6.0/10
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47 user 18 critic

Endless Night (1972)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Horror | 5 October 1972 (UK)
Based on an Agatha Christie suspense novel; a newly-wed couple are threatened after building their dream home on cursed land.

Director:

Sidney Gilliat

Writers:

Agatha Christie (novel), Sidney Gilliat (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Hayley Mills ... Ellie Thomsen
Hywel Bennett ... Michael Rogers
Britt Ekland ... Greta
Per Oscarsson ... Santonix
George Sanders ... Andrew Lippincott
Aubrey Richards Aubrey Richards ... Dr. Philpott
Ann Way ... Mrs. Philpott
Patience Collier ... Miss Townsend
Peter Bowles ... Reuben
Lois Maxwell ... Cora
David Bauer ... Uncle Frank
Helen Horton ... Aunt Beth
Madge Ryan ... Michael's Mother
Windsor Davies ... Sgt. Keene
Walter Gotell ... Constantine
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Storyline

Michael Rogers is a chauffeur with little money, but big dreams. Foremost of these is building his dream house on the perfect piece of land. Michael gets his chance when his new girlfriend, Ellie, turns out to be an extremely wealthy heiress. The two are wed and are soon living in a modern home on Gipsy's Acre. Their idyllic life shatters around them with a series of bizarre events and threats. Micheal comes under the disapproving eye of both Ellie's greedy family and her interfering best-friend Greta. On top of that, local legend says their property is cursed. What danger lurks for the young newlyweds, and is it a human plot or something supernatural? Written by L. Hamre

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Victim... or killer?


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 October 1972 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Agatha Christie's Endless Night See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This British film was much more popular in Italy than in Britain. Director Sidney Gilliat expressed admiration for the Italian title - which translates as "Champagne After The Funeral" - and wished he had thought of it for a British title. See more »

Goofs

Greta (Britt Ekland's character) is shown floating in the indoor pool, face down and naked. She was wearing underwear immediately before her death. See more »

Quotes

Lippincott: [introducing himself] I am that figure of fiction, the family lawyer.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Agatha Christie: A Woman of Mystery (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Endless Night
(uncredited)
Sung by Shirley Jones
[The song Ellie (Hayley Mills) sings while she plays the piano, and played during the end credits]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Anomalous dark Christie romance/mystery
3 October 2005 | by rmax304823See all my reviews

How old was Agatha Christie when she wrote this? Pushing 70? She was pretty old, about my age, and that might account for the tragic emotional tonus of this story.

You wouldn't know this was a Christie story if it weren't so advertised. True, there are some of the usual themes -- British class distinctions, extreme wealth, jealousy, poison -- but they are submerged by a love story that seems at first to be going nowhere fast. The story lacks any of the novelist's usual subtle wit.

No point in spelling out the plot in any detail. A poor chauffeur-for-hire meets a blond sylph and they fall for each other. He discovers that she is the sixth richest girl in the world, her coming-of-age party having been covered in the newspapers, and he rejects her because, as he says, "I have my pride." (The audience may be forgiven for a few muffled chuckles at this point.) She dies under mysterious circumstances while riding. In these circles, "riding" is taken to mean horseback riding. He inherits the money. And things thereafter go a little berserk without there being a hell of a lot in the way of motivation.

The film is narrated by the young man, Michael (Bennett). At first his story seems perfectly reasonable and he is presented as a fellow of principle if not money. Hayley Mills is introduced in a filmy white dress, her long blonde hair wafted by the breeze as she capers alone in a meadow, slender limbs, radiantly healthy, and -- well, you know the type. Eminently edible. But Michael's story, though it begins normally enough, describing the approach-avoidance conflict from which he suffers, being in love with Mills and yet resenting her wealth, gradually changes.

He becomes less and less reasonable, and less nice. He's impolite to Greta (Eklund), Mills' tutor and possessive friend. Greta is often described as "bossy" but frankly her supposed obsession with power isn't well shown. There is just one argument -- a slightly bitchy one -- between Greta and Michael over the placement of a more than usually ugly statue of a cat. What evidence we see of her bossiness is rather weak tea. If they're going to have a domineering German nurse, couldn't the nurse and Hayley Mills have had a little consensual flagellation or something? The climax seems to come out of thin air. A sudden unmotivated reversal of the character of Michael.

It's not a bad movie though. Romance, yes, but a romance filled somehow with uneasiness and a gradually growing sense of dread. And when I first watched this and heard the first few notes of the score, I thought, "OMG, the composer is ripping off Bernard Hermann note for note." It turned out to BE Hermann, and a very effective Hermann at that, full of an eerie melancholy.

Maybe the reason it leaves a viewer feeling sad is that Christie seems to be stretching her talent so much trying to achieve "significance." And for the first time I'm aware of, we actually care about the character who dies, whereas in previous stories the victim was nothing more than a stereotype who, once gone, was forgotten. The death was only a pivot on which the remainder of the story could turn. Here, it's really too bad.


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