'Never Let Go' DVD Review *** 091705

The Work = ***
'Never Let Go' would probably be a forgettable little drama from the early 60s were it not from the solid cast. Particularly of note is Peter Sellers role as the villain in the film. Here, he plays the heavy and handles the role well. It is a shame he didn’t get the chance to branch out more into films like this because he could bring his unique qualities to roles and make them memorable ones.

The film follows a cosmetics salesman in Britain named John Cummings who is played by Richard Todd. Cummings is a serviceable enough salesperson up until his brand new car is stolen. It seems ‘ol Mr. Todd decided to save some cash and never had the vehicle insured. This mistake is gone over so much that the first have of the film could be used for a promotion for an insurance company.

Cummings is a funny man. 'Never Let Go' takes its time getting into the stronger second half of the movie and much of the first half is spent chipping away at Cummings. He where’s glasses when he goes on a sales pitch even though he does not need them. (He believes it helps make sales.) Now it probably will not come as much surprise that the character of John Cummings is ahem, “blind” to his own inadequacies. In a tired that comes in the second half of the movie his wife Anne (Elizabeth Sellars) unloads on him and explains that he never finishes what he starts. Oh, that and he often starts a lot of half-assed project.

His current “project” is tracking down and getting back his automobile (read: manhood) from corrupt car salesman Lionel Meadows played by Sellers. It seems Meadows has set up quite the operation. He has local youths steel cars bring them to his garage (which functions as a chop shop,) and they are repainted and outfitted with stolen plates and sold as new. Meadows is obsessed with cleanliness and routine and the more little things start to go wrong as Cummings keeps snooping around for his car, the more unhinged Meadows becomes.

There is much to like in 'Never Let Go' if you get into the film and it grabs you. If the film doesn’t (and for me it didn’t) it plays as a fairly routine drama with some nice performances and bang up conclusion. The thing is Cummings obsession with his car (again, read manhood) is so self centered that he has little care for the other victims of Meadows car theft ring or much sorrow for an old man he keeps placing in harms way. Everything is so on the nose in this film that it almost borders on comedy at times. Still, it does work and I enjoyed it while I watched it. (I particularly liked the way Meadows condescendingly referred to Cummings as “that little lipstick peddler.) In some respects this film reminded me a bit of Sam Peckinpah’s 'Straw Dogs'. (Minus the extreme violence and nudity of course.) Actually, at the time of its release, just like 'Straw Dogs', 'Never Let Go' earned an “X” rating. Recommended.

DVD = ***

The Look
'Never Let Go' is presented in widescreen in the aspect ratio of 1.66:1. Non anamorphic??? Come on MGM! Er’ now Sony. Come on, treat your films right! Lets try releasing ‘em anamorphic, ok? Actually despite being non anamorphic the picture does look pretty decent.

The Sound
The DVD has a mono English track and that is it for audio options. I have to say that it may be faithful to the original release but the track played extremely loud to me with many of the effects and music cues being really loud and the dialogue being on the quiet side. The dialogue was never hard to understand so long as the volume was up but it made the music LOUD (though it didn’t have any noticeable hiss sounds or anything.) Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish.

The Bonus
The lucky customers who buy this DVD get...... A trailer!!!! Yaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy! The DVD has a trailer for the film! Well, that and an anti-piracy advertisement. It’s a shame really, at the least it would have been nice to have a commentary by a Sellers biographer or a British film historian. This may not be my favorite film but it is an interesting one and I enjoyed watching it. Come on Sony, get some features going!

All Together = ***
So, here you have it, no real features other than a trailer and a non anamorphic (but decent) transfer. 'Never Let Go' has its fans and they will want to snatch this up. Sellers completionists will probably want to grab this one as well since it offers a pretty unique role for the man. I enjoyed the film but wish the first half had been ramped up a bit. It’s not one of my favs’ but it was enjoyable. Reccomended.


'Never Let Go' Links:


Copyright 2005 - 2012 Nate Bundy. All rights reserved.