Air Date: Feb. 28, 1973 (ABC)
Production Companies: Silverton Productions, Universal Television
Running Time: 73 min.
Available on: YouTube
Written by: William Wood and Gerald Di Pego
From the short story by: Cornell Woolrich
Directed by: Jeannot Szwarc
Cast: David Hartman, Jane Wyatt, Ralph Meeker, Jess Walton, Joseph Campanella, Colby Chester, Bo Svenson (uncredited)
Director Jeannot Szwarc has a style that always seems “slow” to me. For example, among their other flaws, his big-screen efforts like Jaws 2 (1978) and Supergirl (1984) are just a little too long and sluggish for me. I love Somewhere in Time (1980), but nobody is going to call it a fast-moving film.
One of Szwarc’s many small screen efforts, You’ll Never See Me Again (1973), suffers from this phenomenon, as well. Every scene seems long and drawn out. Ned Bliss (David Hartman) and his wife, Vicki (Jess Walton), don’t just have an argument. They argue the same points over and over again.
Granted, some of this could be due to William Wood and Gerald Di Pego, who wrote the teleplay; however, I don’t think I’d blame the writer of the original short story, Cornell Woolrich (aka William Irish.) He was a prolific author of noir that includes film adaptations such as The Leopard Man (1943), Rear Window (1954), and The Bride Wore Black (1968.)
Nevertheless, I really liked You’ll Never See Me Again. It’s severely flawed with Hartman’s performance and leaps in believability; however, it’s entertaining. Overall, it’s a compelling story and the pace eventually establishes an atmosphere. There are some suspenseful scenes and even one moment that affected me like a jump scare.
After the aforementioned argument, Vicki storms out of the house screaming at her husband, “You’ll never see me again!” When she then disappears, we (as well as the cops, led by Lieutenant John Stillman, played by Joseph Campanella) think she may have just left him for good. Then, the movie presents several other options to explain her whereabouts.
Is she cheating on Ned’s buddy in the construction business? Did she take a bus to visit her estranged mother, Mary Alden (Jane Wyatt) and her stepfather, Will (Ralph Meeker)? Did she get picked up by a hitchhiker? Did Sam from the gas station (uncredited Bo Svenson) abduct her? While Ned is the number one suspect, he frantically performs his own investigation.
The ending is outrageous and includes an unanticipated twist. However, that’s what makes these 1970s TV movies so much fun. As I wrote about another one of them, the crazier they are, the more entertaining they usually are. If You’ll Never See Me Again didn’t pack its punches at the end, it would easily be forgotten, and I’d never see it again.
Visit the TV Terror Guide: 70's TV Movies playlist at ClassicHorrors.Club TV on YouTube to watch You’ll Never See Me Again as well as other great movies from this series...