An unofficial sequel to The Lost Weekend, George Stevens’ 1952 film Something to Live For stars Ray Milland as an alcoholic ad man in New York City trying his best to live a life of sobriety. Alan Miller’s life was nearly ruined by the bottle. Sober for fourteen months, Alan is a dedicated member of Alcoholics Anonymous, on call for others in crisis. Alan receives one such call at the beginning of the film, when a hotel elevator operator (Harry Bellaver) brings him to the room of a frequent guest. Alan is surprised to find that his contact is a woman. Actress Jenny Carey (Joan Fontaine) uses booze to combat severe stage fright and loneliness. A recent breakup with her married mentor (Richard Derr) has shattered Jenny’s self-confidence. Alan stays with her until she cleans up.
Alan and Jenny form a friendship that threatens to turn into romance. Eventually, Alan reveals that he is married to Edna (Theresa Wright), a loving and considerate woman and they share two young sons. Nonetheless, Alan seems to need Jenny’s support as much as she needs his. Dealing with insecurity, Alan is having difficulty staying motivated at work. Making things worse, a young ad writer Baker (Douglas Dick) is gunning for his job. Though a romance could destroy the Miller marriage, Alan is inspired by Jenny and wants to protect her, particularly from her one-time mentor, a real slime.
While Ray Milland and Joan Fontaine give admirable performances, the script suffers because the main characters are to sensible for people in the throws of addiction. Screenwriter Dwight Taylor seems to suggest that Alan and Jenny’s love for one another is born out of their addictive personalities. Despite that, Alan and Jenny always make the right choices, never allowing their relationship to go beyond quiet conversation. That said, the final scene is surprisingly effective. Whatever the screenplays other flaws, Dwight Taylor wraps things up nicely with just a few lines and a glance.
Presented in the 1.37:1 aspect ratio, this new 2K scan looks noticeably cleaner than any other previous DVD release. The black and white source looks very good for its era. I noticed only one or two scratches throughout. While blacks aren’t necessarily inky, they never look washed out. Whites look appropriate. An even layer of grain gives things a filmic appearance. Viewers should be very pleased with this transfer.
The LPCM 2.0 mono track is solid, given its 1952 origins. Free of any pops or other audio flaws, dialogue is clean, clear and concise throughout.
English Subtitles are included.
The following special features are available:
- NEW! Audio Commentary with Film Historians Daniel Kremer & David Del Valle
- NEW! Neil Sinyard on Something To Live For – interview with author of George Stevens: The Films of a Hollywood Giant
- Limited Edition slipcase on the first 1500 copies with unique artwork
Something To Live For is available to purchase on the via vision/imprint website and elsewhere