Agatha Christie's Endless Night (1971) DVDRip (SiRiUs sHaRe).avi
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Agatha Christie's Endless Night (1971)
A young man (Bennet) dreams of owning of piece of land and gets his chance when he meets a troubled heiress (Mills) and they fall in love and marry. He has problems though with both her family and with her mysterious friend/former governess "Greta" (played by Britt Ekland). When the heiress is murdered suspicion falls on him, but there are some interesting twists near the end.
Hayley Mills ... Fenella 'Ellie' Thomsen
Hywel Bennett ... Michael Rogers
Britt Ekland ... Greta
George Sanders ... Andrew Lippincott
David Bauer ... Uncle Frank
Peter Bowles ... Reuben Brown
Geoffrey Chater ... Coroner
Patience Collier ... Miss Townsend
Windsor Davies ... Sergeant Reene
Mischa De La Motte ... Maynard
Walter Gotell ... Constantine
David Healy ... Jason
Director: Sidney Gilliat
Codecs: DivX 5 / MP3
One of the rare, gratifying occasions when a mediocre book is transformed by experts into a first-rate, memorable movie. "Endless Night" was one of Agatha Christie's last novels--also one of her least satisfying. A macabre romance about a wealthy young American heiress (the glorious Hayley Mills in a mesmerizing, haunting performance) who falls in love with and impulsively marries her sexy albeit mysterious chauffeur (the wonderfully versatile Hywell Bennett who teamed with Ms. Mills in two previous films, the tender comedic drama "The Family Way" and the still-shocking psychosexual thriller "The Twisted Nerve").
The happy lovebirds build their dreamhouse (still an architectural wonder) in England's remote Lake District (lusciously photographed in stunning Technicolor), away from the prying eyes of her avaricious relatives, and their tenderly rendered love story seems headed for a deserved happy ending--until the final reel suddenly reveals a totally unexpected twist that I guarantee will astound even the most astute mystery buff, and leave the hapless viewer in a state of shaken anxiety and sadness. Such an unusual denoument didn't work on the printed page; on film it's a bona fide shocker, thanks to the mastery of its two leads, a knockout turn by the stunning Britt Ekland (as one of Ms. Mills' parasitic relatives), the expert direction by Sidney Gilliatt, and the magificently eerie soundtrack by Bernard Herrmann, no less. "Endless Night" was never released theatrically in the U.S. Properly promoted, it would have made a boxoffice killing. I caught its American premiere on a pay-cable station, expecting nothing (the book was hopeless) and, much to my amazement, finding myself enthralled by this classy artistic treat. Psychological thrillers don't come any better than "Endless Night," which lulls the viewer into a state of bliss not unlike its romantic leads--until the startlingly savage twist ends the film with a disturbing (and heartbreaking) resonance. Hywell Bennett and the grown-up Hayley Mills were two of the finest (not to mention comeliest) young British actors of the late '60s and early '70s, and "Endless Night" might well be their most memorable hour-and-a-half. A must-see for mystery buffs; highly recommended for everyone else.
The last film made by the illustrious Launder & Gilliat team is a psycho-thriller that desperately wants to be praised as "Hitchcockian" and even recruits Bernard Herrmann, Hitch's favourite composer, to write the score. Perhaps the Hitchcock film it most resembles, however, is "Frenzy" – both seem to be the work of ageing filmmakers trying to get "with it".
"Endless Night" is extremely faithful to Agatha Christie's source novel (it may be the closest-ever filming of one of her novels) but neither of the two protagonists seem to come across with the same conviction that they do in the book. Hayley Mills struggles with a difficult part (Ellie is a fairly insipid character) while Hywel Bennett somehow never convinces as the enigmatic Michael.
There's lots of fun spotting familiar faces in the supporting cast, including an uncredited Nicholas Courtney (the Brigadier from "Doctor Who") as the auctioneer. Per Oscarsson is good as the insightful architect Santonix, who guesses something of what is going on, although our admiration for him is lessened by the hideously vulgar house he builds (which all the characters acclaim as a masterpiece!) I can't help wondering what Dame Agatha's loyal fans made of this film; the setting in an idyllic corner of rural England is traditional enough but the atmosphere is a great deal darker than usual. The novel, written in 1967, represented quite a bold departure for the writer (and a successful one) but the film at times descends into banality. Having said that, the twee nature of Ellie and Michael's romance gives the conclusion much more impact and the final images are startling.
Endless Night is one of those movies that is hugely flawed, and yet it sticks in the mind unlike many more polished movies. Extremely slow paced for much of it's length and with several sequences that feel almost unnecessary, and even a few which just seem wierd, the film than delivers a true knock out of a twist which makes one realise how well the story has been constructed. For this reason, in some respect it's more satisfying to watch the second time even if one is no longer surprised, because one can notice all the little clues that have been put in ,and many of the previously mentioned unnecessary or wierd bits seem more essential. There is, though, one huge red herring that seems rather pointless.
This was the last of the Hywell Bennett/Hayley Mills collaborations for the Boulting Brothers and it is possibly their most interesting. Cast are all excellent ,including George Sanders in one of his final roles, and this is just as well since the film is indeed extremely talky. The alternately eerie and romantic Bernard Herrmann score is very memorable, although they could have made sure Mills' singing voice [obviously dubbed] sounded like her normal voice.
Many will be unsatisfied with this film ,but try it if you fancy a somewhat different kind of thriller, even it's only really a thriller in the final half hour!
* The lyrics Hayley Mills sings to Bernard Hermann's song are from William Blake's "Auguries of Innocence" (ca. 1803). "Every morn and every night Some to misery are born. Every morn and every night Some are born to sweet delight. Some are born to sweet delight, Some are born to endless night."