Forrest Tucker

Never Say Goodbye (1946, James V. Kern)

The first thirty-nine percent of Never Say Goodbye is phenomenally paced. It could be a short movie, if there were a little tragedy through in. A little melodrama. Seven year-old Patti Brady is moving back in with mom Eleanor Parker after living six months with dad Errol Flynn. They’re divorced. Flynn’s a successful cheesecake pinup artist and a cad, Parker was his star model and a Fifth Avenue blue blood. But they still love each other, Brady just knows they do.

And, even just as light forties screwball, it’s pretty good. S.Z. Sakall is the loveably inept owner of their favorite restaurant, Flynn is charming, Parker is lovely. Brady’s kind of cute. Her performance is fine. She’s not too obnoxious. She’s good with the other actors, but less so when she’s got to do a scene on her own. Hattie McDaniel’s her nurse. McDaniel’s good. Everyone’s kind of good.

Only then the script jumps ahead two months. I.A.L. Diamond and director Kern, in the second two thirds of the film, basically just string together screwball sequences. Not bad ones, but not great ones. It doesn’t help Lucile Watson–as Parker’s disapproving mother–is no fun. She’s not bad, just no fun. Donald Woods is no good as Parker’s new suitor, even if he does get one of the good screwball sequences.

The last third is similar. Forrest Tucker shows up. McDaniel and Watson (and Woods) are all gone. There’s new screwball, but nothing particularly good; it’s the weakest section–Parker’s characterization completely changes and Brady becomes incidental.

A lot of it is Kern’s mediocre direction–he manages to mess up a sequence where Flynn is pretending to be a Bogart tough guy (voiced by Bogart himself)–and a lot of it is the script. Flynn’s character is generic. Parker’s is even more generic. They’re both charming but don’t really have any chemistry. They’re far better with Brady than one another, which really cuts into the film itself’s charm.

It’s a really boring movie too. It’s less than a hundred minutes, but once that first third is up? Never Say Goodbye never gets moving again.



Directed by James V. Kern; screenplay by I.A.L. Diamond and Kern, adaptation by Lewis R. Foster, based on a story by Ben Barzman and Norma Barzman; director of photography, Arthur Edeson; edited by Folmar Blangsted; music by Friedrich Hollaender; produced by William Jacobs; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Errol Flynn (Phil), Eleanor Parker (Ellen), Patti Brady (Flip), S.Z. Sakall (Luigi), Hattie McDaniel (Cozy), Forrest Tucker (Cpl. Lonkowski), Donald Woods (Rex), Peggy Knudsen (Nancy Graham), Tom D’Andrea (Jack Gordon), and Lucile Watson (Mrs. Hamilton).

The Trollenberg Terror (1958, Quentin Lawrence)

The importance of the director, in cinema, used to be a topic of discussion for me. It hasn’t been lately, because it’s hard to find good examples of well-scripted, well-acted, but terribly directed motion pictures. Thank goodness for The Trollenberg Terror and Quentin Lawrence. Lawrence might be the most boring bad director I’ve ever seen. He doesn’t have a single moment of inventiveness, good or bad, in Trollenberg and it’s astounding the film actually achieves moments of suspense. It only achieves one–in the last fifteen minutes–but still… it’s unexpected.

Trollenberg‘s script–from Hammer hack Jimmy Sangster–isn’t terrible. Sangster was adapting a television serial, so there’s a lot of content and potential (the serial is, unfortunately, unavailable). The film’s setting–a mysteriously terrorized mountain resort–is fantastic, so Sangster (and even Lawrence to a point) don’t have to do much work. The cast is mostly solid, with the principles selling their characters.

I’m not sure if Forrest Tucker is a good actor or gives a good performance, but it’s an authoritative one and that aspect makes it work. Laurence Payne is a likable reporter. Jennifer Jayne and Janet Munro are solid damsels in distress, though the pairing off of them with Tucker and Payne, respectively, is absurd.

Even Warren Mitchell is all right and he’s got an absurd accent to go with his unbelievably knowledgeable scientist (he hypnotizes as well as studies geology and cosmic radiation).

The Trollenberg Terror deserved a far better director (and budget).



Directed by Quentin Lawrence; screenplay by Jimmy Sangster, based on the television serial written by Peter Key; director of photography, Monty Berman; edited by Henry Richardson; music by Stanley Black; produced by Robert S. Baker and Berman; released by Eros Films.

Starring Forrest Tucker (Alan Brooks), Laurence Payne (Philip Truscott), Jennifer Jayne (Sarah Pilgrim), Janet Munro (Anne Pilgrim), Warren Mitchell (Prof. Crevett), Frederick Schiller (Mayor Klein), Andrew Faulds (Brett), Stuart Saunders (Dewhurst), Colin Douglas (Hans) and Derek Sydney (Wilde).

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