Plot: What’s it about?
Ellie (Hayley Mills) is a beautiful, very wealthy young woman who has just gotten to married to Michael (Hywel Bennett), who was her driver. It seems a little odd that a rich woman would marry her former chauffeur, but there is a sense of mystery about him, which is perhaps what drew her toward him. In any event, the two have taken their vows and now are a couple, ready to start their new lives and move into their own home. The home they have chosen is simply gorgeous, a massive palatial spread in the beautiful countryside, but not all is well with this dream home. The place looks good inside and outside, but some claim the estate is cursed and all who call it home are doomed to be cursed as well. But the two newlyweds ignore those rumors and move in, as the house is wonderful and the location simply couldn’t be better. All seems to be well and good, until a case of murder surfaces within the home and after all, no one knows who to trust and everyone present is a suspect.
I do love a good mystery, so I was pleased to see Anchor Bay release a series of films based on the writings of Agatha Christie, including this one, Endless Night. I admit that Endless Night is not a personal favorite and not one of the better Christie based movies, but it is a well made thriller and one worth a look to genre fans. Hayley Mills is great in the lead role and behind her is a solid supporting cast, which includes Britt Ekland, Lois Maxwell, and George Sanders. So the acting is good here and the writing is also up to task, but in the end, Endless Night falls short of the novel’s potential. I know it is hard to bring all the nuances of a full novel into a film, but when the book is so good, it can cause some backlash for the picture when it falters. But this is by no means a total loss, as some terrific suspense can be found here and in the end, I think mystery/thriller fans will be served to give this release a look. This disc has more than solid audio and video, though minimal extras, but I still think it is more than worth a look.
The lead in Endless Night is played by Hayley Mills, who I like a lot, although she never lived up to her full potential. Mills was already a star as a child and made some good movies as she grew older, but never really elevated like she should have. I am unsure if that is due to poor role choice or just fate, but Mills just never climbed the ladder as some thought she would. But she has always shown a knack for the business, with her good looks and a good handle on performing as well. In addition to her roles in feature films, Mills has also done some theater and television work, such as Miss Bliss on the original incarnation of the cult series Saved By The Bell. Other films with Mills include The Parent Trap, The Chalk Garden, Pollyanna, Summer Magic, and The Trouble With Angels. The rest of the cast includes Lois Maxwell (Lolita, A View To A Kill), George Sanders (Moonfleet, Doomwatch), Britt Ekland (Satan’s Mistress, Get Carter), and Hywel Bennett (The Virgin Soldiers, Deadline), and Per Oscarsson (House of Angels, The New Land).
Video: How does it look?
Endless Night is presented in a 1.77:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This transfer is a mixed bag, as some scenes look terrific and others don’t manage to live up to the usual standards. I was pleased with most of this presentation, as the colors and contrast looked solid and no real problems surfaced. The print shows some signs of wear and tear, but that is to be expected to a certain degree. But a few scenes look much too bright and others show a lot of damage & debris, which forces me to lower the score somewhat. I was also let down with the level of grain present, but again, I was somewhat prepared. This is still a decent transfer, but due to the source materials, it is inconsistent from time to time.
Audio: How does it sound?
The included mono track is not too bad, but then again, it isn’t that impressive either. The dialogue seems clean enough and well mixed here, never overpowered or muffled in the least. There isn’t a lot of presence in terms of sound effects, but what does emerge comes off well enough, if not too dynamic in the end. But as far as this material allows, the mono track is more than up to the task, which is more than enough in this case. Bernard Herrmann’s musical score sounds terrific here also, although not as rich as we’re used to, due to the limits of the mono format.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes the film’s theatrical trailer.