Never Let Go (1960) Poster

(1960)

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10/10
Classic example of late 50s/early 60s British gritty reality cinema
spyott15 March 2004
I've now seen this film a few times when it gets shown late at night on ABC TV here in Australia and it is still compelling viewing. It is a classic example of the gritty working class social reality/suspense genre in a post Angry Young Men gloomy London setting with a superb cast all giving stellar performances, particularly Peter Sellers as the petty vicious crook (one of his best roles), Elizabeth Sellars as the long suffering wife, Carol White, Mervyn Johns and Adam Faith. The casting of Richard Todd in the lead role of the down-trodden but defiant cosmetics salesman who wants to show everyone he can succeed is superb, inspired and brilliant, particularly given that he was normally cast as heroic and successful types, such as officers.

It is impossible not to identify with the personal struggle against the injustice of the very difficult situation in which Todd's character has found himself and that was not of his own making. Although the film has the typical feel of the late 50s/early 60s era in British urban society (which I love, by the way!), I found his work situation, which is at the heart of the story, and the way he tried to deal with it achingly convincing and clearly reminiscent of more modern eras, particularly with the constant threat of up and coming younger, brighter and sharper sales staff being used by the management as an unsubtle threat to his position if he does not improve his sales figures. I am sure anyone who has ever been paid on a sales commissions basis in a competitive product or service field would be able to identify easily with that situation.

His persistent determination to deal with the unsavoury types he thinks are responsible for the theft of his car in the face of police indifference and try to get back everything that he has lost, while everyone is telling him to just give up, is portrayed very convincingly and the final ending and resolution with the fight scene in the garage is utterly convincing and satisfying. I strongly recommend this film and I have always found it difficult to understand why Richard Todd never became the huge star I believe he deserved to be.
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Successful experiment in casting against type.
Clive-Silas26 August 2003
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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9/10
Peter Sellers in his prime gives an overwhelming performance
kgh-316 October 1999
Never Let Go, a movie rarely shown in the U.S. (and perhaps elsewhere), is well worth your time, especially if you are a Peter Sellers fan. The plot is reminiscent of The Bicycle Thief, though this movie will not be confused with Italian Neo-Realism. Under John Guillermin's direction, this drama moves from a nervy look at the underworld to a climax comparable to a western's showdown on a deserted dirt street. Richard Todd plays a cosmetics salesman barely doing well enough to make a living, in part due to his milquetoast-type personality. When his car is stolen, his life takes a serious downturn--he cannot work without it. His quest to get his car back drives the plot till the movie's end. Unlike The Bicycle Thief, however, much of the focus scene-by-scene is on the thief, played here by the late, great Peter Sellers.

Sellers's performance is overwhelming, completely over the top. The best comparison I can make is to Dennis Hopper's memorable performance in Lynch's Blue Velvet. As the movie progresses, his manic behavior becomes infectious: there was a palpable sense of the hysteric in the theater where I saw this movie, the audience just waiting to explode with laughter or shock with each move that Sellers made. This can be see as a distraction, and for a moment here or there it is, but by the end, the performance works very well, making the Todd character's growing determination to reclaim his car a point of tension--it will lead to direct confrontation with a maniac. Inexplicably, there is a sugary last scene tacked on to the end of this film, but it is easily forgiven. Ask your local art film house if it can show this movie--if so, it will be a memorable experience.
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9/10
Great classic with a great cast
michelerealini22 September 2005
As I'm a Peter Sellers fan I discovered this film by chance on DVD... I was totally amazed by the story and the acting. All the cast is TOP, but I was mostly surprised by Peter Sellers -here he's not comical or funny at all, here he's a villain, a gangster. He's so good in the performance that you hate him -as a character, of course!

A salesman is victim of a theft. His car is stolen by a disbanded young who works for a car seller, a criminal who soups up engines for selling them again.

Not only Peter Sellers is excellent, the other great actor is Richard Todd. He's moving in the part of the salesman, obsessed by the search for his car and the will to show his wife (Elizabeth Sellars) he's not a loser. Adam Faith (one of the first rock singers in Britain before the Beatles and the Stones...) is the young thief.

The film has rhythm and is very realistic -for its time it's strong, fight scenes are quite violent. The film is in the wave of "Look back in anger", "Saturday night and Sunday morning". There's rage and a touch of "Free cinema", even if director John Guillermin has a more commercial style and later went to Hollywood for directing blockbusters like "The Blue Max", "The towering Inferno" and "King Kong".

A great classic, by the way.
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10/10
The real side of Peter Sellers?
keithtrumbo21 July 2005
Saw this movie in the UK in the early 60's. Sellers was a major comedic hero of mine who I first discovered in The Goon Show. What made "Never Let Go" so important was that as far as I can remember this was the only time he played a vicious character. The scene where he is crushing Adam Faith's hands in a drawer stayed with me forever not only because Faith was a major pop star at that time but that it was shocking to see Sellers play this cruel roll. Now some 40+ years later I wish Sellers had pursued this other side of his character in more films as I think he could have become a real 'bastard' London character that have become so popular. Yes I prefer his comedy as it was so important to Britain's comedic release from it's stiff upper lip but he might have become one of the few actors that span both comedy & drama. Imagine Sellers with a touch of Bob Hoskins & Michael Caine (Long Goodbye mixed with Ipcress/Alfie). Definitely worth seeing. As an aside Adam Faith was a huge pop singer who did some acting and later became a very successful business man. Look out for his music.
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7/10
Peter Sellers shows what could have been
gvit-221 September 2005
This is not as great a film as the comments lead me to believe. However, it is a well done piece of work and obviously done on a very modest budget. The story is a bit heavy-handed in places, and the scene where the wife tells her husband that he's a loser is very hard to believe. That all being said, it is a dreary, gritty slice of England in the early sixties and is a showcase for the dramatic talents of Peter Sellers. While some of the supporting roles are well done, Sellers shines like a bright diamond with his intense and convincing portrayal of a carjacker, free of any moral pretense. If this film had been widely seen, I am convinced that many directors would have tried to get Sellers into more serious roles. His ability to leave all traces of the Goon comedy figure behind is truly astounding. If you are interested in post-war English cinema, this is an interesting film. If you are a fan of Peter Sellers, it's a must see.
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9/10
Never Let Go (1960) Seedy Brit Noir
mgtbltp5 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Never Let Go is about the auto wrecking/salvage business, I guess called auto "breakers"/salvage in the UK, but an illegal aspect of it. When a late model car is wrecked it's title is saved and the car's engine number, chassis number, and body serial plates are transferred to a stolen car which is then resold under the wrecked cars title. Lionel Meadows (Sellers) is the kingpin of an auto theft ring. Titles are collected from wrecks by MacKinnon (Bailey), make, model, and year are put on a list. This list is given to Lionel who then gives the list to his boys who then steal the exact matches. These cars are then driven to Reagan's (Stock) auto body shop where the serial numbers are changed and the cars repainted to match the wrecked titles. The altered cars are then driven to Meadows Garage and sold.

John Cummings (Todd) is a milquetoast barely making ends meet as a London cosmetics salesman. One night he stops at Berger for a few hours to do some paperwork before heading home. While inside his car is pinched by Tommy Towers (Faith) who drives it to Reagan's (Stock) auto shop, where it will be altered.

John is devastated, he didn't get it insured for theft, just third party risk. John's wife wants him to forget about trying to get the car back. She's becoming distressed about his actions, actions which she, in a backhanded way, ignited. She told John that he was always chasing pipe dreams that he never caught and made reality. That sets John off, determined to "never let go" until he gets his Anglica back.

John's obsession and alienation from his wife increases steadily throughout the remainder of the film. This change is convincingly well acted by Todd who goes from soggy milquetoast to hard crust burnt toast. Peter Sellers though is practically unrecognizable. His Meadows character looks like his pudgy evil twin. He's frighteningly different, very twisted from the comedic Sellers we are used to. He sports a push-broom mustache. He is petty, vicious, vile, and has the facade of an outwardly polite charmer. Meadows pseudo smiles, only with his mouth not his eyes. He's a fastidious over the top neat freak, complaining about Jackie's untidiness, placing coasters under drink glasses and ranting about lit cigarettes left on veneer. He also has a sexual sadistic kink with his mistress Jackie. He's a pressure cooker slowly building as things in his little world go awry. He has startlingly violent outbursts. Like a safety valve he's letting off steam, but it's not helping, you know there will be the inevitable explosion as he rages on about the "little nob, lipstick salesman" , and how he's going to "kill him. put him in his car, and burn it!"

Never Let Go builds nicely to an inevitable showdown punctuated by John Barry's score. It's what a noir should be, about interesting small time characters and simple conflicts that spiral bizarrely of control. Bravo 9/10
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9/10
When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again.
Spikeopath13 June 2012
Never Let Go is directed by John Guillermin who also co-writes the story with producer Peter de Sarigny. Alun Falconer adapts to screenplay with music by John Barry and cinematography by Christopher Challis. It stars Peter Sellers, Richard Todd, Elizabeth Sellars, Adam Faith and Carol White.

John Cummings (Todd) is a struggling cosmetics salesman who buys a Ford Anglia car from crooked criminal Lionel Meadows (Sellers). When the car is stolen, Cummings, without insurance, finds his job on the line and his marriage facing crisis. Refusing to accept it as just one of those unfortunate things, Cummings starts digging for answers and finds himself in a world of violence, apathy and suicide.

As the classic film noir cycle came to an end, there was still the odd film to filter through post 1958 that deserved to have been better regarded in noir circles. One such film is Britain's biting thriller, Never Let Go. Its history is interesting. Landed with the X Certificate in Britain, a certificate normally afforded blood drenched horror or pornography, the picture garnered some notoriety on account of its brutal violence and frank language. By today's standards it's obviously tame, but transporting oneself back to 1960 it's easy to see why the picture caused a stir. The other notable thing to come with the film's package was the appearance of Peter Sellers in a very rare serious role. In short he plays a vile angry bastard, and plays it brilliantly so, but the critics kicked him for it, and his army of fans were dismayed to see the great comic actor playing fearsome drama. So stung was he by the criticism and fall out, Sellers refused to do serious drama again. And that, on this evidence, is a tragic shame.

What about my car? Out of Beaconsfield Studios, Guillermin's movie is a clinically bleak movie in tone and thematics. Todd's amiable John Cummings is plunged into a downward spiral of violence and helplessness by one turn of fate, that of his car being stolen. As he is buffeted about by young thugs, given the run around by a seemingly unsympathetic police force, starts to lose a grip on his job and dressed down by his adoring wife, Cummings begins to man up and realise he may have to become as bad as his nemesis, Lionel Meadows, to get what he rightly feels is justice. But at what cost to himself and others? The classic noir motif of the doppleganger comes into play for the excellently staged finale, made more telling by the build up where Cummings' "growth" plays opposite Meadows' rod of iron approach as he bullies man, woman and reptiles. Visually, too, it's classic film noir where Challis (Footsteps in the Fog) and Guillermin (Town on Trial) use shadows and darkness to reflect state of minds, while the grand use of off kilter camera angles are used for doors of plot revelation. Layered over the top is a jazzy score by John Barry.

It's not perfect, Sellers' accent takes some getting used to here in London town, Adam Faith is not wholly convincing as a bully boy carjacker and there's a leap of faith needed to accept some parts of the police investigation. But this is still quality drama, it's nasty, seedy and expertly characterised by the principal actors. In this dingy corner of 1960 London, film noir was very much alive and well. 9/10
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6/10
Sensational performance by Peter Sellers
blanche-27 October 2014
"Never Let Go" is a British noir from 1960. It was controversial because of the language and violence, which today's viewers won't even notice.

John Cummings (Richard Todd) is a salesman for a cosmetics firm who isn't doing well. He is told he pushes too hard; that he's not like the "new" types of salesmen coming in. Obviously nervous and desperate to keep his job, John has the look and aura of a loser, and his employer knows it.

Hoping to help his work, Cummings buys a Ford Anglia from Lionel Meadows (Peter Sellers), a crook. Cummings doesn't insure the car and when it's stolen, he's in trouble. His sales kit was in it, he now can't get around, and he'll be paying for it for years with nothing to show for it.

Though he's told he needs to let it go, Cummings won't. He launches his own investigation and runs into violence and the seamier side of London.

The outstanding thing about this film is the performance of Peter Sellers as a vicious criminal, violent, vile, with no empathy. He is outstanding. It's said that people who excel in comedy can do drama, but the reverse isn't always true, and Sellers proves the point here. He's amazing and doesn't hold back, giving a full-out performance.

And he flopped. Why? His fans didn't like the change in image, and neither did the critics. He never did drama again. I am reminded of Tyrone Power's excellent performance in Nightmare Alley that so freaked out Darryl Zanuck that he gave it no publicity and withdrew it from release. In that case, though, the critics liked it, and it finally achieved a cult status. But it goes to show how strong images were back in the day and how uncomfortable people were if you tried to do something else.

This is a gritty, depressing movie about a man who needs to get his car back in order to prove to himself and his wife that he's not a loser, and that he refuses to take what fate gives him. The street thugs show him no mercy, the police aren't interested, and his marriage is in jeopardy. Cummings realizes that no matter the price, he must win -- for himself. The finale is fantastic.

Richard Todd does a wonderful job in an emotional role and shows a wide range. He was one of the many British actors who came to fame around the same time: Stewart Granger, Richard Burton, Dirk Bogarde, Laurence Harvey, Terrence Stamp, etc. Whether it was poor choices in films or what, as good an actor as he was, he never reached the full film star potential that seemed unlimited after "The Hasty Heart."

The photography is top quality noir: offbeat angles, with the use of shadows throughout. The music was that typical '50s music one hears in '50s films, loud and jazzy, the type of thing you always here as someone approaches a cheap club in a sleazy part of town.

A good film, tough and no-holds barred in the noir tradition.
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8/10
Wow...this was a different performance for Peter Sellers.
MartinHafer21 November 2011
While the star of this film technically is Richard Todd, Peter Sellers' supporting performance dominates the film and it's no surprise that the DVD features Sellers on the cover, not Todd. It's one of the better performances of his career--and, interestingly, it's not at all comedic but a VERY gritty and serious role.

The film begins with a working man (Todd) leaving work--only to discover that his car's been stolen. He goes to the police but after a couple days there doesn't appear to be any chance he'll get it back--and it's not insured. Todd is a very mild-mannered man and not the sort you'd expect to do anything about the crime, but his car is needed for his job and he won't let it rest. So, he starts trying to find leads on his own--and repeatedly he nearly gets himself killed. Yet, for once this mild-mannered man is NOT going to just back down--he will follow this as far as he can and the consequences be damned. Through the course of Todd's investigations, the trail leads to a truly horrible man (Sellers). On the surface, Sellers seems sophisticated and mild-mannered himself. However, he is a very violent bully--and this comes out with the least provocation. What's to happen next? Tune in to this excellent film to see for yourself--just be forewarned...it's amazingly brutal for 1960--so brutal the Brits gave it what is equivalent to a restricted rating!

As I said, Sellers is at his best here. Wearing bulky clothes (and perhaps lifts to make him look taller), he looks beefier and plays a great heavy. His violent and sadistic routine is mesmerizing--and it was hard to believe this is the same guy who made a career out of making people laugh. Here, he's malevolent and cruel--and very effective. Now all this does NOT mean Todd isn't quite good as well--he is. But even in turning in a dandy performance himself, he is overshadowed by the malevolent Sellers. The sum effect of both of them is quite compelling--making a simple and inexpensive film much better than you'd ever expect. If you like to see excellent acting and characters, then see this one.
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7/10
solid crime melodrama
funkyfry22 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This is a nice little picture, kind of a commentary on crime, which features Richard Todd as a perfume salesman who doesn't take kindly to having his new Impalia stolen by a gang lead by Peter Sellers. Although there may be elements of dark comedy, this is basically a straightforward crime drama and all the principals are very effective, particularly Sellers.

You could basically see this film as a modern urban variation on "High Noon." The police and the man's wife eventually decide that going after Sellers is far too dangerous, but as the title implies this man will just not let go of his precious car. He goes so far as to bring danger down upon his own household, when Sellers tracks him there and pushes his wife around. Finally he has to have a man-to-man showdown with the villainous Sellers, and the men beat each other nearly to death.

I've never really seen Sellers quite as evil as he was in this film. He pushes women around, he robs from innocent people with no remorse, and he brutally punishes his underlings when they disappoint him. He attacks the role with great relish, like a man who enjoys doing bad things. This was Sellers' least mannered performance to date, among the films I have seen. In contrast to some of his later films where his excellent performances stand out like a sore thumb compared to the rest of the film, this one serves the story and the film before all else.

It's an interesting comment on materialism in our society, although I don't know if it plays out today exactly as it was intended. I found myself becoming quite aggravated with the good guy and wishing that Sellers could get away with it, because I was almost as infuriated with him as the bad guy. There's also a juvenile delinquent couple that just seems thrown in to give the story "modern relevance." But all in all this is a very memorable movie and I'm surprised that it's not discussed more often.
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8/10
A rarely-seen gem
g-hbe1 August 2012
I've only ever seen this film once, and only recently found out its title! I won't go over the plot here as this has been well covered by other reviewers. Suffice to say that this low-budget British film punches way above its weight and features some great performances, especially that of Peter Sellers who puts in a particularly riveting turn as the car-napper. Richard Todd's performance as the mild mannered salesman was always going to be eclipsed. One thing that struck me at the time was the number of mentions given to Todd's 'Ford Anglia', the car without which he could not survive. So often was the car mentioned that I am still convinced that Ford must have done a bit of sponsorship here! A great, gritty film from the days when we knew how to make them.
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9/10
....I see a whole procession of "cars"...
Brucey_D11 September 2018
This is -for the time it was made- a surprisingly gritty film. Sellers' name was used to help pull in the punters but this is really Richard Todd's film; he plays an 'everyman' who is fundamentally decent but struggles in life and the straw that breaks the camel's back is the theft of his car, to him representing all his other failings and disappointments. Becoming increasingly desperate, obsessive and self-destructive, he just 'cannot let it go' and this drives the plot along.

Peter Sellers plays against his usual type here, and does so quite ably, when viewed from this distance. However at the time it may have seemed less convincing to see a Goon show star playing a villain (moreover one with absolutely no redeeming qualities) for the first time; disappointed with his reception here, he pretty much gave up 'serious' acting roles subsequently for some years.

The supporting roles are almost without exception excellently played; there is some criticism that the villains are somewhat two-dimensional, but this may be deliberate rather than accidental, in order that the audience's sympathies lie squarely with Todd's character.

Guillermin's direction is excellent, the film is well shot, and Barry's score backs the action nicely. Of its type and its time, it is an excellent film.
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Movement amongst the cardboard.
picleo29 December 2003
In a sea of monotonous black and white 50's - 60's films it was great to see a master of roles playing an classic villain - Sellers. Peter Sellers role in this film was quite superb as said above a classic villain for this master of character acting to sink his teeth into. Adam Faith and Richard Todd turn in an uneventful performance - in fact Todd's role was very wooden. In support of the masterly Sellers was David Lodge and Nigel Stock who in their turn have supported the best over the years and in my opinion both gave small but convincing performances as Seller's side kicks.

An excellent film to see if only to watch the performance by Peter Sellers
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7/10
Nasty and gripping
MOscarbradley12 March 2018
Nasty and brutish it may be but this British crime movie is also extremely gripping and very well done for what it is. Richard Todd is the salesman who goes after the thieves who stole his car. Adam Faith is the young thug who actually took it and, cast against type, Peter Sellers is superb as the psychotic Mr Big figure. A 17 year old Carol White, (she of "Cathy Come Home" fame), is Sellers' young mistress. The director was John Guillermin and he gives the film a nice sleazy atmosphere and makes very good use of his London locations.
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9/10
Fantastic, little known British crime flick
Leofwine_draca22 January 2018
Warning: Spoilers
NEVER LET GO is such a good British crime picture that I'm surprised more people don't know about it. The main character is a rather weak and weedy man, played by a cast-against-type Richard Todd. He's a lowly salesman whose car is stolen by a young thug at the film's outset, leading him on to an obsessive quest to get it back. The trail soon leads to a garage run by an unscrupulous crime boss, played by Peter Sellers, also playing against type. Both Todd and Sellers are making real efforts here in roles neither are used to and both are quite excellent. The film's unusual storyline builds on the suspense and keeps the viewer guessing as the story progresses, and it all builds to a climax which for once it worth the wait. A fine supporting cast includes David Lodge as a heavy, Noel Willman as a detective, Elizabeth Sellers as the stressed-out wife, Mervyn Johns as an informant, Adam Faith as a thug, and Carol White, who would go on to fame in POOR COW.
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8/10
Sellers and Todd playing well against type
XhcnoirX8 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Richard Todd is a low-level cosmetics sales man struggling to make good sales figures. He recently bought a car to help him cover more ground more easily, but due to the financial dent he couldn't afford insurance on it. One day at work his car gets stolen by Adam Faith, who steals cars for garage owner Peter Sellers. Sellers, keeping his own garage fully legal, has another garage change the plates and such on these stolen vehicles, and then sells them for a nice profit. Despite his wife Elizabeth Sellars's wishes as well as those of police inspector Noel Willman who wants to nail Sellers for his entire operation and not for one measly stolen car, Todd decides that this is one fight he does see through all the way, and he starts searching for his car. Besides his stolen car racket and Willman, Sellers also has to deal with his girl Carol White, who is fed up with her prisoner life with bored with him, and is more interested in Faith.

A late Britnoir, with some seemingly atypical casting choices for Sellers ('Dr. Strangelove...') and Todd ('The Interrupted Journey'). But both really sink their teeth into their characters. Sellers is especially nasty and mean here, and thoroughly convincing, and Todd is a born loser who decides enough is enough, for once, but who has no idea what he's doing aside from getting in everybody's way, as well as thoroughly upsetting his wife and their marriage. He is not exactly likable, more annoyingly pathetic, and while that might put off some less-noir-inclined viewers, for me it works in this movie's advantage. It gives the movie a very interesting psychological dynamic, and both actors give a great performance.

It's also a pretty gritty movie, with a lot of shadows and shoddy interiors. Director John Guillermin ('The Towering Inferno') and DoP Christopher Challis ('Chitty Chitty Bang Bang') use carefully chosen camera angles and vantage points to add tension, with a very nice brass-heavy score by first time composer John Barry, who would go on to score many Bond movies as well as 1981's 'Body Heat'. So yes, this is a pretty dark movie and even if the story isn't all that surprising, it is executed really really well, with Sellers and Todd excelling. Recommended! 8/10
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5/10
No terrapins were harmed during the making of this movie
ianlouisiana21 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This is a Richard Todd film in all but name,and it is he who gives the central performance.He exhibits all those laughably old-fashioned virtues of decency,honesty,hard work,loyalty and determination he once epitomised on the screen.He plays a travelling salesman(how archaic that term sounds now) whose car is stolen.Faced with police indifference,and pressures from work and home,Mr Todd sets out to track down the thieves and recover his property.Standard B flat run-of the-mill second feature material redeemed by Mr Todd who gives the role a depth and dignity that shines through like a good deed on a murky day.Miss Elizabeth Sellars as his wife,and Adam Faith as the car thief give adequate support,but it is with Mr Peter Sellers as the gang boss that "Never let go" runs into serious difficulties.Mr Sellers was arguably the biggest name in British show business at that time,a brilliant mimic,a fine comic actor,and a man with a burgeoning film career to whom international stardom was beckoning.As clever and versatile as he was,I'm afraid his talents didn't extend to portraying serious villainy.He sneers,he snarls,he shouts,he sweats,but he doesn't convince.Only when he stamps on some pet terrapins does he gain attention,and that only temporary.Only once in his whole career was he as badly miscast,as Chance the gardener in "Being there",another movie that is regularly overpraised at the expense of genuine tours de force like "Only two can play" and ""I'm all right Jack".If "Never let go" was to be made today the credits would have to include "No terrapins were harmed during the making of this movie". And no doubt a 1st and 2nd terrapin wrangler would get a mention too.
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forgotten British masterpiece
mark-sulli19 January 2018
How come I've never seen this gut busting, ball grabbing, bum clenchingly great film before ?!? A clear precursor to French Connection and Dirty Harry and a lost British classic.
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10/10
Paint jobs, pipe dreams
manuel-pestalozzi21 December 2012
This is a minor classic with reveals an amazing depth, provided you watch the film several times. With each viewing Peter Todd's performance gets better and the state of mind of his character more clear. It's about an Anglia (an ostentatiously modest lower middle class car) and the hope the Todd character puts into the car. It seems to be the last straw for him to become the success in business he wants to be. His wife scolds him for having had so many pipe dreams that have come to nothing and at the same time tells him to let go (of the stolen car). The possession of the car becomes an existential issue, the guy is willing to die in order to get it back. It is all ridiculous in a really sad way. It is also impressive to watch the police officer (played by the always brilliant John Le Mesurier) slowly lose his countenance and hear him tell the main character icily that he does not care the least for his car and that the authorities just want to nail the criminals. The veneer is off on all sides not least off Peter Sellers' character who becomes to realise that a stolen car can leave traces even after an expert paint job. Never Let Go tells a great little story. I can wholeheartedly recommend this film.
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9/10
A different Peter Sellers!
rodrig5816 October 2018
A very good movie with a very simple story. A young Peter Sellers, the greatest comic actor, proves he can play a tough character as well.
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6/10
Loser picks the wrong fight
LCShackley20 May 2011
John Cummings (Richard Todd) is a mediocre cosmetic salesman who's a chronic loser: always chasing rainbows but living a humdrum life with a wife who loves him but might be running out of patience. He buys a new car to help with his sales route but fails to insure it, so when a local thug (Adam Faith) steals it to deliver to the crime boss (Peter Sellers) he's in debt and has no transportation except London buses. His sales start to dwindle as he misses appointments and begins to lash out at clients (and co-workers).

He becomes obsessed with getting his car back, which he sees as the key to a good life. Through a grubby newspaper salesman (Mervyn Johns - you may know him as Bob Cratchit in the Alastair Sim "Scrooge"), he works his way up the food chain until he finally confronts the very sadistic Sellers. The police offer no help, and Todd's wife is threatening to leave him if he won't give up his quest.

I wondered why I had never seen this film before. The answer might lie at the beginning of the trailer: this was given an "X" rating in England when it was released. That doesn't mean "porn" but it does mean "adult content" - including language, fairly graphic violence, and strong hints of sexuality. It was probably too hot for most American TV outlets in the 60s and 70s and wasn't a big enough hit to warrant any special treatment. It's a fairly standard gangster thriller but has good performances by the main characters, and a score by John Barry that occasionally rises above the mediocre.
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6/10
The Car Thief
Prismark105 April 2019
Never Let Go is like a British urban western mixed with the Bicycle Thief.

Richard Todd plays John Cummings a struggling salesman for a cosmetics firm. He is late for appointments, he is not meeting his targets and his job is under threat.

Cummings buys a car; a Ford Anglia which he thinks will improve his prospects. He can just afford the finance payments but only gets it insured third party.

When the car is stolen, Cummings world collapses. Under pressure from his firm and family, he desperately searches for his car. He finds out that a local gang stole his car.

The car was stolen by young hoodlum Tommy Towers (Adam Faith) and his friends on behalf of Lionel Meadows (Peter Sellers) a low rent gangster who runs a stolen car racket.

An old newspaperman saw Tommy steal the car. Meadows is angry at Tommy for stealing the car in his patch and not some miles away.

Now Cummings is hanging around like a bad stench as he pesters the police towards Tommy and then Meadows.

This is Todd's film. In his desperation he makes mistakes. He winds up people during his sales round, he aggravates the police, he frustrates his wife, he gets beaten by Tommy's gang.

Cummings is a man who has a head full of dreams that come to nothing. That car was his last chance saloon.

Sellers in a straight role, is brash and thuggish with a Brummie accent of sorts. He is mean to everyone around him. The final showdown is between him and Cummings.

The film is not too successful though. Cummings does not invite too much sympathy. Faith is bland. The film was probably gritty at the time, it looks a bit tame now. Sellers is believable as the vicious and slimy villain.
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10/10
Totally mesmerising
fieryangel24 April 2019
I watched this by accident as it has the most unprepossessing marketing in history . "cosmetic salesman tries to get his stolen Ford Anglia back "! It's actually a superb film noir with incredible tension , wonderfully shot , really nail biting and a line up of stars at the top of their game . Just outstanding .
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