Like Larency, Inc. one of the joys of this movie is seeing a famous actor stepping out of his standard character and displaying unexpected talents. In Larceny it was Edward G. Robinson playing a comic crook. In Never Say Goodbye, it is Errol Flynn giving up the swashbuckling for screwball comedy.
Artist Phil Gayley (Errol Flynn) and his wife, Ellen (Eleanor Parker), have been divorced for a year, sharing custody of their daughter, Flip (Patti Brady). Flynn desperately wants his wife back, and she regrets the divorce as well, but every time they seem close to getting back together, Flynn messes it up. After many stumbles and plenty of slapstick scrapes, they get back together.
NEW YORK CONNECTION
Central Park is a key feature of the geography, as Flynn and Parker live on opposite sides of the park.
One of the central comic scenes takes place on Christmas Eve, with three competing Santas, a Christmas tree disaster, and plentiful servings of Tom & Jerries.
Top of the heap is S.Z. “Cuddles” Sakall, again playing a restaurant owner, as he did in Christmas in Connecticut. Hattie McDaniel, Lucile Watson, Forrest Tucker, and Peggy Knudsen are faces and voices you may recognize from other classic films. Messenger boy William “Billy” Benedict appears in The Great Mr. Nobody.
Billy Benedit appeared in Second Chorus with Fred Astaire. Lucile Watson appeared with Astaire in Let’s Dance.
WHY WE LOVE THIS MOVIE
While not the best film in the screwball comedy genre, Never Say Goodbye has all of the essential elements. This is one of Sakall’s best roles. I always enjoy seeing Errol Flynn steal the mirror bit from Groucho and Harpo Marx from Duck Soup, but doing it in a Santa suit instead of nightshirts. (Lucille Ball reprised it years later in one of her TV episodes with Harpo.)