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Theatrical release poster

Endless Night is a 1972 British crime film directed by Sidney Gilliat and starring Hayley Mills, Britt Ekland, Per Oscarsson, Hywel Bennett and George Sanders. It is based on the novel Endless Night by Agatha Christie.

Plot

Michael Rogers (Bennett), a young drifter currently employed as a chauffeur, has a chance meeting with the lovely Ellie Thomsen (Mills). He dreams of building a magnificent house on a particular spot of land along the Devon coast. Unknown to him, she is actually a wealthy heiress and can make his dream come true. With the help of her efficient German companion, Greta (Ekland), they marry and build a memorable home designed by noted architect Santonix (Oscarsson), much to the disapproval of Ellie's family, who try to buy off Michael.

However, the land the couple purchased is known as "Gypsy's Acre" and is said to carry a curse. Mysterious accidents pile up, a self-proclaimed gypsy haunts the grounds, and after a midnight accident, Greta moves in with the couple to nurse Ellie back to health, to the resentment of Michael.

A further equestrian accident results in the death of Ellie, and Michael is shattered. With the aid of her lawyer "Uncle" Andrew (Sanders) and Greta, Michael pulls together. But he remains haunted by ghostly images of Ellie and a devious murder plot--and another death--are revealed in the finale.

Cast

  • Hayley Mills as Ellie Thomsen
  • Hywel Bennett as Michael Rogers
  • Britt Ekland as Greta
  • Per Oscarsson as Santonix
  • George Sanders as Andrew Lippincott
  • Aubrey Richards as Dr. Philpott
  • Ann Way as Mrs. Philpott
  • Patience Collier as Miss Townsend
  • Peter Bowles as Reuben
  • Lois Maxwell as Cora
  • David Bauer as Uncle Frank
  • Helen Horton as Aunt Beth
  • Madge Ryan as Michael's Mother
  • Windsor Davies as Sgt. Keene
  • Walter Gotell as Constantine
  • Geoffrey Chater as Coroner
  • David Healy as Jason
  • Bob Keegan as Innkeeper (as Robert Keegan)
  • Robert O'Neil as Broker
  • Mischa De La Motte as Maynard (as Mischa de la Motte)
  • Nicholas Courtney as Second Auctioneer (uncredited)
  • Leo Genn as Psychiatrist (uncredited)
  • Charlie Gray as Man at Auction (uncredited)
  • Victor Harrington as Man at Auction (uncredited)
  • Shirley Jones as Ellie Thomsen (singing voice) (uncredited)
  • Stephanie Mildenhall as Child (uncredited)
  • Jim O'Brady as Workman (uncredited)
  • Joe Phelps as Police Officer at Inquest (uncredited)
  • Ewan Roberts as Customer at Petrol Station (uncredited)
  • Stuart Scrivner as Michael as small child (uncredited)
  • Tina Simmons as Theatre Guest (uncredited)
  • Reg Thomason as Doctor in Rembrandt Painting Mock-up (uncredited)
  • Steven Wallen as Young Michael (uncredited)
  • Russell Waters as Waiter (uncredited)

Production

Shooting locations included Christie's Auction House, Hertfordshire, Middlesex, as well as the West Country and Albergo San Pietro, Positano, Italy. The Philpotts' estate (Mike and Ellie's neighbors) was filmed at Grim's Dyke.

The score was by Bernard Hermann. Ellie's singing in the film was dubbed by Shirley Jones.

Reception

The film received mixed reviews. Although reasonably faithful to the novel, it is "An example of the sort of thing Christie was writing in her later years: moody psychological studies very different from, and not so much fun as, her early thrillers." Contemporary critics have noted "Nice performances all around, with special admiration for Oscarsson's role as the dying architect."

Christie herself was displeased by the "lacklustre" adaptation of one of her favorite novels, although she had been initially pleased by the choice of Director-writer and cast. Further, she disliked the (admittedly brief) erotic nudity by Ekland in the film's final sequences.

After an unsuccessful run in Britain, UA did not release the film in the United States, although there were runs in Denmark and Finland in 1973.

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