Never Let Go Cover If you were a comedic mega-star looking for your next role, what would you be looking for? Perhaps another comedic adventure full of hilarity and mirth? Or what about something like this 90 minute melodrama made in 1960, Directed by: John Guillermin; and Starring: Peter Sellers, Richard Todd, Elizabeth Sellars, with Adam Faith. You never know. It might work?

Never Let Go : The Film - The Poster

Alright, Alfie (Mervyn Johns)! I know that you didn't mean to do it! Yet if you never told that snivelling little shampoo seller -- what's-his-name -- John Cummings (Richard Todd) -- that I got Tommy Towers (Adam Faith) to steal his car, I wouldn't be in the bleeding mess I'm in now!

Huh? What's that you say, Alfie? Speak up. 'John needs his car so he can keep his silly little job'? Ha! Why should I care about that, eh? I'm Lionel Meadows (Peter Sellers), God damn it! And I'm a legitimate businessman who tells people what to do, and how they should f*cking do it.

If I want a car to get swiped, it gets swiped. If I want a car to be reconditioned, it gets reconditioned. And if I want to sell that reconditioned car afterwards, it gets sold. Got it, Alfie? It's as simple as that.

Heck, I couldn't even care less what anyone else thinks about me. Be it my pretty little gal pal, Jackie (Carol White). Be it my second in command, Cliff (David Lodge). Or be it that smug-faced Inspector Thomas (Noel Willman) either. I am a man with a plan to make some big bucks by selling stolen cars. A very cunning plan that you messed up, Alfie, when you told that snivelling little shampoo seller that I got Tommy Towers to... ohhh... forget it... BANG!

Still. That's most probably why what next transpires all busts a nut when John tell his wife, Anne, (Elizabeth Sellars), that he can't let it lie. As a shampoo seller has a one track mind - Jackie and Tommy are very hard to find - a legitimate businessman is finally let loose - and at the end of the day, nobody calls it a truce.

Now if you've watched as many Peter Sellers documentaries as I have, you'd know that 'Never Let Go' was the movie that hindered his early film career, mainly because it was the one where he played it straight, and played it bad. Very-very bad.

Never Let Go Film Poster
Hey! Wait a minute, folks. I'm not trying to imply that Peter's performance was pants in the picture. No. Far from it. In fact he was very good in it. Portraying a ruthless gangster like a man possessed. Giving it his all where it came to inhabiting a right evil Northern mother f*cker who masterminded a stolen car trafficking ring.

Heck, I'd go so far as to say that there were parts of this film where I couldn't believe my eyes. As Peter was just that good.

Having said that, though, this got me to wondering why this film has been slandered ever since it was released? All of the actors really did put on one hell of a show. Especially my pal Pete, plus the poor yet downtrodden, Richard Todd. The overall production values were also very well polished. Exhuming a delightfully contrasting and vivid 'neo noir' style, through and through. Plus most of the supporting players really did support the conceptual narrative. And on occasion, enhanced the plot by literally giving it a perfectly placed kick up the back-side. 

Then it hit me. THUNK! It's the overall story that was the problem. Here and there it seemed to loose its focus. Philandering between Peter's character, Richard's character, Adam's character, and Carol's character, without properly defining whose vantage point this narrative was coming from in the first place. Furthermore, I also noticed that the 'bad guys' and the general through-line were of the more one note variety. Not really having a proper back-story so you could associate with their sordid shenanigans or demeanor.

Never Let Go Starring Peter Sellers and Adam Faith

Never Let Go French Film Poster
Apart from that though -- no -- 'Never Let Go' was one cracking film. Here. Look at the facts. (1) 'Rank films' first released this production on the very same day that the American television producer, Bill Prady, was born -- the 7th of June, 1960. (2) Most of this movie was shot in and around the English city of London. This includes Chichester Road, in Paddington; Shepard's Bush Market, in Shepard's Bush; The Southgate Arms Pub, in Hoxton; and Fortress Road, in Kentish Town. (3) Loosely translated, this project was entitled 'He Was a Bravo' in Brazil; 'The Racoon London' in West Germany; and 'The Spider' in Denmark. (4) If you look very closely at that scene where John is looking for his lost car, you might notice that one of the shots is flipped, and the sign for "Berger's Cosmetics" is printed backwards. Ops! Little mistake. (5) John Guillermin, who directed and wrote the screenplay for this film, also directed another Peter Sellers film, 'Waltz of the Toreadors', plus the 1974 classic, 'The Towering Inferno'. (6) I kid you not; Mister James Bond himself, John Barry, composed the musical score for this movie. (7) In the scene where John is talking to the police outside a run down building, behind them is a poster for the play, 'The Remarkable Mr Pennypacker', which starred Elizabeth Sellars, who played Anne in this flick. (8) I'm afraid to say that this movie received quite a few unfavourable mentions in the press when it was released. Most notably, 'The New York Times' described Peter Sellers performance, as, 'grinding his way through the rubble of a drearily routine plot'.

Never Let Go Starring Richard Todd and Adam Faith

Overall 'Never Let Go' is a film you've got to watch for three different reasons. Firstly, it's a must see for those of you who are into crime capers of the neo noir variety. Secondly, it's a pretty nifty film if you'd like to see what London looked like back in the day. And thirdly, it's something you have to see if you ever want to witness Peter Seller playing a right evil b*stard.

Nuff said. 


NEVER LET GO (1960) NEVER LET GO (1960) Reviewed by David Andrews on January 22, 2014 Rating: 5
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