This was a pleasant surprise. I've always liked Agatha Christie's unusual 1968 novel, but I'd never seen this 1972 British film version. Many critics (and fans) have given the movie high marks over the years, so I bought the DVD. Now I'm a fan, too.
ENDLESS NIGHT isn't your typical Christie "whodunnit," but a dark, creepy psychological suspense story. Writer/director Sidney Gilliat, who worked with Hitchcock on THE LADY VANISHES and also made the wonderful GREEN FOR DANGER, was obviously influenced by the Master in his approach to it. The result is like a dream collaboration between Christie and Hitchcock, the two giants of suspense. We have the sinister house in the sinister small town, the Hitchcock blonde (a surprisingly good Hayley Mills, of all people), the flashbacks to childhood trauma, and the shocking twist ending. On top of that, we have one of the final musical scores from Hitchcock's favorite composer, Bernard Herrmann.
Hitchcock students, pay close attention to those flashbacks at the icy lake (SPELLBOUND), the scenes in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (VERTIGO), and that wooden sign with the big eye painted on it that reads "Thou, God, sees't me." And check out the final scenes in the hospital (PSYCHO).
No, ENDLESS NIGHT isn't as wonderful as any of those films, but it's one of the better "homages" to Hitchcock I've ever seen, and one of the better Christie adaptations, too. Try it.