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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Never Say Goodbye (1956)

A doctor (Rock Hudson) in California is raising his young daughter (Shelley Fabares) as a single parent. But on a business trip to New York, he sees his wife (Cornell Borchers) who he thought dead. Shocked upon seeing him, she runs out into the street where she is struck by a car. Waiting in the hospital as she recovers from surgery, he recalls how they met in post war Vienna and how his jealousy proved destructive to their marriage. This melodrama has all the trimmings of a Douglas Sirk film (Hudson, the lush photography, Frank Skinner's insistent score, a heightened reality) but it was directed by Jerry Hopper (SECRET OF THE INCAS) and lacks the reflective irony that Sirk brought to his projects. Based on a play by Luigi Pirandello which was previously made in 1945 as THIS LOVE OF OURS with Merle Oberon and Claude Rains, it's problematic for a myriad of reasons. Hudson's character's jealousy renders him unappealing while George Sanders loves Borchers unconditionally. It's Sanders who deserves to end up with Borchers but this being 1956 Hollywood, it's never in question whose arms she'll end up in. Borchers was one of many European actresses Hollywood imported without much success. She's attractive, she's appealing and she can act but without that special something that could have made her a star and she retired three years after this film. But if you're partial to the glossy Technicolor melodramas of the 1950s, you should be sufficiently entertained. With Clint Eastwood, David Janssen, Gia Scala, Ray Collins, Jerry Paris and Robert F. Simon.

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