Never Say Goodbye (1946)
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And FORREST TUCKER as a big Marine lug who thinks ELEANOR PARKER has written him letters during his war service, is another big surprise. His handling of the lovable Marine is downright enjoyable without an excessive amount of mugging. He ambles through the part with authority and the sort of restraint that makes the part just believable enough.
Otherwise, the script is on the uninspired side--with little Patty Brady as a girl who wants her parents (Flynn and his ex-wife Eleanor Parker) to reunite. Naturally all of her plans make for the mishaps and misunderstandings until all ends well.
On the down side, there are a few unfunny scenes during a restaurant rendezvous, but the best part of the film is ahead once Forrest Tucker shows up. From then on, it takes on a breezier style.
Donald Woods has his usual thankless role as the suitor Eleanor is thinking of as marriage material and Lucille Watson does a nice turn as her mother who disapproves of her ex-son-in-law.
Nothing special but it passes the time pleasantly and shows Flynn did have a gift for comedy. His Bogart act is priceless.
This is a rather silly script that is helped immensely by a fine supporting cast, the incredible charm of Errol Flynn and the loveliness - and gorgeous gowns -- of Eleanor Parker. She is stunning in this movie, and, as a fan of hers, why her star didn't burn brighter in Hollywood is beyond me. Flynn was wonderful in light comedy, and many people believe it was the right niche for him. The problem is, other actors did comedy as well or better, and Flynn's swashbuckling/adventure work is exceptional. However, it's always fun to see him in something different. His Bogart imitation is suspiciously good; that's because Bogart dubbed the voice. In "Never Say Goodbye," he is just beginning to show a little dissipation around the edges; the major part of his career would be over four years later. It was too short a run.
As others have mentioned, the best part of the film occurs with the appearance of Forrest Tucker, so young he's practically unrecognizable. In fact, he's 27! Worth seeing for the cast.
flynn's comedic timing and wit are displayed to full effect here, watch his double takes, his ability to verbally counter punch with a snappy comeback or act the straight man, and his total believability and sincerity where required, this guy could act! it is a shame errol did not get a chance to do more roles like this throughout his career, he was multi-talented to the extreme. if you enjoyed "it happened one night" with gable and colbert or some of the william powell and myrna loy comedies you will enjoy this.
well paced and lots of laughs. a lost diamond of a movie.
Errol's a little less than heroic here, just your average divorced father who happens to be a commercial artist. He and Eleanor Parker have been divorced a couple of years now, but daughter Patti Brady so wants them back together again, especially as a Christmas wish.
Errol's willing enough, but he's got some stiff competition in the persons of Donald Woods who is courting Parker and Marine Forrest Tucker who Brady's been writing to. On the imbecilic instructions of her dear old dad who knows what Marines like, she sends a picture of Mommy in a bathing suit. Of course that piques Tucker's interest quite a bit. Errol himself has model Peggy Knudsen interested in him, but she's not going to wait around forever.
Add to this scene stealing veterans like Lucille Watson as Parker's mother and restaurateur S.Z. Sakall and you've got the makings of a nice family type picture, the kind that Errol Flynn so rarely made in his career. Flynn does fine in the part, but for comedy he's far better in Footsteps In The Dark as the millionaire/mystery writer. Flynn's first effort at comedy was The Perfect Specimen done early in his career with Joan Blondell. I've not seen that one, I do so wish TCM would run it.
Never Say Goodbye neither changed Flynn's image with the movie-going public nor did it chart any new directions for him. But it's a pleasant enough comedy diversion. Note that 'imitation' of another Warner Brothers star towards the end.
Twice, Flynn dons disguises to try to scare away or outmaneuver romantic rivals for Parker. In the first case, he sneaks into Parker's mansion and dons a Santa outfit, as does his romantic rival in another part of the mansion. At one point, to avoid detection by his rival, he engages in mirror mimicry. That is, he mimics exactly the actions of his nemesis, as if the latter is looking in a mirror. I'm sure this has also been done by some other well-known physical comedians, including Bob Hope in 'The Princess and the Pirate'. Later, he made up a burlesqued version of Bogart's face at his most sinister, along with a tough gangster lingo, to try to scare away Parker's young marine romantic threat. It didn't work. Nonethless the film ends on a feel good note. One must assume that this ending either represented yet another short-lived reconciliation or that Parker's character decided that she would have to learn to tolerate Flynn's philandering ways, as preferable to their present arrangement with a chronically complaining daughter.
S.Z Sakall plays his usual role as an elderly overseeing father, uncle or confidant, with a very thick European accent. Here, he is a restaurateur where Flynn frequents with his blond model and presumed lover. Unfortunately, his various attempts to diffuse an embarrassing situation for Flynn all end in disaster. Sakall, a native Hungarian, was already an accomplished European actor before fleeing an impending Nazified Europe. He was most often included in various musical romances of the '40s and early '50s, after a supporting role in 'Casablanca'
The film begins with a lengthy exchange between Flynn and his daughter, played by a lispy Patti Brady. Some may find there conversations very cute and endearing, though others may find them a bit hard to take since these moments are so gosh-darn sweet! In a way, it was some amazing acting by Flynn because it's hard to imagine him in real life having kids or acting domestic especially that he wanted to be faithful to one woman in this film--now THAT'S ACTING!! NEVER SAY GOODBYE concerns the divorced couple, Flynn and Parker, and their mutual desire to remarry. Since they both love each other as well as their lispy kid, it seems like a foregone conclusion that they will once again tie the knot. However, there are some serious problems standing in their way: Lucille Watson (who plays her usual over-bearing and controlling mother-in-law character), Flynn's girlfriend (after all, he is Errol Flynn and he is divorced, so you gotta expect him to have a girl SOMEWHERE) and a marine (played by Forrest Tucker).
Not unexpectedly, all this does get worked out by the end and everyone lives happily ever after. However, despite it being formulaic and predictable, the film is a winner because it is so much fun to watch. Flynn, despite his reputation as an action-adventure hero, is very good with comedy-romance and it's just a lot of fun to watch him. Also, the film has the ever-scene chewing Cuddles Sakall--he's just so gosh-darn cute and sweet that he is perfect in this type of film. And, despite the sweetness, the film is pretty well-written. The bottom line is the film is FUN.
So my recommendation is that you DO watch this film and force yourself not to retch at the sickeningly sweet aspects of the film. Once you've gotten over this, the rest of the film is a picture that is well worth your time.
Sure, it's not an award contender and it's not even among Flynn or Parker's best performances, but I love this film. It's fluffy, it's sappy, but whatever. I enjoy it. Flynn sings in the film. He dresses like Santa. He participates in a parody of the mirror scene in Duck Soup. He does a hilarious Bogart impression (which Bogart's real voice dubbed in). Parker is gorgeous. Flynn is gorgeous. Flip is funny. SZ Sakall is funny. Hattie McDaniel is funny. It's just a great feel good minor classic Christmas film. I'd recommend it.
She is so much more natural and delightful than her predecessor Shirley Temple, I don't understand why she didn't continue on for more than a few years. I went and looked up the time frame to see if Shirley could have been copying her, but no, I guess it was the other way around.
This girl went beyond the normal child stereotypes and would have been an improvement in many other Christmas & family & WW II movies (tied in by young giant, Tucker's Marine character, 'Wickie'). I can't find anything on Brady; she must have kept private, later.
When you're watching the stream of standard Christmas repeats, don't miss this one!! It's B&W, but still worth it.
Parker's meddling mother (Lucille Watson, in a typical role) had convinced her to divorce the supposedly philandering Errol Flynn the year before, but he never wanted a divorce or had a chance to prove his innocence. A year later, they are sharing custody of their 7 year old daughter (Patti Brady) who desperately wants them to get back together. She is convinced of this when they meet for the first time since the divorce when he returns her to Parker. Meddling Watson is determined to prevent a reconciliation that leads into a repeat of the famous Marx Brothers mirror scene between Flynn and Donald Woods) while dressed as Santa. Then, Parker meets young Bradys's military pen-pal (Forrest Tucker), a burly marine (who does a magnificent conga) and Flynn does a Bogart impersonation to try and scare Tucker off. Flynn's version of Bogart, although stereotypical, is as hysterical as the Bogart impersonator who would chase Bugs Bunny around in a few Warner Brothers cartoons. He seals his title as an underrated comic who was doomed to spears and saddles, tumbleweeds and tights.
In supporting roles, Hattie McDaniel offers her usual amount of laughs as the maid, but S.Z. Sakall goes a bit overboard as Flynn and Parker's restaurant owner pal, Luigi, forgetting the adage "Less is More". He comes off when not toned down (usually the fault of the script) as an overage Shirley Temple, desperately trying to steal every scene he is in. People who remember Tucker from "F-Troop" and "Auntie Mame" will be surprised to see how buff and handsome he was. Parker's character isn't given much good material, but shows some brief spunk in a cat fight with an obnoxious client of Flynn's. Young Brady is engaging as the child with an obvious Brooklyn accent, seemingly added for effect. But, thanks to Flynn's engagingly humorous performance, "Never Say Goodbye" ends up an unpredictably funny comedy with an over-used plot.
Many films have, as their premise, a misunderstanding between 2 people in love. Okay, that's fine. But to pile one misunderstanding on top of another and another is too much. For example, the segment in the restaurant where his ex-wife and girl friend are both there would have, perhaps, been a bit funny if it had been half as long. Instead, it went on and on and on and on. As did another misunderstanding when there are 2 Santa Clauses. On and on and on, way beyond being funny.
The other thing I very much disliked in this film was the performance by Eleanor Parker, particularly in the early part of the film. There is such a thing as over-acting, and she demonstrates it here. I was surprised because I have always felt that she was an underrated actress.
Errol Flynn's acting here is reasonably good...just not the situations they put him in. One bit of cleverness are a number of times when there are vague and fairly clever references to Flynn as he appeared in his older films.
Lucile Watson is good as Parker's mother (seems like it was a role she often played). S. Z. Sakall is here...playing S. Z. Sakall; he never changed. Forrest Tucker has a role that is a bit unusual for him. A supporting actor we didn't see enough of -- Tom D'Andrea -- has a small role here. And Hattie McDaniel appears as -- what else -- a maid; but as always she shined.
I really thought I would like this film, but no. This was a poor film.
The film is billed sort of like the 1961 Disney comedy, 'The Parent Trap', where children conspire to reunite their divorced parents. In 'Never Say Goodbye', the 8 year old 'Flip', actually doesn't take any covert action to reunite her parents Phil (Flynn) and Ellen (Parker) Gayley, until the film's climax.
The film's expository sequence introduces us to both Phil and Ellen, who come into a clothing store, looking to buy an outfit for Flip. Ellen opts for a conservative suit but Phil wants something a bit more snazzy. Soon we discover why the couple got divorced in the first place. Ellen was jealous of what she perceived as Phil's philandering. As a high- priced artist/illustrator, Phil is in contact with beautiful models who sit for him as he draws their portraits for various magazines. Phil denies Ellen's belief that he was cheating on her. Still, the couple appear to maintain an affable relationship. A secondary catalyst in the couple's divorce is the role of Ellen's mother, Mrs. Hamilton, who influenced her daughter as she was convinced all long that Phil was not really 'husband' material.
The film is divided into three primary comic sequences. In the first sequence, Phil forgets that he invited both Ellen and the model Nancy Graham (whose portrait he's recently been painting) to a dinner date. It's all rather obvious stuff with Phil running back and forth between rooms in the restaurant, in a futile attempt to prevent Ellen learning of his faux pas. S.Z. Sakall gets in the act as 'Luigi', the owner of the restaurant, who obviously isn't Italian but explains at the end of the film that he simply adopted the name of the last owner, as he didn't want to change the name of the restaurant. His contribution is a silly scene where he calls Nancy from an adjoining phone booth and attempts to get her to go to Phil's studio—she of course shortly discovers the ruse and Phil's plan to save himself from Ellen's wrath, evaporates.
The second sequence involves Mrs. Hamilton's solicitor, Rex, who dresses up as Santa Claus and is supposed to bring Flip some presents. Phil decides to crash the party and also dresses up as Santa. Phil keeps kissing Ellen but she mistakes him for Rex and doesn't think that's Kosher at all. At one point, there's a scene which has been done countless times before where Rex believes he's looking at a mirror when he spies Phil, who duplicates Rex's moves, to fool him. Despite being unmasked, Ellen finds Phil's aggressiveness quite attractive.
The third sequence involves the appearance of Corporal Fenwick Lonkowski (Forrest Tucker). Flip had been writing to him while he was overseas and at Phil's suggestion, she used a picture of Ellen to send to him. When Fenwick shows up at the apartment, Ellen is initially frightened but then decides to use him to make Phil jealous. Phil dresses up as a gangster and speaks like Humphrey Bogart (the famed actor's voice was dubbed in, in an uncredited performance). Fenwick decks Phil and there's also some additional silliness where Phil attempts to match Fenwick's calisthenics prowess.
The narrative suddenly concludes with Flip intentionally disappearing coupled with a frantic search where the police are called. Flip actually is with Luigi and due to the shock of having temporarily lost their daughter, both Phil and Ellen decide they actually do love each other and need to be together, to take care of Flip.
In the end, 'Never Say Goodbye' is usually quite silly but simply not funny. Most of the humor depends on Ellen's jealousy toward Phil. But the outcome is pre-ordained since the couple still maintain quite an affable relationship and Phil is basically such a nice guy. Often, the humor veers toward slapstick to compensate for the weak comic premise. While all the performances here are quite good, the material doesn't dig deep enough to tickle the funny bone. For true Christmas fare, watch 'It's a Wonderful Life' and skip 'Never Say Goodbye'.
The plot is a familiar one that Hayley Mills made hay with in "The Parent Trap" of 1961. A child (or two) tries to get her divorced parents back together. In this case, it's seven-year-old Philippa "Flip" Gayley who has been living six months of each year with one and then the other of her parents. Patti Brady didn't go beyond childhood stardom, but she sure nails the part in this film. Hattie McDaniel is Cozy, her nanny who goes with Flip on each residential exchange.
Flip's parents are Phil Gayley, played by Errol Flynn, and Ellen Gayley, played by Eleanor Parker. He is a successful commercial artist and illustrator, and Ellen comes from a wealthy family. A few supporting actors have nice roles in this fun film. Forrest Tucker plays Marine Corporal Fenwick Lonkowski. S.Z. Sakall plays restauranteur Luigi. And Lucile Watson plays Mrs. Hamilton. She does a good job as an irate mother-in-law who doesn't want Ellen to fall again for Phil. One enjoys such a good portrayal of a person who clearly has the role that a villain would otherwise play in a drama or crime film.
By the way, the best portrayal of a mother-in-law that everyone in an audience will hate is by Florence Bates. She plays Myrna Loy's mother, Mrs. Cooper, in the riotously funny "Love Crazy" of 1941.
Anyway, one knows how this film will end. But the fun and the entertainment is in how it gets to that point. The comedy comes in a mix of situations, some antics, and a very good script with funny lines. Here are some favorites. For more dialog, see the Quotes section under this IMDb Web page of the film.
Flip Galey, "Oh, daddy, you're such a flirt." Luigi, "She knows you."
Mrs. Hamilton, "And as time goes on, you' wonder what you ever saw in Phillip in the first place." Ellen Gayley, "Well, I know what he saw in me, and... I just want to refresh his memory."
Ellen Gayley, "Don't tell me you've been playing hooky all this time." Flip Gayley, "Oh, no, mommy. Only the last four days." Ellen Gayley, "Oh, Phil." Phil Gayley, "Well, she's smarter than those other kids. I thought it only fair to let the rest of the class catch up with her.
Phil Gayley, "Ellen, I'm a little bit disappointed in you. Carousing around every dive in town. Wallowing in cocktails. Stepping home at 7 or 8 in the morning." Ellen Gayley, "At least I waited until we were divorced." Phil Gayley, "But, but, but, but... the old goat butted you right into Reno."
Ellen Gayley, "I can't understand it." Phil Gayley, "What?" Ellen Gayley, "You sing like that and I married you."
Phil Gayley, "I don't care about Nancy. But I don't want her to start making a scene. You know how she is." Luigi, "Sure. You take a girl out to dinner two or three hundred times and right away she thinks you're interested in her."
A janitor, McCarthy, enters Phil's studio and sees him painting trees. McCarthy, "Why do ya waste your time on this stuff for?" Phil Gayley, "Oh, just getting back to nature." McCarthy, "There's more nature in one of them gorgeous girls you paint than in all them tired trees." Phil Gayley, "Yeah, but I can't get in trouble with the trees." McCarthy, "Oh, you've got a point there. Merry Christmas, Mr. Gayley."
As she and Phil walk away from his painting in the park, Flip asks, "You gonna leave your painting here?" Phil says, "Oh, sure. Nobody'll take it. I wouldn't want a thing like that in my home."
The Police Lieutenant in interrogating Luigi. Lieutenant, "You told us your name is Willie Schmidt. Then why does the kid call you Luigi?" Luigi, "Well, well you see, when I bought my restaurant, the name on the sign in the front was 'Luigi's.' And it was cheaper to change my name than to buy a new sign."
The complications of a young daughter trying to get her parents to reunite certainly becomes hilarious here, especially in the restaurant and Christmas evening settings.
Co-stars Hattie McDaniel and Donald Woods are given little to do in the film. Forrest Tucker is excellent as the marine who enters the film late, who has been written to by the young daughter and immediately falls for Parker, really complicating matters as he desperately wants to get back to his ex-wife.
Tom D'Andrea does best what he always did in films, playing a close friend and Peggy Knudsen, who would later on be so great as the nurse and former pupil of Jennifer Jones in the memorable Good Morning, Miss Dove, does what she has to do as the other woman in Flynn's life.