Endless Night (1971) is based on an
Agatha Christie story, and was hyped as a great mystery. The
advertising campaign boasted that only 4 in 100 would figure it out,
and admonished everyone who saw it not to reveal the ending to their
friends. I have no idea at all where the title came from, as it
doesn't seem to relate to the plot at all.
Basically, a shiftless chauffeur
wants to build his dream home on a piece of land he has found, and
has even become friends with a famous architect who wants to build
it. Unfortunately he can barely afford the film to take pictures of
the land. Then he meets, weds and beds Hayley Mills, the "6th
richest woman in the world," so the very Bondlike house gets built,
complete with remote control moving floors and walls.
The only fly in the ointment is the
rich wife's best friend Greta, played by Britt Ekland.
I won't even attempt to explain why some people seem to have liked
this film. I read all available reviews and comments, and still have
no idea what they saw in it. The house is kind of nifty, and Moog
Synth music adds to the time capsule value of the 60s, but the
entire film is boring, based upon intentional misdirection to set up
a shocking conclusion which, while rather surprising to most people,
just doesn't fit and is not very entertaining. I will honor the
filmmakers' wishes and not reveal the ending, but I will give you
one important tip if you decide to become one of the four percent
that figures it out. Play close attention to the people we don't
quite see Bennett meet.
Ekland shows breasts and buns. IMDb readers have this at 5.8 of 10.
Scoop's notes in
From one of the reviews: "a
mysterious local soothsayer stalks the home predicting doom." You
have to love a contemporary movie with a soothsayer. I'd like to
do that job myself. I've always aspired to be a
philosopher-prince, but those jobs don't open up that often so I
need a fallback, and I'm sure I could say a few important sooths.
I wonder how much it pays.
Another review: "If stiff
expositional dialogue scenes and a mystery that doesn't begin
until it is almost over sounds like your idea of a good time, then
this movie is for you. If not, then give this one a pass."
which is an official site maintained by Christie's grandson, Ms
Christie did not like the fact that this film added a sex scene to
fit into the box office requirements of the time. She was 77 when she
wrote this book, and 81 when the movie was released.
The film's musical
score was done by the legendary Bernard Herrmann, who composed for
many classic films, ranging from Citizen Kane to The Day the Earth
Stood Still, to Taxi Driver. His most famous and most frequently
copied work is the score for Hitchcock's Psycho.
Some are born to sweet delight
Some are born to endless night
He who torments the chafer's sprite
Weaves a bower in endless night.
What makes this
reference especially obscure is that the oblique connection
between "chafer" and "chauffeur" is in the unquoted couplet. I
guess we are meant to see the antagonist as a psychopathic killer
born to "endless night" and having "tormented the chauffeur's
sprite." Miss Christie was obviously not lacking in erudition.