39 user 9 critic

Never Let Go (1960)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Thriller | 16 May 1962 (USA)
A cosmetic salesman sets out to prove to himself and his wife that he is not a failure.


John Guillermin


John Guillermin (story), Peter De Sarigny (story) (as Peter de Sarigny) | 1 more credit »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Todd ... John Cummings
Peter Sellers ... Lionel Meadows
Elizabeth Sellars ... Anne Cummings
Adam Faith ... Tommy Towers
Carol White ... Jackie
Mervyn Johns ... Alfie Barnes
Noel Willman ... Inspector Thomas
David Lodge ... Cliff
Peter Jones ... Alec Berger
John Bailey ... Mackinnon
Nigel Stock ... Regan
John Le Mesurier ... Pennington
John Dunbar John Dunbar ... Station Sergeant
Charles Houston ... Cyril Spink
Cyril Shaps ... Cypriot


In London, crooked garage owner Lionel Meadows makes extra cash by selling stolen cars. He uses the services of a crew of chop-shop mechanics and relies on teenage hoodlums to steal the cars. Cosmetics salesman John Cummings is struggling to meet his monthly sales targets in order to keep his job. He recently purchased a 1959 Ford Anglia to help him deliver cosmetics samples to department stores. His car is essential to his job. However, young petty thief Tommy Towers steals John's car while it's parked on the street where John works. He delivers the stolen car to Meadows' chop-shop. John reports the theft to the police but the police is slow acting. With pressures at home and at work, John is desperate to recover his stolen vehicle. The police inspector keeps telling him to be patient as most stolen cars are recovered eventually. However, John becomes more and more desperate and impatient to re-claim his car. Against the advice of the police, he sets-out to investigate the matter ... Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Peter Sellers in a new and exciting role! See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Peter Sellers - cast as the gangster of the film - brought the said character home with him after filming had finished for the day. The character proved a terrifying experience for his wife and children. See more »


When Meadows goes upstairs after being interviewed by the police, Jackie is wearing an off-the-shoulder top and has bare shoulders. However, when Meadows takes her into the bedroom, a bra strap is now visible on her right shoulder. See more »


Lionel Meadows: I said I told you never to lift anything within five miles of around here! Don't you ever learn?
See more »


Referenced in The Unknown Peter Sellers (2000) See more »


When Johnny Comes Marching Home
Arranged and conducted by John Barry
Lyrics by Louis Lambert
Sung by Adam Faith
Heard over the opening and closing titles
See more »

User Reviews

Successful experiment in casting against type.
26 August 2003 | by Clive-SilasSee all my reviews

Of course, it's Peter Sellers' name which has attracted attention to this little-known film, made at a time when he was trying out some serious acting work in addition to his renowned comedy talent. It must be said that he does pull off a remarkable performance. As the gangster, Meadows, he does a lot more than put on a tough voice and bash a few heads in. He perfectly portrays an outward smoothie, concerned for appearances, a man who doesn't like getting his hands dirty - but underneath is a barely-repressed streak of sadism verging on psychopathic tendencies. There is a remarkably daring scene (for the time) which distinctly adds a sexual dimension to his dominant personality. As he tells Carol White to take her top off, the sound of his breathing and the look in his eyes verge on the shocking, and the fact that it is Peter Sellers performing this, adds to the shock value.

However, Sellers does not upstage the film from Richard Todd who is also cast considerably against type. In films of this period Todd always played the handsome debonair hero, but in a complete reversal Todd here plays what the Americans refer to as a "milquetoast". But again, multidimensionality in the character is beautifully brought out, as Cummings starts to show the obsessive side of his personality. The expository scene in which his wife tells him, as gently as she can, that he has always been a failure, and that getting the car back would not, as he claims, solve all their problems, is beautifully handled by Todd and Elizabeth Sellars as his long-suffering wife.

This film, an X-Certificate upon release (equivalent to 18 or NC-17 certificates today) doesn't shirk from showing the execution and effects of violence. One scene, in which Todd gets badly beaten up by David Lodge (of all people), must have represented a very early usage of amplifying the sound of a fist hitting a torso for the purposes of magnifying the horror. This scene remains effective over forty years later. As a result of this, the film acquires a beautiful sense of unpredictability. There's clearly going to be a showdown between Cummings and Meadows, but the film very effectively adds to the suspense by a long sequence in which Cummings in a cafe and Meadows in his penthouse flat are both shown waiting for it - without any clue tipped to the audience as to what finally will happen. John Barry's score is very effective, if a trifle old fashioned, in heightening the tension - Barry's trademark chord progressions are still a way off in the future.

De Sarigny and Guillermin put together a brilliant script, two wonderfully talented actors and superlative direction to create a great British noir movie which should be more widely known.

Incidentally, for young Harry Potter fans who think the car in "The Chamber of Secrets" was made up, here is the proof that the Ford Anglia really did exist, all the way back to 1959 (although sadly it doesn't fly) - here an example of one is the cause of all the trouble.

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Release Date:

16 May 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Never Let Go See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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