Endless Night (1971)

ENDLESS NIGHT (1971)
(a.k.a. AGATHA CHRISTIE’S ENDLESS NIGHT)
Article #1504 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-27-2005
Posting Date: 9-24-2005
Directed by Sidney Gilliat
Featuring Hayley Mills, Hywel Bennett, Britt Ekland

A poor man with an eye for beautiful things and great art meets a rich young woman who falls in love with him. They marry against the wishes of her relatives, and she buys a plot of land so he can have a famous architect build a dream house on the site. And then…

Though mysteries are closely aligned with horror movies, I’ve had little call to review movies based on the works of Agatha Christie, largely because her stories are really light on anything resembling horror content. This is only the second so far; the first, AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, got by on its similarities to certain ‘old dark house’ thrillers, and this one has the theme of madness cropping up, as well as a couple of jarring images that border on the horrific.

You’ll notice that the plot description is fairly vague and unexciting. This was done on purpose; to have revealed more would have resulted in a barrage of spoilers. It also somewhat reflects the feel of the movie; if you hadn’t seen the name of Agatha Christie in the opening credits, you might well have wondered what kind of movie you stumbled into here. In short, the central murder doesn’t happen until the movie is nearly three-quarters of the way through; everything before that is set-up. How you react to this movie may well depend on how patient you are; those expecting a fast-paced thriller will definitely be disappointed. However, the final twists are doozies, and there’s plenty of satisfaction to be found for those willing to sit back after the movie is over and dwell on the events to see how they all fit together. At any rate, it’s no surprise to me that the movie splits reactions somewhat; some people consider it great, others consider it a bore. I lean towards the former view, myself, but I do advise patience for anyone willing to take a chance on this one.

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