Seven guests, a newly hired personal secretary and two staff are gathered on an isolated island by an absent host and someone begins killing them off one by one. They work together to determine who the killer is. Could it be one of them?
A psychological thriller based on the novel by Agatha Christie. Ten strangers are forced to come face to face with their dark pasts after receiving invitation to an isolated island off the coast of England.
An American movie actress, best known for playing dumb blondes, is Scotland Yard's prime suspect when her husband, Lord Edgware, is murdered. The great detective, Hercule Poirot, digs deeper into the case.
Up to a house high on a mountain top have been invited ten people who are strangers to each other. When they are all gathered, they hear from their host that each one of them has in someway caused the death of an innocent person and that justice had not be served in their cases. There are eight guests and two servants there for the weekend, but one by one, they are being knocked off according to the poem of "Ten Little Indians". As the number of survivors decreases, they begin to believe that the killer is one of the group, but are unable to decide on which one he or she may be.Written by
Tony Fontana <email@example.com>
The film was originally released with a "Whodunit Break" gimmick. Right before Ann is seen firing the gun at Hugh, the action pauses and an off screen voice tells the audience that the film will pause for one minute to give them a chance to solve the crime. The previous murders are shown under a large clock ticking the minute away. After the narrator tells the audience they can figure the mystery out if they have "paid close attention" he finishes by intoning "DO NOT BE SURPRISED BY WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO SEE!" At that point the action resumes. Some video and TV prints do not contain this fun "murder minute", but others (including the version shown on TV in the UK) still do. See more »
Much like the filmic adaptations of Agatha Christie's stunning source novel, a literary work that added the killer to serial, the Ten Little Indians rhyme has quite a few versions. I mention this because the core essence of the source, both in written rhyme and filmic celluloid, is always what shines through. The films vary in quality, though each one does bring its own ideas to the adaptation, George Pollock's 1965 version is a dandy, though not perfect by any stretch of the imagination.
The story is relocated to a remote snowy mountainside. Ten people have gathered there, either as servants or guests invited by the mysterious U.N. Owen. Once all gathered under one roof, a tape recording reveals that all the guests are guilty of despicable crimes, and thus must pay the price. Cue the now standard formula of each member of the ten getting bumped off as suspicions and panic begins to arise. With each death comes the removal of a model Indian from a circular display laid out on the lounge table.
Thus we have a serial killer whodunit (whosedoingit?) in full effect. The deaths are inventive, with some carrying genuine suspense and chills into the bargain, and although the final reveal lacks credibility, it has the requisite surprise factor to not disappoint genre fans. The beauty here is in the cast list, where for fans of British classic cinema it's a roll call of greats. Stanley Holloway, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Dennis Price (whose visual reactions here are ahem, priceless) and Leo Genn lead the male British front, while Shirley Eaton fights the British girl's corner with sauce and sizzle. Supplementing the Brits for an overseas audience, is pop star Fabian, Hugh O'Brian and Daliah Lavi. The latter of which also raises the temperatures considerably.
Where the pic falls down badly, apart from Fabian's poor acting that is, is with the visual ascetic served up by Pollock and his cinematographer Ernest Steward. The mansion where the plot unfolds is ripe for much shadow play and creaky corridors, the story kind of demands that the old dark house staples are adhered to. Sadly this area is rarely born out, making it a very wasted opportunity to lift the film to better heights. Still, as stated previously, the source material is timeless and for fans of such fare it's hard not to feel tingly as the conclusion draws in.
If the divisive "one minute audience break to discuss who we think dunit" that stops the film before the reveal seems a bit William Castle lite, then so be it, but it's still fun and shows a willingness by the makers to involve the audience fully in the murderous malarkey. I wonder what Agatha made of it?
All together now, "Ten little Indian boys went out to dine; One choked his little self and then there were Nine " 7.5/10
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