:14)
02. Don Stays Home/The Weekend Begins (3:47)
03. Rye and William Shakespeare (1:25)
04. Broken Date and Hidden Bottle (3:45)
05. Phone Call (new version) (2:04)
06. Frustration (4:32)
07. The Novel (3:23)
08. Bottle Is Discovered (1:50)
09. Morning and Telephone (2:06)
10. The Walk (new version) (4:20)
11. Gloria and Fall (3:05)
12. The Alcoholic Ward/Night Alcoholic Ward/The Elevated (4:53)
13. Dawn/Nightmare (7:19)
14. The Rainy Day (2:04)
15. Suicide Attempt (5:22)
16. Long Finale (2:39)
Total Score Time: 55:23The Extras
17. Prelude/Meet the People (1:51)
18. Rye and William Shakespeare (short version) (1:16)
19. Phone Call (original version) (1:52)
20. The Walk (original version) (4:34)
21. Alternate Finale/Cast of Characters (2:26)
22. Wild Theremin (0:45)
Total Extras Time: 12:56