Tim Purtell
January 16, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

How was it seeing ”Days of Wine and Roses” [unrated, 117 mins., 1962, Warner] for the first time since directing it?

I was moved on a number of levels. It really resurrected Lee [Remick] and Jack [Lemmon], and I was very emotional.

The biggest challenge for Lemmon and Remick?

It was hard for them to act drunk while sober, to not overdo it.

Remick’s sloppy drunk motel scene?

It just wasn’t happening, so we went to my dressing room, and I hypnotized her. I know that sounds like a joke, but I had been fooling around with hypnotism to stop smoking. Then she did the scene and it was really remarkable.

The bleak ending?

”It’s got to have a happy ending,” [studio head] Jack Warner said when we ran the film for him. ”You can’t have Lee not recover.” But he had shown up with an attractive, middle-aged lady who blasted him: ”That’s real. What you’re suggesting isn’t.” And he grudgingly gave in to her. I discovered later that she had been a notorious hooker. We owe the ending of the film, bless her everlasting good heart, to a former hooker.

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