Never Let Go

Never Let Go is a 1960 British thriller film starring Richard Todd, Peter Sellers and Elizabeth Sellars.[1] It concerns a man's attempt to recover his stolen Ford Anglia car.[2] Sellers plays a London villain, in one of his rare straight roles.[3]

Never Let Go
Directed byJohn Guillermin
Produced byPeter de Sarigny
Written byAlun Falconer
Story byJohn Guillermin
Peter de Sarigny
StarringRichard Todd
Peter Sellers
Elizabeth Sellars
Adam Faith
Music byJohn Barry
CinematographyChristopher Challis
Edited byRalph Sheldon
Distributed byRank Films
Continental Distributing (USA)
MGM (2005, DVD)
Release date
  • 7 June 1960 (1960-06-07) (London, UK)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom


Lionel Meadows is a London garage owner who makes extra cash dealing in stolen cars. Meadows buys log books from scrapped models, then has other cars corresponding to the log books stolen and the number plates replaced. He gives a list of the latest batch to young petty thief Tommy Towers, which includes a 1959 Ford Anglia. The car Tommy steals belongs to struggling cosmetics salesman John Cummings, who needs the car to keep his job. Also, he did not insure the car against theft and becomes desperate to recover it.

Put onto Tommy by a street newspaper vendor, Alfie, who witnessed the crime, Cummings starts investigating the activities of Meadows and his associate Cliff. Meadows, disturbed by his inquiries, brutalises Alfie, who then commits suicide.

Despite being warned off by Meadows, who discovers Cummings investigating his garage and has him beaten up, Cummings persists in his attempts to recover the car, even after being warned off by the police. Then his wife, who is usually supportive, threatens to leave him and take the children away when Meadows threatens their daughter with a broken bottle. It emerges from their conversation afterwards that, since his demobilisation from the army, Cummings has failed at several enterprises because of poor judgment and not having persistence enough in his aims.

Cummings eventually finds that the weak link in Meadows' operation is his mistress Jackie, a teenage runaway whom Meadows continually threatens and abuses. Taking Jackie under his wing, Cummings sets out to prove that he is correct and that Meadows is a major criminal, stealing dozens of cars. He eventually convinces the police, but even then they lack interest in helping him recover his car. Cummings, who has vowed never to let go this time, decides to take matters into his own hands. Meadows, meanwhile, has panicked and quarrelled with his crooked associates, but is equally obsessed with keeping the stolen Ford and lies in wait for Cummings when he again breaks into the garage. This time Cummings is the winner after a violent fight and, when the police are called by Tommy and Jackie, Meadows is arrested.

The battered Cummings returns home to find the flat empty but his wife returns as he is sitting there despondently and puts her arms around him.



Critical reception to Never Let Go was mixed. A 1963 review of the film in The New York Times was unfavourable, describing Sellers "grinding his way through the rubble of a drearily routine plot" and attributed his performance in the film, different from his usual comedic roles, to "That itch to play Hamlet, I suppose; a desire to change his pace, which Mr. Sellers has often proclaimed he likes to do".[5] Sellers was unhappy with the reception that he received; this reputedly led him to decide that, in future, he would stick to comic roles. (His lead role in Waltz of the Toreadors is certainly comedic, although the film itself is best described as a drama.)

Several other players in Never Let Go also made their reputations in comedy, for example Peter Jones who plays Richard Todd's ruthless boss.

Some critics were more impressed with the film. One noted that "John Guillermin's direction is taut and has a degree of flair"[6] whilst another praised the "persuasive" performances of Todd and Sellers.[7]


Much of the action takes place in Chichester Place, Paddington; the Victory Cafe exterior shots were taken outside the corner shop at 2a Kinnaird Street. This and surrounding streets, which were also a location for scenes in The Blue Lamp (1950), were demolished in 1965 to make way for the Warwick Estate major housing redevelopment adjacent to Little Venice.


Never Let Go was released to DVD by MGM Home Video on 7 June 2005, as a Region 1 fullscreen DVD.


  1. "Never Let Go (1960)".
  2. "BFI Screenonline: Never Let Go (1960)".
  3. "Never Let Go (1960) - John Guillermin - Review - AllMovie".
  4. Hall, Unity (6 July 1960). "How Adam Rocks His Eves". The Australian Women's Weekly. National Library of Australia. p. 38 Supplement: Teenagers' Weekly. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  5. Bosley Crowther (15 June 1963). "Never Let Go (1960)". New York Times. login required
  6. Never Let Go at
  7. Never Let Go at Time Out, London
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