Every time he opens his eyes as big as saucers in 1945’s The Lost Weekend, Ray Milland performs in a mannered fashion, but it doesn’t prevent the film from being formidable. It is a fine, non-signature Billy Wilder piece in which Milland plays a Renaissance man, a literate writer, who is relentlessly self-defeating because of alcoholism. Don (Milland) is irascible and not really a charming drinker since it is always obvious he loves the bottle obsessively.
The ending is strictly Old Hollywood—Don should love Helen (Jane Wyman) enough to put his cigarette out in his glass of liquor, but would he?—but the movie survives it. Wyatt, incidentally, is splendidly engaging.