Saturday, February 13, 2010

"Never Say Goodbye" and the excellence of owning testicles

Title: Never Say Goodbye
Released: 1956
Genre: Sappy pap suitable for a Harlequin romance
Notable for: A complete absence of masculine appeal
Clint's subliminal message: "I'm playing a lab assistant? Again?"

At the heart of the Clint Eastwood Project, now recognized for advanced scholarship by the Library of Congress and the Royal Society of Dudes (London), is a scientific desire to explore all facets of manliness.

And then we must watch "Never Say Goodbye." It's like dialling 911 and asking for paramedics to give us vaginas.

No gunshots. No fights. No monsters or villains. No conflict except the emotional struggle between a noble but wronged wife and a decent but jealous husband.

"It's just a soap opera," Andrew said 15 minutes into the film. He was absolutely right. A stupid, shitty soap opera with a plot divorced from real-world possibility. This sentence from the movie poster says all we care to explain about the plot: "Only in the arms of the man who had shamed her could she win back the love of the child he had stolen!"

Clint's part in his fifth movie appearance is another uncredited bit role. It comes just a few minutes into the film and gives him about 20 seconds of screen time. He's a lab assistant named Will who delivers two lines to the star, Rock Hudson. "Telephone, Dr. Parker," Clint says. And then a few seconds later, "Good luck with your speech, sir." That's it.

Only two interesting things happened in the 95 minutes and 40 seconds Clint was not onscreen.

The first interesting thing was when the leading lady looked at Hudson and exclaimed brightly: "Hamburg is the gayest city in Germany!"

Second on the list of interesting things was the casting of Shelley Fabares at age 11 or 12. She went on to play lots of roles over several decades, including the coach's wife on the TV show "Coach." Fabares also sang the sappy but evidently timeless 1962 hit "Johnny Angel."

Besides that, the movie was deadly dull. It may not be the worst of the first films of Clint's career, but it is the most boring for anyone in search of masculine excitement.

Some people enjoy movies built around feelings. Feelings like jealousy and regret. Those people are called women. (Although we hesitate to call this a chick flick out of fear of insulting the intelligence of every female alive in 1956.)

We, on the other hand, enjoy movies built around events. Events like murder, explosions and bloody acts of revenge and justice. For that we offer no apology. We say only this: Thank you, God, for the testicles. Those things are nice to own.

Next up: "Star in the Dust."

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