Never Say Goodbye (1946 film)

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Never Say Goodbye
Theatrical release poster
Directed by James V. Kern
Produced by William Jacobs
Written by I.A.L. Diamond
James V. Kern
Based on adaptation by Lewis R. Foster
story by Ben Barzman
Norma Barzman
Starring Errol Flynn
Eleanor Parker
Music by Friedrich Hollaender
Cinematography Arthur Edeson
Edited by Folmar Blangsted
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date
  • November 9, 1946 (1946-11-09)
Running time
97 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1,770,000 (US)[1]
1,180,998 admissions (France)[2]
£116,821 (England)[3]

Never Say Goodbye is a 1946 romantic comedy film about a divorcing couple and the daughter who works to bring them back together. It was Errol Flynn's first purely comedic role since Four's a Crowd (1938), although Footsteps in the Dark (1941) had been a screwball comedy.


Divorced New York couple Phil and Ellen Gayley each buy a winter coat for their seven-year-old daughter Phillippa, known as "Flip". Flip has spent the last six months with her father, but is about to move in with her mother.

Phil asks Ellen to dinner to attempt a reconciliation. While there, model Nancy Graham sees Phil and assumes he is there to see her. Phil tries to juggle both women, but Ellen finds out and leaves.

On Christmas Eve, Phil dresses up as Santa Claus in order to sneak into Ellen's apartment and see his daughter. Ellen assumes he is her divorce lawyer, Rex De Vallon, who earlier agreed to play Santa. When Rex arrives, Phil locks him in the bathroom and a fight ensues. Ellen then insists Phil stay away from Flip for the next six months.

Phil manages to persuade Ellen and Flip to go away together to a rural cabin in Connecticut that is owned by his friend, Jack Gordon. However, Jack turns up with his girlfriend Nancy, ruining the trip.

Meanwhile, Flip has been writing letters to Fenwick Lonkowski, a Marine, pretending to be older than she is, and sending him a picture of Ellen instead of one of herself. Fenwick arrives to have lunch with Flip and assumes Ellen is her; Ellen decides to flirt with him in order to get revenge on Phil.

Eventually Phil tells Fenwick that Flip wrote the letters. When Fenwick learns how much Flip wants her parents to reunite, he decides to help her. Fenwick takes Flip to Luigi's, and she refuses to return unless her parents make up. Ellen finally agrees to take Phil back, and Fenwick consoles himself with Luigi's hatcheck girl.




The film was originally known as Don't Ever Leave Me and was based on an original story by Norma and Ben Barzman. It was purchased by Warner Bros in June 1944 as a vehicle for Claire Foley, who had appeared in the play Janie, which had just been acquired by Warners for filming. Jesse L. Lasky was assigned to produce.[4][5]

Then in September it was announced William Jacobs would produce instead.[6]

The project remained in development until June 1945, when it was in an article announced Errol Flynn would star. Flynn had been set to star in two action films, The Adventures of Don Juan and The Frontiersman, but both had been postponed. (Don Juan was shot some years later; The Frontiersman - postponed because "of the wartime travel problem, many location sequences being necessary for the story"[7] - was never made.) The article mentioned that the plot of Don't Ever Leave Me was about a young girl who sends a photo of her widowed mother to a servicemen, which was also the plot of another film going to be made at Columbia around this time, Dear Mr Private.[8] James Kern was attached to direct.[9]


Eleanor Parker was allocated the female lead opposite Flynn. Newcomer Patti Brady was given the role of their daughter.[10]

In July 1945 the title was changed to Never Say Goodbye.[11]

Forrest Tucker was borrowed from Columbia to play his role.[12] He later signed a long term contract with Warners.[13]

Filming took place in August 1945.

For the scene in which Phil puts on a "tough guy" front to intimidate Fenwick, Humphrey Bogart (who went uncredited) overdubbed Flynn's dialogue.[14][15]



The Los Angeles Times criticised the lack of originality in the comic set pieces: "director James V. Kern has had to borrow just about every situation in the book just to keep going" but said "Flynn goes through the motions with more good nature than you might expect" and that Parker was "lovely, unaffected".[16]

The New York Times said that "considering the interference provided him by the script, he [Errol Flynn] is handling the novel assignment in a moderately entertaining style... it is a silly little fable... Mr. Flynn's unaccustomed performance is not likely to win him a palm as Hollywood's most accomplished farceur, but it does have amusing points—especially when he endeavors to pose as a tough guy with Humphrey Bogart's voice, and Eleanor Parker is remarkably attractive and encouraging as his obviously reluctant ex-wife. S. Z. Sakall, too, is amusing as a friendly restaurateur, but deliver us, please, from Patti Brady, a lisping youngster who plays the tottling child."[17]


  1. ^ Variety 7 January 1948
  2. ^ 1948 Box Office Figures for France at Box Office Story
  3. ^ Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000
  4. ^ Of Local Origin New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 06 June 1944: 14.
  5. ^ Looking at Hollywood Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 15 June 1944: 20.
  6. ^ Of Local Origin New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 13 Sep 1944: 17.
  7. ^ 19th Century Mystery Yarn To Be Filmed: Opening Tonight The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current file) [Boston, Mass] 18 June 1945: 5.
  8. ^ SCREEN NEWS: WARNERS TO STAR FLYNN IN 'DON'T EVER LEAVE ME' OF LOCAL ORIGIN Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 14 June 1945: 23.
  9. ^ Looking at Hollywood Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 23 June 1945: 13.
  10. ^ SCREEN NEWS: RKO Acquires Rights to Molnar Play, 'Lawyer' Of Local Origin Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 10 July 1945: 8.
  11. ^ Screen News The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current file) [Boston, Mass] 16 July 1945: 4.
  12. ^ FOX TO STAR BOYER IN GAMBLING FILM: 'Any Number Can Play' to Be Based on Novel by Heth-- 'John L.' Held Over Here Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 07 Aug 1945: 17.
  13. ^ 'Christopher Blake' Wyman Probability Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 19 Feb 1947: A3.
  14. ^ never Say Goodbye at Turner Classic Movies
  15. ^ Tony Thomas, Rudy Behlmer * Clifford McCarty, The Films of Errol Flynn, Citadel Press, 1969 p 145
  16. ^ Flynn Takes Kidding With Good Grace Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 11 Dec 1946: 11.
  17. ^ Review of film at New York Times

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