The problem is not with the code you use. If the form is bound to a data source (table or query) and if it allows editing, this is the normal behaviour in Access.
If you do not allow editing in the form (form property AllowEdits set to False, form property RecordsetType set to Snapshot or controls property Locked set to True), you won't be able to modify the values displayed in the controls.
For what you're looking for you must use an unbound form or a bound form with the controls not bound to the fields of the form recordset (i.e., controls with the ControlSource property left empty). In both case you must write VBA code to transfer the data from the data source to the controls, and from the controls to the data source when you press the Save button you're talking about.
so i got some free time and started to build a form to the way you suggested. now i notice that the filter by form button is grayed out (not usable) on my toolbar. Is this feature not possible when a form is built in this fashion?