Never Let Me Go (1953)

93-94 mins | Drama | 1 May 1953

Director:

Delmer Daves

Producer:

Clarence Brown

Cinematographer:

Robert Krasker

Editor:

Frank Clarke

Production Designer:

Alfred Junge

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Two If by Sea . The film begins with voice-over narration spoken by the character "Philip Sutherland" as stock footage of the Victory Day parade in Moscow is shown. According to a 2 Oct 1951 HR news item, Gig Young was originally cast as Clark Gable's co-star, and Mar and May 1952 items in HR 's "Rambling Reporter" column name both Cyd Charisse and Shelley Winters as candidates for the role of "Marya Lamarkina." A 29 Jul 1952 HR news item includes Stephen Longnecker in the cast, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Richard Haydn and Anna Valentina, who portrayed a husband and wife in the film, were married in real life. Never Let Me Go was their first American film together.
       In addition to filming at London's Elstree Studios, some scenes in the picture were shot on location in Cornwall, England. The following excerpt from The Book of Common Prayer is recited in the film: "They that go down to the sea in ships: and occupy their business in great waters; These men see the works of the Lord: and His wonders in the deep." According to information in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, Never Let Me Go was banned in India, presumably "in keeping with the government's avowed policy of enforcing rigid censorship on all films with an anti-Soviet or anti-Communist theme." In her autobiography, Gene Tierney stated that Russian ballerina Natalie Leslie doubled for her in the long shots. ... More Less

The working title of this film was Two If by Sea . The film begins with voice-over narration spoken by the character "Philip Sutherland" as stock footage of the Victory Day parade in Moscow is shown. According to a 2 Oct 1951 HR news item, Gig Young was originally cast as Clark Gable's co-star, and Mar and May 1952 items in HR 's "Rambling Reporter" column name both Cyd Charisse and Shelley Winters as candidates for the role of "Marya Lamarkina." A 29 Jul 1952 HR news item includes Stephen Longnecker in the cast, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Richard Haydn and Anna Valentina, who portrayed a husband and wife in the film, were married in real life. Never Let Me Go was their first American film together.
       In addition to filming at London's Elstree Studios, some scenes in the picture were shot on location in Cornwall, England. The following excerpt from The Book of Common Prayer is recited in the film: "They that go down to the sea in ships: and occupy their business in great waters; These men see the works of the Lord: and His wonders in the deep." According to information in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, Never Let Me Go was banned in India, presumably "in keeping with the government's avowed policy of enforcing rigid censorship on all films with an anti-Soviet or anti-Communist theme." In her autobiography, Gene Tierney stated that Russian ballerina Natalie Leslie doubled for her in the long shots. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
4 Apr 1953.
---
Daily Variety
25 Mar 53
p. 3.
Film Daily
26 Mar 53
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Oct 51
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Mar 52
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
1 May 52
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jun 52
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jul 52
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Aug 52
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Aug 52
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Mar 53
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
16 May 1953.
---
Motion Picture Daily
27 May 1953.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
4 Apr 53
p. 1781.
New York Times
11 Jun 53
p. 37.
New Yorker
20 Jun 1953.
---
Variety
25 Mar 53
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond by
SOUND
Rec dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Photog eff
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Came the Dawn by Roger Bax (London, 1949).
MUSIC
Selections from the ballet Swan Lake by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Two If by Sea
Release Date:
1 May 1953
Production Date:
mid June--27 August 1952 at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Boreham Wood, Elstree, England
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
1 April 1953
Copyright Number:
LP2484
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
93-94
Length(in feet):
8,426
Length(in reels):
10
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16234
SYNOPSIS

After witnessing the Victory Day festivities in Moscow's Red Square, American reporter Philip Sutherland attends a command performance of Swan Lake by the Bolshoi Ballet with his friend, broadcast journalist Steve Quillan. Backstage, Philip gazes at ballerina Marya Lamarkina, whom he has tried unsuccessfully to court for two years. To his surprise, Marya reveals that she has been learning English so she could declare her love for Philip, and expresses a desire to marry him and return to San Francisco with him. The next day, Philip and Marya call on the U.S. ambassador, who warns them that Marya may have trouble obtaining an exit visa. Although they have no guarantee that they will be together beyond the remaining six months of Philip's assignment, the lovers are married in the American Embassy. While honeymooning in the Baltic resort town of Tallin, they meet Englishman Christopher Wellington St. John Denny, who is married to Marya's friend, Svetlana Mikhailovna. Christopher relates that he met his wife when she translated for him at a state banquet during the war, and says he plans to take her to his home in Cornwall once her exit visa comes through. However, when Christopher is apprehended by Soviet security agents for taking photographs on the beach, he is expelled from Russia, and the pregnant Svetlana's visa application is denied. Philip and Marya look after Svetlana, who gives birth to a son in their apartment. Philip soon learns that he will be transferred out of the country in the wake of heightening Cold War tensions, and dedicates himself to securing Marya's visa. At the airport, however, Marya is detained by ... +


After witnessing the Victory Day festivities in Moscow's Red Square, American reporter Philip Sutherland attends a command performance of Swan Lake by the Bolshoi Ballet with his friend, broadcast journalist Steve Quillan. Backstage, Philip gazes at ballerina Marya Lamarkina, whom he has tried unsuccessfully to court for two years. To his surprise, Marya reveals that she has been learning English so she could declare her love for Philip, and expresses a desire to marry him and return to San Francisco with him. The next day, Philip and Marya call on the U.S. ambassador, who warns them that Marya may have trouble obtaining an exit visa. Although they have no guarantee that they will be together beyond the remaining six months of Philip's assignment, the lovers are married in the American Embassy. While honeymooning in the Baltic resort town of Tallin, they meet Englishman Christopher Wellington St. John Denny, who is married to Marya's friend, Svetlana Mikhailovna. Christopher relates that he met his wife when she translated for him at a state banquet during the war, and says he plans to take her to his home in Cornwall once her exit visa comes through. However, when Christopher is apprehended by Soviet security agents for taking photographs on the beach, he is expelled from Russia, and the pregnant Svetlana's visa application is denied. Philip and Marya look after Svetlana, who gives birth to a son in their apartment. Philip soon learns that he will be transferred out of the country in the wake of heightening Cold War tensions, and dedicates himself to securing Marya's visa. At the airport, however, Marya is detained by the police after Philip has already boarded the plane, and he is forced to return to America without her. Philip tries in vain to be reassigned to Moscow but is banned by Russian authorities. After his sympathetic editor, John Barnes, gives him an assignment in London, Philip visits Christopher, who gives him some letters from Marya that Steve had smuggled out of the country. Determined to rescue their wives, Philip buys a Dutch sailing boat and proposes to Christopher that they sail to Tallin, where the Bolshoi will be touring. Christopher declines, saying that he is willing to risk his own life but not his child's. Under the tutelage of boat man Joe Brooks, Philip devotes all his energy to learning how to be a sailor, and Joe offers to accompany him on the voyage. On the day they are to depart, Christopher comes to the dock ready to join them, having recently learned that his son has died of a fever. The three men set sail, stopping in Stockholm to meet with Steve, who agrees to pass messages to the women and devises a code by which he will communicate with Philip through his radio broadcasts. They continue their voyage, and when the Tallin coastline is in sight, Philip and Christopher row out in a dinghy to meet their wives, as arranged through Steve. Only Svetlana swims out to meet them, however, explaining that the Bolshoi added a special performance that night, and Marya is still at the theater. Philip instructs Christopher to take Svetlana back to the boat and have Joe return in the dinghy in three hours. Philip then swims ashore, steals a uniform from a medical corps officer and goes to the theater. After calling Marya backstage, Philip sits in the audience and watches yearningly as his wife dances the lead role in Swan Lake . While taking her bows, Marya faints, and Philip is brought backstage to examine her. He carries her out of the theater, but as they drive away, dancer Valentina Alexandrovna identifies the "doctor" as Philip, and the officers pursue them. Philip speeds toward the bay and drives the car off the end of the pier. He and Marya quietly swim out to the dinghy, and embrace passionately as Joe rows them to safety. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.