Monday, January 05, 2009

1/4/09: Endless Night (1972)

And we close out George Sanders Week with this Agatha Christie adaptation, which also stars one of my favorite actresses, Hayley Mills. Sanders had aged quite noticably in the 11 years since yesterday's selection, 1961's Five Golden Hours. This was one of his last films, released the same year he committed suicide by swallowing several bottles' worth of barbituates; he was 65.

Endless Night surprised me by reuniting Mills with Hywel Bennett, the young co-stars of The Family Way, one of my all-time favorite films. This is a Hitchcockian chiller with a Gothic-type setting, about two lovers moving in to a spectacular mansion they've built on land supposedly cursed by gypsies. There's something menacing and sinister in the air, and the film contained a fairly surprising twist I didn't see coming, which was a nice surprise. Mills struggles with an American accent, and her singing voice is obviously dubbed in a scene where she accompanies herself on piano (I own her 1961 single "Let's Get Together," so I know her real singing voice pretty well). The movie lacks Hitchcock's directorial style and finesse, but the creepy Moog-highlighted musical score helps to heighten the suspense. With Hayley Mills, Hywel Bennett, Britt Ekland and George Sanders. Rating: 3/5.

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