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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Dig that swinging '60s music

Author: blanche-2 from United States
27 November 2010

Agatha Christie's novel "And Then There Were None" has been made into a film several times, most often under the name "Ten Little Indians." Based on the nursery rhyme, people meet their deaths in various ways according to the poem: choking, bee sting, etc. In the original Christie story, the setting is an island (in this version it's an isolated ski resort) to which a group of people are invited by a U.N. Owen. Their unseen host accuses each one of them of a crime; in each case, the crime was due to the unforeseen result of an action, making the wrong decision, that sort of thing. And one by one each guest is killed. Before that happens, the guests realize that U.N. Owen is one of them.

Good story, but this film has some problems, not the least of which is the grooveadelic '60s music that makes it seem like a swinging Dean Martin comedy instead of a mystery. Another problem is Fabian, and after you see this film, you'll realize why he never could go the Frankie and Annette route. His character is wisely dispatched right away.

The rest of the cast consists of some excellent British character actors: Wilfred Hyde-White, Dennis Price, and Stanley Holloway. Playing a film star is the beautiful, exotic Israeli actress Daliah Lavi, and her clothes are a high point of the film; the gorgeous Shirley Eaton is in the cast as Ann Clyde, a secretary who becomes the love interest of the very handsome lead, Hugh O'Brian (from my home town, I might add).

Black and white, "Ten Little Indians" is atmospheric but moves somewhat slowly. In a way it's hard to judge, as I knew the story coming in. Newcomers to the plot should enjoy it.

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Entertaining if a bit dated

Author: yeltzmanmatt from Birmingham, England
29 June 2014

10 people are lured to an isolated house for a party and killed one by one. Each has a secret that has led them to being selected for the party.

There is an interesting mix of clichéd characters and of course most of the fun to be had is seeing who is killed off next and who the killer is. The story moves along at a quick pace never giving you the time to get bored. The acting is very good with plenty of decent character actors.

For today's audiences the lack of gore may be off putting and there is maybe not enough tension built up bearing in mind the predicament the party-goers find themselves in. However the story keeps you guessing and the reveal is worth the wait.

Ten Little Indians is certainly no classic but I found this to be a very entertaining film and well worth watching for those who appreciate older films.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Agatha Christie meets … William Castle?!?

Author: Coventry from the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls
17 December 2016

Yours truly is currently so stuck in an Agatha Christie obsession phase that I would read and watch everything that has her name attached to it, even if it is – like "Ten Little Indians" - a redundant and inferior version of the same story I read and watched many times already. After all, let's be honest, the 1945 version "And Then There Were None" is the only true and fantastic film interpretation of Christie's wondrous 1939 novella, and all the other existing versions are mediocre and remotely entertaining at best. This British production, released in 1965 and still in black and white, is somewhat comparable to the 1974 version directed by Peter Collinson and the 1989 version directed by Alan Birkinshaw. This one is slightly better in terms of atmosphere and tension building, whereas the other two have far more appealing names in their ensemble casts. The opening sequences are quite promising, as ten people – strangers to each other – travel to the top of a snowy Alp mountain together in an aerial tramway and stare at each other without making conversation. Once inside the isolated mountaintop mansion, they discover that they were all invited by a certain Mr. U.N. Owen but that nobody has, in fact, met this mysterious individual in real life; including his cute secretary Ann Clyde or the house staff Mr. and Mrs. Grohmann. Later that first night, a recording suddenly starts playing (keep your ears open for the moody voice of the almighty Christopher Lee) and the physically absent host accuses every single one of his guests of having committed a foul murder for which he or she wasn't righteously punished. Moments later, the first guest dies from poisoning and the rest of them slowly begin to realize they might be next. You'd wonder how it's possible considering the source material, but strangely enough "Ten Little Indians" is often far too slow-paced and balancing on the verge of boredom. All the gimmicks are still there, like for example the little Indian statues that keep decreasing in numbers after each murder and the frequent repeating of the gloomy nursery rhyme, but they come across as less menacing and unsettling than in the forties' version. George Pollock's direction is nonchalant and unsteady, which is weird because he previously already did several Miss Marple adaptations ("Murder, She Said", "Murder at the Gallop", …), so he should be an expert in bringing Agatha Christie's magic to life. The cast isn't the least bit impressive and most of them give away very wooden performances. The film doesn't feature any truly great names, but still all the cast members have long-running and respectable careers, so I honestly expected more. Unquestionably the most remarkable moment in "Ten Little Indians" is the so-called whodunit-break. All of a sudden, when approaching the climax, a timer appears on screen and a voice- over explains that the audience receives one minute to determine who the killer is. I felt like I was watching a film of William Castle, who made his trademark out of seeking interaction with the audience and general foolishness like this. The silly whodunit-break doesn't damage the film too much, but it certainly also doesn't help to make it more unique or even memorable.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

One By One They Die!!!

Author: zardoz-13 from United States
2 June 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"10 Little Indians," the second cinematic version of Agatha Christie's timeless murder mystery "And Then There Were None," alters the setting from the 1933 film but preserves its premise in that everything in this version occurs atop a mountain with no way of escape. Just as in Rene Clair's original version, ten people are invited to spend a weekend in the Austria Alps rather than on an island. After each of them inspects their separate but respective room, they observe that framed copies of "Ten Little Indians," the children's nursery rhyme, have been hung up on the walls of each bedroom. No sooner have they sat down to dine than a reel-to-reel recording plays and informs them that they all have murderous backgrounds. The enigmatic fellow who invited them has the odd name U.N. Owen, but he never shows up for the cat and mouse shenanigans that ensue. Indeed, there is a beautiful, short-haired cat cruising through the house. Interestingly enough, an uncredited Christopher Lee provided the voice for the recording. The murders commence with a chart-topping pop singer (Fabian) gulping cyanide and dying. Inevitably or predictably, depending on your knowledge of the source material, characters are expire by one of the ten or nine or eight, etc. British director George Pollock, who helmed the four Margaret Rutherford mysteries "Murder Ahoy," "Murder Most Foul," "Murder at the Gallop," and "Murder She Said," keeps things murky. Occasionally, we see the murder's gloved hand stabling a victim or shooting another, but the actual deaths are not depicted, with the exception of Hugh Lombard (Hugh O'Brien) getting plugged at point blank range by Ann Clyde (Shirley Eaton of "Goldfinger") out in the snow after they find two more guests sprawled dead in the snow. This isn't the most exciting murder mystery and Pollock tries to spice it up with a knock-down drag-out fistfight between the barrel-chested butler Herr Grohmann (Mario Adorf of "Caliber 9") and O'Brien. Shirley Eaton looks very fetching and shows off skin but nothing private. At one point, before she shoots him, Ann and Hugh have a roll in the hay. As far as I can tell, Pollock opened up the action so that the murders could be seen, until the Clair version. Although Peter Yeldham of "The Liquidator" and Harry Alan Towers who went on to script the 1974 version of "Indians" using the pen name Peter Wellbeck shell out the clues piecemeal, you have to figure that the more attractive of the cast will come out standing on their own two feet. Well, maybe . . The setting is splendid and reminded me of the World War II epic "Where Eagles Dare."

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The second best version of one of Agatha Christie's masterpieces

Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
12 January 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

And Then There Were None is and has been since I was 12 one of my favourite books of all time. If there is a contender for Agatha Christie's- of whose books I'm a fan of- best book, And Then There Were None would definitely be more than worthy. When you love a book as imaginative, suspenseful, beautifully characterised and sometimes scary(Emily Brent's death for instance) as And Then There Were None, no matter how you try to judge a film on its own terms, you do hope that the book is done justice to.

In terms of film adaptations though, it's been a very mixed bag. The 1945 film for me is by far the best, witty, suspenseful, splendidly cast(Barry Fitzgerald, Walter Huston and Judith Anderson being the standouts) and faithful to the book's spirit in general. The 1974 film is heavily flawed, namely that it does get turgid and illogical in places and Charles Aznavour is awful but it looks wonderful, has a good score, has the extra bonus of having Orson Welles as the voice of Mr Owen and has good performances from Richard Attenborough, Herbert Lom and Oliver Reed make it a film better than its reputation.

Strictly speaking, it's the 1989 version that is really quite poor, with only the locations, the lions and the performances of Donald Pleasance, Sarah Maur Thorp and Herbert Lom working somewhat. I found myself very impressed generally by this version, it's second only to the 1945 film and easily the best of the remakes.

The film is not perfect however. Although it is in this version where the perpetrator is the most malevolent, the ending- changed from the I think unfilmable ending of the book(someone also raised the point that Vera Claythorne's death is too much by chance in the book and I can definitely see where they're coming from)- seemed dramatically under-baked for me. The music score is too jazzy and I think lightweight, jarring with the film's tone and diluting the suspense and claustrophobia. The Ten Little Indians song is good however, though I prefer the ominously Roccoco style of the one in the 1945 adaptation.

Daliah Lavi and especially Fabian give the only two performances that I'd consider bad, in Fabian's case embarrassingly bad. Lavi is a little better than Brenda Vaccarro in the 1989 film, but she like Vaccarro does very little with a character that wasn't as written as well as she could've been and the melodrama(and there is a lot considering the profession her role has) is so overcooked that it becomes painful to watch and listen to. Fabian makes an obnoxious character even more so(what the remakes have in common actually is how annoyingly the role is written and performed actually), so much so you want him dead fast.

On the other side of things, this version has beautiful locations, not as claustrophobic-looking as the 1945 film but for me it didn't have the sense that it was going to present any kind of logic problems like the later versions did. The photography compliments it very well, and the same goes for George Pollock's quite studied but professional direction that does little to spoil the tension. The murders are both inventive and at times eerie, while the script is literate with a touch of drollness, the characters generally maintain interest and don't have back stories and such that feel too underdeveloped or distorted(something that the 1989 version did to truly bad effect) and the story had me gripped, and while the identity didn't come as a surprise to me as I know the story so well it is easy to see why others would feel that, when I read the book was exactly that of complete surprise.

Lavi and Fabian aside, I thought the cast were very good. Taking top honours has to go to Wilfred Hyde-White, whose Judge- one of the book's most interesting characters to me and well-performed in all four versions- is incisive and quick-witted, quite possibly one of his best performances. Dennis Price's Armstrong, almost as good as Walter Huston, is an ideal match, smart, intelligent and playful(only the 1989 film has this role played badly), while Leo Genn in a commanding and touching performance is this close to topping Herbert Lom in the 1989 film(the only asset of that that is the best of anything to do with this story and its adaptations) as the General and Stanley Holloway who is very authoritative with touches of humour is the best of the actors playing Blore.

Hugh O'Brian and Shirley Eaton have been much criticised for being wooden. I actually didn't have a problem with them and found them quite appealing. O'Brian is handsome and smooth and Eaton smolders on screen and at least shows a sense of her character's predicaments. We even have the luxury of having an unbilled Christopher Lee as the voice of Mr Owen. Like Orson Welles-largely responsible for why the scene in the 1974 version in question was done so well, possibly the best done of the versions- his distinctive voice is not what you call inhuman, but there is a dignified and menacing quality to it that is enough to evoke some chills at least. The butler character is also the most interesting in this version.

Overall, while flawed I liked it very much and consider it the second best version of a literary masterpiece. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

terrible version of a great story

Author: AlloTBNO5 from United States
25 January 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I love Agatha Christie's original novel "And Then There Were None" but this movie version is terrible. I don't mind the fact that they changed the setting to a mountain in the swinging sixties, but this movie is silly on so many levels because of the changes. Most of the fault lays on the silly performances. One that stands out is the wooden and emotionless Hugh O'Brien as Lombard.Lombard is supposed to be a dashing and cool headed hero. However O'Brien is completely void of any emotion as people drop dead around him bringing it to the point of being ridiculous. No one can possibly remain that calm with people constantly dying around him. There is lots of silly dialogue such as after the first death a woman cries "he's dead drunk" and a man replies "not drunk, just dead." Charchters are changed to absurd cardboard cutouts. Reckless party boy Anthony Marston is now the lead singer of a rock band who ran over a newlywed couple. The most unforgivable change was the change of religious fanatic Emily Brent who pushed her maid to suicide, who is now an actress responsible for killing her rich husband. The stiffness of the majority is somehow balanced by the horrendous overacting of the maid and butler. The final straw was the cheesy ending which sadly is used in most versions were the secretary and the adventurer survive and fall in love and live happily ever after, replacing the darker and much more powerful ending of the book. Not recommended for hardcore Agatha Christie fans.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Lackluster murder mystery thriller

Author: Woodyanders ( from The Last New Jersey Drive-In on the Left
1 August 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Ten complete strangers get together for a posh weekend at a remote castle located in the Swiss Alps. Someone starts bumping them all off one at a time. Blandly directed by George Pollock, with an overly talky and insipid script by Peter Yeldham and hack producer Harry Alan Towers, a plodding pace, a wildly out of place and inappropriate groovy jazz score by Malcom Lockyer, a crippling dearth of both tension and momentum, murder set pieces that for the most part are flatly staged, and an isolated snowy setting that fails to add any much-needed suspense or spooky atmosphere, this strictly middling affair barely makes the grade as a merely acceptable diversion. Fortunately, the able all-star cast do their best with the mediocre material, with especially praiseworthy contributions from Wilfrid Hyde-White as the shrewd, affable Judge Arthur Cannon, the delectable Shirley Eaton as sweet, fetching secretary Ann Clyde, Hugh O'Brian as the brave and dashing Hugh Lombard, Stanley Holloway as no-nonsense Detective William Henry Blore, Leo Genn as the ramrod General Sir John Mandrake, Dennis Price as the suave, boozy Dr. Edward Armstrong, and Daliah Lavi as classy, glamorous actress Ilona Bergen. Moreover, Ernest Steward's crisp black and white cinematography looks nice, Fabian as brash pop singer Mike Raven compensates for his poor acting by belting out a hearty rendition of the classic nursery rhyme prior to meeting a welcome immediate untimely end, the ravishing Eaton heats up the screen with her smoldering presence and strips down to black undies at one point (yum!), there are a few witty lines of dialogue sprinkled throughout, and the revelation of the killer's true identity is a genuine surprise. However, this movie overall is far too pedestrian and unmemorable to rate as anything more than a merely passable time-waster.

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2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Lackluster version of great mystery

Author: potato2
30 December 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A snowed-in, mountaintop castle is the setting for mystery as ten strangers gather for a weekend party. They've all been invited by a man none of them know, but their host, Mr. Owens, knows a lot about them. Each of them is accused of being a murderer and Mr. Owens wastes no time in punishing them for their crimes according to the children's rhyme, "Ten Little Indians."

This version of Agatha Christie's novel is vastly inferior to the 1945 movie. It uses virtually the same script, but the actors, with a few exceptions, aren't as good. Wilfred Hyde-White, Stanley Holloway, and Dennis Price are very good as the judge, the detective, and the doctor, but Hugh O'Brian and Shirley Eaton are a stiff and unsympathetic leading couple while Daliah Lavi and Fabian's acting skills are laughable.

A major drawback is the upbeat jazz soundtrack which is completely out of place in a moody mystery. The setting is another weak point; the "castle" is a cheaply-built and fairly modern home and the mountaintop isn't really as inaccessible as it should be. Too many of the characters view the mounting death toll as a subject for derision rather than fear, so the movie lacks intensity and thrills. Disappointing.

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3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Not great, but not bad

Author: Jim Longo from New York City
22 April 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I may be committing sacrilege, but I believe this version to be the best of the four English-language versions.

Hugh O'Brien and Shirley Eaton are the best of the Lombard-Vera pairs, better than originals Louis Hayward and June Duprez, and infinitely better than their successors. Most of the rest of the cast at least equals any of their counterparts (particularly Fabian, who is the best of the Marstons, and Stanley Holloway, the best of the Blores). Most of the murders are plausible, even doable, without the holes that the other movies had. Particularly effective is the fourth murder, which stays true to the rhyme (as the appalling 1974 version does not), while avoiding the gore that part of the rhyme seems to call for.

Unfortunately, the need for Hollywood to fix things that aren't broken leads to some things that simply don't make sense. The second and third verses of the rhymes are the leading problems here. Rather than following the line "Nine little Indian boys stayed up rather late" with the logical original "One overslept himself and then there were eight," the writers felt that someone dying in his/her sleep wasn't dramatic enough and changed the line to "One ran away, and then there were eight." The two lines simply don't make any sense put together like this.

Likewise, "Eight little Indian boys, traveling through Devon/Heaven", which should be followed by "One got left behind/said he'd stay there, and then there were seven." The film changes it to "One met a pussycat," which, again, makes no sense.

The biggest problem is the fifth murder, and it's an outgrowth of changing the second. The book and the original movie have the murderer disposing of the second victim through an overdose of sleeping powders; however, the murderer keeps some of the powder to drug the fifth victim, so that the fifth murder can be carried out easily. However, later versions of the film have decided to go with how shocking they can make the second death (a tram crash, a garroting, etc.), so the murderer has no sleeping powders, so the fifth victims are awake and presumably able to act when the murderer confronts them. In this case, the fifth victim sees the murderer walk across the room with the weapon in hand, and does absolutely nothing in self-defense.

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1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Dame Agatha, Smooth as Silk.

Author: Robert J. Maxwell ( from Deming, New Mexico, USA
20 June 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This was a super novel. I don't mean a work of art, I mean super in the sense that a crossword puzzle is superior. How did she work it out? What went on in that mind of hers? Why did she disappear so abruptly and where did she go during her absence? This is her most popular story, judging from the number of movies and TV shows that have been based on it, but frankly it's not as good as it's 1940s predecessor despite a generally fine cast. Each filmed version seemed to grow more corrupt, more distant from Christie's novel. They began to borrow characteristics from previous versions, names, motives, lines of dialog.

And each succeeding version reflected its own cultural context. The 1940s film had a superb cast, a cheap set of production values, and good oblique direction by Rene Claire. There were two on screen deaths, both decorous, one even comic. Now, twenty years later, more commercial plug-ins have been activated. Miss Brent's cold spinster has been replaced by the succulent Dahlia Lavi, no longer a teacher but a movie star. The exotic and winsome June Duprez has become Shirley Eaton, the Goldfinger Girl, who oozes oestrus. Both have to contend with bouffant dos that, if they were any more elaborate, would resemble fire hydrants. At least we get to see Eaton in some underwear, which is okay, although in a still later version as I recall we got to see Elke Sommer bareback.

The rest of the cast does fine -- what with the ever-ironic Dennis Price, the gentlemanly and vaguely comic Wilfred Hyde-White, and the multi-talented Stanley Holloway, whom you ought to hear spout Shakespeare's dialog as the gravedigger in "Hamlet." There are two exceptions, alas, and both Americans too. Hugh O'Brian has never uttered a believable line on the screen. He smirks constantly and strides around with his hips thrust forward. And Fabian. How did he ever achieve celebrity? I guess he's chubbily cute and that's enough if you are the Brittany Spears of the early 1960s. Anyway I wasn't unhappy when he demonstrated that he couldn't hold his cyanide.

If the 1940s film was bloodless, this one isn't quite. We see the agonized faces of the doomed, the thrusting knife, the plunging cable car, the -- ugh. And this film has more easy cheap shots that Clair's film dispensed with. Here, a door slowly creaks open, the girl gasps and puts her hand over her mouth -- and it's just friendly Hugh O'Brian, doing what he's been told to do, opening a door slowly and trying to smile at the same time. A black cat sneaks around and screeches at the wrong times. That sort of thing. Clichés. And whoever wrote the musical score, full of big-band blaring trumpets, should be thrown off a rocky precipice to his doom.

Well, I don't mean to put this down all together. The story itself, even with Agatha Christie's fine, bleak ending wrecked, is sufficient unto itself. I don't think there's much question about the earlier version being better than this, but this one isn't that bad and is worth seeing just for the climactic Big Reveal.

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