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Never Say Goodbye is a 1946 romantic comedy film about a divorcing couple and the daughter who works to bring them back together. It was Errol Flynn's first purely comedic role since Footsteps in the Dark.

Never Say Goodbye
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJames V. Kern
Produced byWilliam Jacobs
Written byI.A.L. Diamond
James V. Kern
Based onadaptation by Lewis R. Foster
story by Ben Barzman
Norma Barzman
StarringErrol Flynn
Eleanor Parker
Music byFriedrich Hollaender
CinematographyArthur Edeson
Edited byFolmar Blangsted
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • November 9, 1946 (1946-11-09)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2,603,000[1]


Divorced New York couple Phil and Ellen Gayley each buy a winter coat for their seven-year-old daughter Phillippa, known as "Flip". Flip has spent the last six months with her father, but is about to move in with her mother.

Phil asks Ellen to dinner to attempt a reconciliation. While there, model Nancy Graham sees Phil and assumes he is there to see her. Phil tries to juggle both women, but Ellen finds out and leaves.

On Christmas Eve, Phil dresses up as Santa Claus in order to sneak into Ellen's apartment and see his daughter. Ellen assumes he is her divorce lawyer, Rex De Vallon, who earlier agreed to play Santa. When Rex arrives, Phil locks him in the bathroom and a fight ensues. Ellen then insists Phil stay away from Flip for the next six months.

Phil manages to persuade Ellen and Flip to go away together to a rural cabin in Connecticut that is owned by his friend, Jack Gordon. However, Jack turns up with his girlfriend Nancy, ruining the trip.

Meanwhile, Flip has been writing letters to Fenwick Lonkowski, a Marine, pretending to be older than she is, and sending him a picture of Ellen instead of one of herself. Fenwick arrives to have lunch with Flip and assumes Ellen is her; Ellen decides to flirt with him in order to get revenge on Phil.

Eventually Phil tells Fenwick that Flip wrote the letters. When Fenwick learns how much Flip wants her parents to reunite, he decides to help her. Fenwick takes Flip to Luigi's, and she refuses to return unless her parents make up. Ellen finally agrees to take Phil back, and Fenwick consoles himself with Luigi's hatcheck girl.



The film was originally known as Don't Ever Leave Me and was based on an original story by Norma and Ben Barzman. It was purchased by Warner Bros. in June 1944 as a vehicle for Claire Foley, who had appeared in the play Janie, which had just been acquired by Warners for filming. Jesse L. Lasky was assigned to produce.[2][3] Then in September, it was announced William Jacobs would produce instead.[4]

The project remained in development until June 1945, when it was in an article announced Errol Flynn would star. Flynn had been set to star in two action films, The Adventures of Don Juan and The Frontiersman, but both had been postponed. (Don Juan was shot some years later; The Frontiersman - postponed because "of the wartime travel problem, many location sequences being necessary for the story"[5] - was never made.) The article mentioned that the plot of Don't Ever Leave Me was about a young girl who sends a photo of her widowed mother to a servicemen, which was also the plot of another film going to be made at Columbia around this time, Dear Mr Private.[6] James Kern was assigned to direct.[7]

Eleanor Parker was allocated the female lead opposite Flynn. Newcomer Patti Brady was given the role of their daughter.[8] Forrest Tucker was borrowed from Columbia to play his role.[9] He later signed a long term contract with Warners.[10]

In July 1945 the title was changed to Never Say Goodbye.[11]

Filming took place in August 1945.

For the scene in which Phil puts on a "tough guy" front to intimidate Fenwick, Humphrey Bogart (uncredited) overdubbed Flynn's dialogue.[12][13]


Box OfficeEdit

According to Variety by January 1948 the film earned $1,770,000 in rentals in North America.[14] It had admissions of 1,180,998 in France[15] and earned £116,821 in England.[16]

According to Warner Bros ledgers, the film earned $1,817,000 domestically and $786,000 overseas.[1]


The Los Angeles Times criticized the lack of originality in the comic set pieces: "director James V. Kern has had to borrow just about every situation in the book just to keep going" but said "Flynn goes through the motions with more good nature than you might expect" and that Parker was "lovely, unaffected".[17]

The New York Times critic Bosley Crowther wrote that "considering the interference provided him by the script, he [Errol Flynn] is handling the novel assignment in a moderately entertaining style... it is a silly little fable... Mr. Flynn's unaccustomed performance is not likely to win him a palm as Hollywood's most accomplished farceur, but it does have amusing points—especially when he endeavors to pose as a tough guy with Humphrey Bogart's voice, and Eleanor Parker is remarkably attractive and encouraging as his obviously reluctant ex-wife. S. Z. Sakall, too, is amusing as a friendly restaurateur, but deliver us, please, from Patti Brady, a lisping youngster who plays the tottling child."[18]


  1. ^ a b c Warner Bros financial information in The William Shaefer Ledger. See Appendix 1, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, (1995) 15:sup1, 1-31 p 27 DOI: 10.1080/01439689508604551
  2. ^ "Of Local Origin". The New York Times. 6 June 1944.
  3. ^ Hedda Hopper (15 June 1944). "Looking at Hollywood". Chicago Daily Tribune.
  4. ^ "Of Local Origin". The New York Times. 13 September 1944.
  5. ^ "19th Century Mystery Yarn To Be Filmed: Opening Tonight". The Christian Science Monitor. 18 June 1945.
  6. ^ "Screen News: Warners to Star Flynn in 'Don't Ever Leave Me' Of Local Origin". The New York Times. 14 June 1945.
  7. ^ Hedda Hopper (23 June 1945). "Looking at Hollywood". Chicago Daily Tribune.
  8. ^ "Screen News: RKO Acquires Rights to Molnar Play, 'Lawyer' Of Local Origin". The New York Times. 10 July 1945.
  9. ^ "Fox to Star Boyer in Gambling Film: 'Any Number Can Play' to Be Based on Novel by Heth-- 'John L.' Held Over Here". The New York Times. 7 August 1945.
  10. ^ Edwin Schallert (19 February 1947). "'Christopher Blake' Wyman Probability". Los Angeles Times.
  11. ^ "Screen News". The Christian Science Monitor. 16 July 1945.
  12. ^ never Say Goodbye at Turner Classic Movies
  13. ^ Tony Thomas, Rudy Behlmer * Clifford McCarty, The Films of Errol Flynn, Citadel Press, 1969, p. 145
  14. ^ Variety 7 January 1948
  15. ^ 1948 Box Office Figures for France at Box Office Story
  16. ^ Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000
  17. ^ Philip K. Scheuer (11 December 1946). "Flynn Takes Kidding With Good Grace". Los Angeles Times.
  18. ^ Bosley Crowther (23 November 1946). "The Screen; Penalty--For Offside". The New York Times.

External linksEdit