Endless Night (1971) from Tuna

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 yellow:

  • 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."

  • According to agathachristie.com, 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.

  • The title is an extremely obscure allusion to two couplets in a William Blake poem called "Auguries of Innocence", the first of which is quoted in the film:

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.



  • the link to the far left goes to DVD info
  • the other link goes to a hardcover edition of the book



Brett Ekland shows her breasts and her bum

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Miscellaneous ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, it's clearly a C-, enjoyable enough for some genre fans, but incomprehensibly so to others.

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