Films during the 1940s and into the 1950s screamed America and American morals and values. Sometimes I really do not mind them I understand the time periods I know that in the 1940s we were in World War II and American moral was very high and then during the 1950s we entered the Cold War with Russia. Other times I want to scream bloody murder and say “ENOUGH ALREADY!!!”. Never Let Me Go with Clark Gable and Gene Tierney could have been one of those American moral film against the Russians from the 1950s that would have pissed me off but the story was very good and very moving that I found myself liking it.
Philip Sutherland (Gable) is a news correspondent who has been stationed in Russia since the end of the War. He has met and fell with a Russian ballerina named Marya Lamarkina (Tierney). She has fallen in love with him and learns English just for him. They truly love each other and want to get married. They do marry but they are immediately put to the test when it seems like they will only have six months to live together because the Soviet Union will most likely not issue Marya with an exit visa.
On their honeymoon they meet a former British tank officer named Denny and his Russian wife Svetlana who is also friends with Marya. Denny gets deported because he took pictures of his wife on the coast of a beach and Russian officials did not like that. Svetlana and their infant son are left behind because they could not get exit visas. Philip and Marya take care of Svetlana and the baby. Before too long Philip is sent back to the United States. After much begging, pleading and searching he finds someone who gives their approval for an exit visa. Marya and Philip are about to board the plane when Marya is held back as the plane takes off.
Philip’s situation is not the only one several other men who have Russian wives are trying everything they can to get them into the United States with them. Philip is sent on another assignment to England on purpose because a Russian official will be there. The official does not even want to meet with Philip and all seems lost. He visits Denny at his home in Cornwall. He patiently waits for his wife and son to come to live in England with him. They have a friend named Steve who runs a radio broadcast in Russia. Steve has been sending Denny and Philip their wives letters.
Philip gets an idea to learn how to captain a boat to sail into the coastal town of Talinn to get Marya and Sveltana. At first Denny does not want to go because he has his son to think of but then he gets a letter saying that his son has died and he never got to see him. Philip, Denny, and a sailor named Joe take a sailboat and sail to Talinn. Steve gives them messages through his radio program about where Svetlana and Marya will be. In a slip near Talinn the men are almost caught and arrested by Russian officials but they manage to get away when they out drink the officials.
At the barge where girls are to meet their husbands only Svetlana arrives. She tells Philip that Marya could not give away she had a performance she could not get away from since the General was to be at the show that night. Philip desperate to get his wife back, swims to shore steals a lieutenant’s uniform, and walks to the theater. He gets in touch with Marya telling him he will take her away after the show. The plan almost works until one of the other ballerinas recognizes him and informs the police.
It is a close chase and getaway but they manage to get back to the boat and away from Russia.
I really liked all the main characters and there truly was not a bad performance by any of the actors either main or extra. This was probably one of my favorite Clark Gable roles. He was not the macho man who needed to learn how to love or teach the woman how to be a woman he was just a regular guy who wanted his wife back and did all he could to see her again. He was older by this time but he was still a great daring leading man he did a great job. Gene Tierney was nothing but gorgeous and perfect. To make her character even more believable the director/producer/studio allowed her speak with a Russian accent (back in the 30s and 40s studios would not let their lead actors/actresses speak with accents for their characters). Tierney did a great job as well. Gable and Tierney had great chemistry together in their few scenes they were very believable.
Never Let Me Go was a very good film. The direction by Delmer Davis and the cinematography were excellent. I was afraid once I found out the plot of the story that it would get on my nerves since it is such an American view but it leaves you feeling terrible for the husbands and the wives as well that you want them to get out of evil Russia. What Philip and Denny could not grasp was how could a government come between a husband and wife and not let them be together and that is what I liked about the story because I cannot even imagine going through that and the thought of the husbands and wives being separated like that is so sad. Never Let Me Go is currently available on Youtube and I highly suggest seeing it as soon as you can.