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Agatha Christie's Endless Night

3.4 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Hayley Mills stars as a wealthy heiress who marries her mysterious yet ambitious chauffeur. Searching for their "dream house," the couple move into a palatial country estate that is rumored to be cursed. But when murder begins to make itself at home, the stage is set for a stunning climax that even hardcore Christie fans consider one of her most surprising - and shocking-twists ever. George Sanders, Britt Ekland, Per Oscarsson, Hywel Bennett and Lois Maxwell costar in this dark and gripping mystery thriller, masterfully adapted from the novel that Agatha Christie considered one of her personal favorites.

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True-blue Agatha Christie fans know better than anyone that the creator of Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot did not always write crime-solving procedurals. Endless Night, published in 1968, is a perfect example of the moody, psychological thriller Christie sometimes explored, particularly in the late years of her career. This 1972 adaptation, scripted and directed by seasoned British filmmaker Sidney Gilliat, is indeed a strange duck: a compelling tale of small, unsettling phenomena and events, but with no defining mystery, no apparent crime to pull the details together--not until quite late in the story, that is. Hayley Mills and Hywel Bennett, partnered together in several films (The Family Way, Twisted Nerve) during the 1960s and '70s, play an American heiress and an underemployed London chauffeur who marry and move into a dream house designed for them by a world-class architect (Per Oscarsson). In short order, things begin to get mighty weird. A crazy old woman stomps around the couple's property, whispering ambiguous warnings. The bride's nuisance of a sister (Britt Ekland) moves in, and a handful of disapproving relatives keep popping up to belittle the hero. Where this is all leading is entirely unexpected--Christie and Gilliat really have us falling without a parachute for a while--yet it's exciting and tragic all at once. Nice performances all around, with special admiration for Oscarsson's role as the dying architect. --Tom Keogh

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Hayley Mills, Hywel Bennett, Britt Ekland, George Sanders, Per Oscarsson
  • Directors: Sidney Gilliat
  • Producers: Sidney Gilliat, Frank Launder
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: LIONSGATE
  • DVD Release Date: March 8, 2012
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000059LGD
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,474 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Agatha Christie's Endless Night" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. Cook on February 9, 2002
Format: DVD
Before I discuss the film itself, I have to mention Bernard Herrmann's classic score. At a time in his career when mainstream Hollywood turned its back on Herrmann, smaller, independent or British films embraced this veteran of the studio system days. And here, in "Endless Night," Herrmann did some of his best, most mature work. The score is amazing, a symphony of synthesizers and orchestral music as only Herrmann could put together. And who could forget Shirley Jones (dubbing for Hayley Mills) singing the title song adapted from the William Blake poem? It is a lovely piece and deserves to be sung in concert venues. Alas, this brilliant score--reflective of Herrmann's maturity and mastery of film music--is unavailable on CD. So here, on DVD, you can hear it in the best form it has been available in for a long time.
As for the film itself, it doesn't ever reach the level of pathos and sad beauty of Herrmann's score, but it does have a memorable style all its own. The script is competent, even inspired at times, and the whole thing feels less like Agatha Christie and more like the murky thriller territory Hitchcock worked in. Hayley Mills is charming and lovely in her role; her presence here makes one wish to see more of this actress as an adult. She has been criminally underused in film, but she adds grace and warmth to these proceedings (the warmth being especially welcome in this somewhat cold film). Hywel Bennet is competent in his role, and Britt Ekland is less out-of-place in this movie than in others I've seen her in. (Is it just me or does dear Britt always seemed dubbed in every film she's in? Do they have to loop every one of her lines?
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Format: VHS Tape
"ENDLESS NIGHT" Is this the best Agatha Christie film? Many of her hard-core fans think so.
Maybe it's because it's not so much a "who dunnit" but rather a "when's it gonna happen"?
Christie herself is said to have disliked this film version because of the brief nudity. (Bloody murder didn't phase her. How veddy British.)
Hayley Mills, who may have been bulimic during her Disney years, looks stunning (borderline anorexic?) in the part of Ellie, a lovely, lonely and very wealthy heiress (is there any other kind?) who falls in love with a poor chauffeur. Her marriage with someone far below her station is a cause of great apprehension to her family. But we root for the vulnerable newlyweds, who move into a palatial country estate said to be cursed (is there any other kind?), because we know love conquers all.
As you might guess, there is a stunning plot twist at the climax that is truly shocking. It got me and I'm jaded!
George Sanders, Britt Ekland, Per Oscarsson and Lois Maxwell co-star in this dark tale with a 70's ambience. The great music score is by legendary composer Bernard Herrmann. Even though Hayley lip-syncs Shirley Jones' title song, I'm still not sure what "Endless Night" really means. Sydney Gilliat wrote the screenplay and directed. (UK, Color, Widescreen, 99 Minutes, Not Rated, 1972)
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Format: DVD
" ... und doon't fourgett mah green sheeld stahmps!"

(My title comes from a line a Scottish customer says to our protagonist, Mike, while we see him at work at a filling station.)

I read the book "Endless Night" a couple years back ... it was my former girlfriend and now fiancée's very favorite Agatha Christie novel, and she gave it to me to read as soon as she was done. I found it a most unusual book ... very unlike the other works of her's that I had read, and a couple of months after I'd finished it I began to wonder if there might have been a movie based on it. Though I didn't expect there to be, I was surprised to discover that there was ... Amazon wasn't selling it at the time, and so I managed to snag a new copy of of eBay for a very reasonable price. My girlfriend and I watched the DVD very soon afterward, and we had rather differing opinions ... My girlfriend was less than enchanted, disliking the dated seventies-ness in particular, but I on the other hand enjoyed the film very much, for a number of reasons.

First off, as other reviewers have said here already, it's very reminiscent of the work of one of my very favorite filmmakers (if not my very favorite), Alfred Hitchcock. The fact that Bernard Herrmann, a favorite composer of Hitchcock's, created the score for this helps support that feeling considerably ("Endless Night" was, by the way, released the same year as Hitchcock's penultimate film, "Frenzy"). Great music ... very atmospheric, eerie, and evocative.

The second reason why this movie is so good has really to do with the story, which can of course be credited to Mrs. Christie.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This 1970's movie is based on Agatha Christie's powerful and chilling novel of the same name--and apart from a few minor details, very little has been changed, which is pleasing as this is one of the Queen of Crime's most perfect stories and to monkey about with it would have been both unforgivable and unnecessary. The story is told in the engaging and direct voice of Mike, a young man who loves beauty but is too poor to realise his dreams--until the daty he meets beautiful, elfin Ellie who turns out to be an American heiress. The pair fall in love, marry and go to live on their lovely property, Gipsy's Acre, which Mike loves almost as much as he loves Ellie. For a time, it seems like Paradise--but the snake is already there, and soon, things begin to unravel. When death strikes suddenly, nothing will ever be the same again..
Born to sweet delight or endless night: that is at the heart of this haunting, frightening and extraordinary story, and the film faithfully recreates that atmosphere of foreboding and doom, as well as the sense of the fragility of beauty and happiness. Though at times it's a trifle hammily acted(i'd have given this film 4 and a half stars if I could--the half taken away for some rather leaden acting at times) the story is so powerful it overcomes that, and the result is a film that's not only watchable but quite haunting as well.
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