Film

On Seeking the Works of Douglas Sirk and Finding Jerry Hopper's 'Never Say Goodbye'

Even though he removed himself from the project, Never Say Goodbye has Sirk's theme of the tyranny of children who dominate their parents.


Nevery Say Goodbye

Director: Jerry Hopper
Cast: Rock Hudson, Cornell Borchers
Distributor: Universal Vault
Year: 1956
USDVD Release date: 2015-10-30

My determination to watch all the films of ace melodramatist Douglas Sirk leads me to track down films he didn't make but almost did. According to Wikipedia, Sirk worked on the pre-production of Never Say Goodbye (1956), and was responsible for casting the Ingrid Bergman-esque German actress Cornell Borchers, who's pretty good.

And here it is from Universal Vault's on-demand series: a lush '50s Technicolor melodrama starring Rock Hudson and George Sanders, scored by Frank Skinner and directed by... Jerry Hopper? He's no Sirk, and the producer isn't Sirk's regular collaborator Ross Hunter, so the enervating mix of the far-fetched and ill-advised that constitutes a story doesn't soar as it might. Still, it's not entirely without interest. Supposedly based on a Pirandello play, it's a remake of an earlier Universal item called This Love of Ours (1945) from William Dieterle, which means now I've gotta track that down.

Rock plays Dr. Michael Parker, a prominent specialist living in a wonderful two-story house in a golden suburbia on Universal's backlot. He's being raised by his pert little daughter Suzy (Shelley Fabares), whom a family friend and fellow doctor declares has "an advanced Electra complex". She runs his life as efficiently as a majordomo, making sure he keeps his appointments, packs his suitcases, and wears his rubbers in the rain.

Okay, she never says that, but it's only an accidental oversight that she doesn't. The "special relationship" between them, in which the girl identifies herself effectively as his wife, isn't meant to be creepy so much as to suggest that perhaps he's more comfortable in a sexually undemanding "marriage". In an early scene, she says "Last one to the car is a sissy!"

Parker goes to Chicago for a conference and we're introduced to a tavern sketch artist (Sanders) and the latter's weary pianist (Borchers). She's called Dorian in what may be a reference to Dorian Gray, but she's really Lisa from Vienna and is Parker's dead wife who promptly gets car-struck and must be operated on by him much like in Sirk's Magnificent Obsession, which most of the audience would have watched two years earlier. Then there's a long explanatory flashback full of foolish behavior, and then the present day triangle asks the burning question of whether the girl will ever believe or respect her idiotic parents again.

Dr. Michael Parker (Rock Hudson) and Lisa Gosting (Cornell Borchers )

Even though he removed himself from the project, it's got Sirk's theme of the tyranny of children who dominate their parents, so it would naturally have attracted his interest for one of his many Hudson vehicles. He supposedly reshot some scenes with Sanders, not that you'd notice.

Unbilled Clint Eastwood wears a white coat and squints at X-rays like he's seen them somewhere before. John Banner, considerably slimmer than we know him from Hogan's Heroes, tries to be as adorable as possible with his funny strudel accent. David Janssen, later TV's The Fugitive, is a virtually unrecognizable army buddy, while one of the doctors is Ray Collins from TV's Perry Mason. Hopper would direct episodes of The Fugitive and Perry Mason, among many other shows, and his direction is efficient without being transcendent.

The DVD image looks and sounds good but comes with zero extras.

5


Music


Books


Film


Television


Recent
Books

A Fresh Look at Free Will and Determinism in Terry Gilliam's '12 Monkeys'

Prof. Susanne Kord gets to the heart of the philosophical issues in Terry Gilliam's 1995 time-travel dystopia, 12 Monkeys.

Music

The Devonns' Debut Is a Love Letter to Chicago Soul

Chicago's the Devonns pay tribute the soul heritage of their city with enough personality to not sound just like a replica.

Music

Jaye Jayle's 'Prisyn' Is a Dark Ride Into Electric Night

Jaye Jayle salvage the best materials from Iggy Pop and David Bowie's Berlin-era on Prisyn to construct a powerful and impressive engine all their own.

Music

Kathleen Edwards Finds 'Total Freedom'

Kathleen Edwards is back making music after a five-year break, and it was worth the wait. The songs on Total Freedom are lyrically delightful and melodically charming.

Television

HBO's 'Lovecraft Country' Is Heady, Poetic, and Mangled

Laying the everyday experience of Black life in 1950s America against Cthulhuian nightmares, Misha Green and Jordan Peele's Lovecraft Country suggests intriguing parallels that are often lost in its narrative dead-ends.

Music

Jaga Jazzist's 'Pyramid' Is an Earthy, Complex, Jazz-Fusion Throwback

On their first album in five years, Norway's Jaga Jazzist create a smooth but intricate pastiche of styles with Pyramid.

Music

Finding the Light: An Interview with Kathy Sledge

With a timeless voice that's made her the "Queen of Club Quarantine", Grammy-nominated vocalist Kathy Sledge opens up her "Family Room" and delivers new grooves with Horse Meat Disco.

Books

'Bigger Than History: Why Archaeology Matters'

On everything from climate change to gender identity, archaeologists offer vital insight into contemporary issues.

Film

'Avengers: Endgame' Culminates 2010's Pop Culture Phenomenon

Avengers: Endgame features all the expected trappings of a superhero blockbuster alongside surprisingly rich character resolutions to become the most crowd-pleasing finalés to a long-running pop culture series ever made.

Music

Max Richter's 'VOICES' Is an Awe-Inspiring and Heartfelt Soundscape

Choral singing, piano, synths, and an "upside-down" orchestra complement crowd-sourced voices from across the globe on Max Richter's VOICES. It rewards deep listening, and acts as a global rebuke against bigotry, extremism and authoritarianism.

Music

DYLYN Dares to "Find Myself" by Facing Fears and Life's Dark Forces (premiere + interview)

Shifting gears from aspiring electropop princess to rock 'n' rule dream queen, Toronto's DYLYN is re-examining her life while searching for truth with a new song and a very scary-good music video.

Music

JOBS Make Bizarre and Exhilarating Noise with 'endless birthdays'

Brooklyn experimental quartet JOBS don't have a conventional musical bone in their body, resulting in a thrilling, typically off-kilter new album, endless birthdays.

Music

​Nnamdï' Creates a Lively Home for Himself in His Mind on 'BRAT'

Nnamdï's BRAT is a labyrinth detailing the insular journey of a young, eclectic DIY artist who takes on the weighty responsibility of reaching a point where he can do what he loves for a living.

Music

Monte Warden and the Dangerous Few Play It Cool​

Austin's Monte Warden and the Dangerous Few perform sophisticatedly unsophisticated jazz/Americana that's perfect for these times

Music

Eleanor Underhill Takes Us to the 'Land of the Living' (album stream)

Eleanor Underhill's Land of the Living is a diverse album drawing on folk, pop, R&B, and Americana. It's an emotionally powerful collection that inspires repeated listens.

Music

How Hawkwind's First Voyage Helped Spearhead Space Rock 50 Years Ago

Hawkwind's 1970 debut opened the door to rock's collective sonic possibilities, something that connected them tenuously to punk, dance, metal, and noise.

Books

Graphic Novel 'Cuisine Chinoise' Is a Feast for the Eyes and the Mind

Lush art and dark, cryptic fables permeate Zao Dao's stunning graphic novel, Cuisine Chinoise.

Music

Alanis Morissette's 'Such Pretty Forks in the Road' Is a Quest for Validation

Alanis Morissette's Such Pretty Forks in the Road is an exposition of dolorous truths, revelatory in its unmasking of imperfection.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.