on 19 June 2011
I have always loved this film and bought it recently on DVD.
Of all the versions this is obviously the best out there but I have given it 4 stars instead of 5 because having seen it once more after all these years it is a little too light compared to my memory of seeing it when I was younger.
Some comedy moments are justified and well placed,the sea sick Russian prince(By the way,why do they change character names and the guests crimes for no apparent reason???-this has always baffled me in film making),the deaf general etc.
But to fault it I would have to point out that the alleged guilt of Vera Claythorn is glossed over with a "If I told you I was innocent would you believe me?" Why? because she is the young,pretty woman? I suppose that was the way in the 1940's. But my main contention point is ex-detective William Blore,his cockney chappie is a bit grating and I found myself asking who he reminded me of...then I realised he reminded of the dimwitted Inspector Lastrade of the Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce Sherlock Holmes films.A case of over acting if ever there was as is the butler,Mr Rogers when he tells his wife to "Shut up!!" after the gramaphone record played their accusations... That particular scene reminded me of the old Todd Slaughter B movies about Sweeney Todd etc...pure ham!!!
But all in all,still a great,classic film but with the passage of time it seems to lacks real menace.
Best acting honours would have to go to IMO Walter Huston as Dr. Armstrong.
Having said all that I would take this film to a desert island any day of the week over all the blood & guts horror films churned out these days.
What did surprise me though when listening to the audio CD is that the original ending in the book is completely different to all 4 western film versions!!!!! Which made the CD all the more enjoyable as it was a geniune surprise.
The only film with the original ending is the Russian version.I haven't seen it but I wouldn't let the fact it was Russian put me off. I have seen the Russian versions of 6 or 7 Sherlock Holmes films and I have to say they all get 5 stars for acting,period detail and sticking to the original books!!!!!!!
Vasily Livanov who portrayed SH in the Russian films was given an honorary MBE in 2006 for his work.
The Queen told him he was the best Holmes she had seen.
Eight strangers arrive by boat at an isolated island where they were invited for the weekend to the mansion of Mr. U. N. Owen. They are greeted by the two servants, the butler and his wife, the cook. They are shown their rooms and told that at dinner they will meet their host. So starts a great Forties' movie, And Then There Were None, based on the Agatha Christie mystery, Ten Little Indians.
After dinner when Mr. Owen fails to appear, the butler puts a record on the gramophone and Mr. Owen speaks. He accuses everyone he invited, including the butler and the cook, of murder. There's the judge who sent an innocent man to be hanged. The doctor who drunkenly and fatally botched an operation. The general who sent his wife's lover to his death in battle. The detective whose perjured testimony sent a man to the gallows. There's consternation and denial. Drinks are served. The first to die is a Russian prince who strangles on cyanide in the middle of a song. And the plaster sculpture of ten little Indians, the centerpiece of the dining room table, has one little Indian smashed. As the hours pass, more die, each in the manner of the nursery rhyme
This is a wonderful movie, and very much a product of it's time. Everything about it speaks of professionalism and craftsmanship. There's not a slow moment. The suspense steadily builds. The mystery gets more and more mysterious. And while there is suspense and dread, there also is much wit and black humor. The mansion's rooms are unsettling even when they're empty. The rocky coast of the island, the grey clouds and the smashing surf make somber and unnerving backgrounds. The conclusion of the movie, when all is made clear, is amusing, satisfying and clever.
Two things stand out. First, the mystery is genuinely clever. Not too many people, seeing this for the first time, are going to figure things out. Second, the acting is great and the characters are portrayed by a whole boatload of terrific character actors: Barry Fitzgerald, Walter Huston, Roland Young, Mischa Auer, Judith Anderson, C. Aubrey Smith, Richard Hayden (perfect as the adenoidal butler), Queenie Leonard. And there's also June Duprez and Louis Hayward. They work together extremely well. This is ensemble acting before ensemble acting was talked about so much.
The movie is in the public domain, so you have to be careful about the version you might buy.
on 3 September 2004
When ten strangers all go to the secluded, island mansion of a mysterious Mr. U.N. Owen, they suddenly find that Owen wants them all dead. One by one, each is murdered in the same way as the ten little Indians in the nursery rhyme. Can the survivors find the murderer before it's too late? Watch and find out! [Black-and-white, released in 1945, with a running time of 1:37.]
This is a great movie, filled with excitement and suspense. The characters are quite interesting, and the storyline is wonderful (the movie being based on Agatha Christie's novel of the same name). I must say that, for me, Barry Fitzgerald simply stole the show, and the black-and-white film adds to the brooding tone of the movie.
So, if you are a fan of old time movies, or simply love a good mystery, then I highly recommend this movie to you. You will not be disappointed!
8 people are invited to a remote island "Indian Island" mansion by their host Mr. U. N. Owen; two people are already there as the butler and cook, a husband and wife team. Once there they find that their mysterious host has accused each of murder and commences to dispatch the guests in the order of a song of Ten Little Indians. Finding that they are cut off from the outside world they must find Mr. Owen and neutralize him before they are all dispatched. If it gets down to the last two you have a pretty good idea who it is.
All the clues are present; can you detect whodunit and why?
Pretty well acted version of an Agatha Christie classic. Everyone remembers this standard movie version "And Then There Were None" (1945) with Barry Fitzgerald. Several other attempts were made such as "And Then There Were None" (1974) with Elke Sommer and even one movie with the original book title "Ten Little Niggers" (1949) with John Bentley. A fun adaptation using a remote mountain dwelling is "Ten Little Indians" (1965) with Hugh O'Brian plays Hugh Lombard.
In this screen play version by Dudley Nichols, Hugh Lombard even keeps much of the dialog of the novel and is worth adding to you Agatha Christy collection. Many of the actors are popular of the time such as Walter Huston who plays Dr. Edward G. Armstrong. He is popular for the Walter Huston dance in "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (1948) and as Mr. Scratch in The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941).
on 23 February 2002
This film is a good english who done it murder mystery. One of Agatha Christies classics, written around the war time for the stage. Its a fantasic film which keeps you watching. Its quite old fashioned however its a really good story. The film is based around a childs song which the murder is using to kill his/her victims. The story is based in a house where the people are all invited by an old friend. The quests do not know each other very well and one by one they are being killed.
One of my old time favourites which is a must see.
on 14 June 2014
AND THEN THERE WERE NONE  [Blu-ray] [US Import] Highly Suspenseful Agatha Christie Yarn!
Ten people, strangers to each other, are invited to a lavish estate on an island. Through a recording, their mysterious host accuses each of his guests of murder and proceeds to exact justice. The tension mounts as, one by one; the number of people is reduced through the ingenious plotting of the unseen killer. Finally only two are left and each is uncertain as to whether or not the other is the murderer. A top cast of veteran performers, bring the intricate twist of the plot to life. One of the most thrilling novels and best adaptations of Agatha Christie's best-selling mystery novel ‘And Then There Were None,’ climaxes at the spine tingling conclusion. Though its subject matter is dark, the screenplay injects considerable wit and humour into the proceedings, especially as you watch a thriller that has carved its own special niche in the realm of tales of suspense and mystery. Previously Released by 20th Century Fox.
Cast: Barry Fitzgerald, Walter Huston, Louis Hayward, Roland Young, June Duprez, Mischa Auer, Sir C. Aubrey Smith, Judith Anderson, Richard Haydn, Queenie Leonard and Harry Thurston
Director: René Clair
Producers: René Clair, Harry M. Popkin and Harry M. Popkin (uncredited)
Screenplay: Dudley Nichols and Agatha Christie (novel)
Composer: Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
Cinematography: Lucien N. Andriot
Video Resolution: 1080p [Black-and-White]
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audio: English: 2.0 LPCM Mono Audio
Subtitles: English SDH
Running Time: 97 minutes
Region: Region A/1
Number of discs: 1
Studio: VCI Entertainment
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: Agatha Christie's murder story ‘And Then There Were None’ [aka “Ten Little Indians”] is by this point so well-known and has been adapted, referenced and spoofed so many times on stage, screen, television, radio and even a video game, that its return to this Blu-ray disc in its best and most famous film version ever, and to have this 1945 edition directed by René Clair, is very welcome indeed.
If Alfred Hitchcock is considered to be the Master of Suspense, then by all means should Agatha Christie be declared Mistress of the same arena? Her works of mystery have sparked countless stage and screen adaptations, one of the best-known being 1945's ‘And Then There Were None.’ Boasting of an impressive cast that includes the likes of Walter Huston and Barry Fitzgerald, this film, based on the Agatha Christie novel “Ten Little Indians,” has long since proven itself to be the veritable template for a big chunk of the murder mysteries to follow in the years after its release. At first it was considered cliché by genre standards, but by no means does that deter from the suspenseful magic that the picture manages to weave over the course of the running time.
The set-up is very simple. Ten seemingly random individuals have been brought together under rather unusual circumstances. The group, which ranges from a wise Judge Francis J. Quinncannon [Barry Fitzgerald] and an alcoholic doctor Dr. Edward G. Armstrong [Walter Huston] to a shy secretary Vera Claythorne [June Duprez] and a dashing explorer Philip Lombard [Louis Hayward], has been invited to a sprawling island mansion as the guests of host of “U. N. Mr. Owen.” It turns out that none of the ten knows or has even seen the elusive "U. N. Owen," but he's certainly familiar with them, as a record he leaves to be played condemns each of the ten for a past crime they may or may not have committed, as he signed his instructions to Thomas Rogers; they suddenly realise it stands for "unknown." The guests decide to leave, but Thomas Rogers informs them that the boat will not return until Monday, and it is only Friday.
The situation turns grimmer when one of the guests mysteriously dies, with another strange death following the next day. The survivors quickly determine that these deaths were no coincidences. They surmise that their homicidal host has taken it upon himself to punish them for their misdeeds, picking them off one by one in the style of the "Ten Little Indians" nursery rhyme. But as the guests start attempting to weed out “U. N. Mr. Owen,” they come to another shocking conclusion: the killer they're searching for may just be one of their own.
‘And Then There Were None’ isn't an especially complex or convoluted mystery, but it doesn't need to be. It's just a simple "whodunit" that coasts along rather well on the effective, bare-bones nature of its story. You just have to know what happens next, and for the most part, director René Clair does a nifty job of always keeping the story moving in an intriguing direction. He does this by making the wise decision to cast suspicion on each and every one of the characters.
In retrospect, the one who turns out to be the mysterious Mr. Owen is a no-brainer, but watching the film for the first time, the viewer is in a true state of suspense, as little hints and red herrings are scattered throughout, endowing all of the characters with the potential to commit murder. With an island setting that proves to be as expansive as it is claustrophobic, ‘And Then There Were None’ really knows how to keep one on your toes, cooking up an atmosphere that goes along perfectly with the story.
The few speed bumps encountered along the way aren't crippling, but the distractions they provide are definitely noticeable. As there tends to be with a lot of murder mysteries, there's quite a bit of down time in between killings. This leaves portions of the film in which the characters just wander around until the next addition to the body count furthers the plot.
There's some investigation involved, but a lot of the time, we get Judge Francis J. Quinncannon [Barry Fitzgerald] character serving as a one-man army, coming up with explanations left and right while the others sit around waiting to be knocked off. The pacing tends to get a little wobbly and repetitive as a result, but as I mentioned before, it's not enough to completely ruin the film as a whole. The varied selection of actors and characters make sure that the viewers are involved one way or another. The film's finest performances belong to Dr. Edward G. Armstrong [Walter Huston] as the disgraced doctor and Thomas Rogers [Richard Haydn] as the obligatory butler, who, in one of the script's more darkly comedic moments, refuses to serve dinner after being accused of being the killer.
One problem with screen versions of the murder mystery genre, is that it is too easy for characters to have their intentions uncovered prematurely due to the directing of the actors and their expressions. Unlike some of the many later adaptations, this version does a good job of maintaining suspense up until the final scene when the truth is revealed. René Clair keeps us guessing what will happen next, while offering limited foreshadowing. Suspicion is cast on all parties as the characters grapple with their predicament, and the cast does a fine job relaying their fear and anxiety without exposing the answer to the enigma. The cinematography utilises the location effectively, with constant reminders of their desolation adding to the atmosphere, and odd, deliberate camera angles heighten the tension. Like all Agatha Christie mysteries, the finale puts all the pieces together, and the ending here, while predictable to a point, is satisfying, if liberally adapted for the screen. While not exactly faithful to the novel, it is a good translation in tone. For an excellent, old fashioned whodunit, you can't go wrong with this Blu-ray release of this ‘And Then There Were None.’
Blu-ray Video Quality – ‘And Then There Were None’ is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of VCI Entertainment with a 1080p transfer and an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. In the years after its release, ‘And Then There Were None’ fell into the public domain, and it has been released onto DVD by various distributors. It hasn't looked pristine in a very long time, and this new release on Blu-ray from VCI Entertainment, is no exception. The sad news, since VCI Entertainment is touting this on its artwork as "Newly Restored!" It may be newly restored, but it certainly hasn't been restored to anything resembling immaculate condition. There is graininess, unsteadiness, and most of all a general softness to the image, which looks like it may have been sourced from a 16mm print. While not a terrible transfer, the hope created by the "newly restored" verbiage on the box cover makes this a disappointing one. VCI Entertainment is generally a reliable company that puts out good versions of hard-to-see classics and public domain titles, so this is an anomaly for them. But all that being said, this version is still watchable, so this release is still recommended.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – ‘And Then There Were None’ has a 2.0 LPCM Mono Audio track and sounds reasonably problem free, given realistic expectations. There's some very slight distortion evident in the music, but dialogue comes through nicely, albeit with a fair amount of hiss. There are a few pops that haven't been completely eliminated, but overall everything is easy to hear, if not endowed with much dynamic range.
Finally, ‘And Then There Were None’ is a perfect gem of a classic film of its genre, but its sadly VCI Entertainment probably did their best, whatever elements it was able to scrape together, but their efforts are hampered by some odd decisions, notably making this release so very dark. Things aren't horrible here, but there's still is an abundance of grain, so whatever clean-up was done, was done with a naturally filmic look in mind, but my sense is someone is going to need to find much better elements and then really meticulously restore them frame by frame in order for ‘And Then There Were None’ to really pop in high definition. Despite this being the only high definition copy available at this moment in time, I am really pleased and excited to add this to my extensive Blu-ray Collection and if you are into good Murder Mystery type genre, then this is a definite must. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
on 11 May 2014
This version is the best of the lot. It does not have the ham acting and cliched love scenes of the 1965 version, and is more atmospheric than the 1974 version. Being filmed in black and white just adds to the suspense. Well worth the money.
I first read Agatha Christie's "Ten Little Indians" when I was in my early teens; indeed, I still have the book! I loved the story then and it still holds a certain fascination today. The original title was, of course, somewhat different and had been changed for obvious reasons of political and ethnic sensitivity. Many copies of the book bear the title "And Then There Were None", which is also the name of Miss Christie's stage adaptation of the book.
There have been various film versions of the book, the first (and best) of which I am reviewing here. Most versions are called "Ten Little Indians", but this one retains the stage title, "And Then There Were None".
Although the film was made as long ago as 1945, it still makes entertaining viewing, notwithstanding the fact that it is in fairly grainy black and white and has sometimes rather cardboard-looking sets. That it is directed by the great René Clair helps, of course, as does the cracking script by Dudley Nichols and the choice cast of some of Hollywood's most memorable character actors.
Mischa Auer (who gets to sing the title song), Queenie Leonard, Judith Anderson (Mrs Danvers from "Rebecca"), Sir C. Aubrey Smith (wonderful!) and the splendidly adenoidal Richard Haydn all make the most of their moment in the spotlight and even the romantic leads, Louis Hayward and June Duprez, are fairly interesting. The stars of the film (not only in terms of billing) are, however, those three incorrigible scene-stealers, Barry Fitzgerald, Walter Huston and Roland Young; the former two make a great double act, while the latter gets to utter "I get it..." just once too often...
The film is reasonably faithful to the novel. There are a few changes which had been made to comply with the sensitivities of the day, but the most radical change concerns the ending; that of the original is pretty bleak, but the one here, while hardly a "happy ending", is broadly in line with the one Christie adopted for the stage version. Indeed, the ending here seems very satisfying; a satisfying ending, moreover, to a very satisfying film.
You should, moreover, be able to pick this up fairly cheaply.
on 16 February 2015
First, a word of warning. In the version I received, the picture quality of the opening titles was absolutely appalling. Frame judder, blurred, scratched. If the rest of the film had continued in this vain, it would have been almost unwatchable. However, don't be put off by the first couple of minutes.Thankfully, the main film was fine, with fairly crisp, clear black and white photography. Why there should be such a contrast between the titles and the main body I don't know. The titles must have been sourced from a very poor copy indeed. Maybe it was something to do with the change of title, which, for obvious reasons, can no longer be used.
Anyway, the film itself is very good with may well known character actors of the day (1945), an interesting story and atmospheric location of a lonely house on a deserted island. One by one the guests die in mysterious circumstances. The story is of course a well known one, so many will know 'who dun it' in advance, but nevertheless the film is worth watching as an interesting period piece. You may recognise Richard Haydn, who plays Rogers the butler, who later appeared as Max in The Sound of Music. And of course Irish Judge Francis Quincannon, played by well known character actor of the day, Barry Fitzgerald, has a central role (not to give too much away!)
The original 1945 'Then There Were None' is a superb big screen adaption of a good old fashioned whodunit, based on the classic Agatha Christie novel of the same name. If you haven't read the book and aren't familiar with the story, you're in for a treat. I fell into this category, but even if you have already read the book, you'll still enjoy this classic black and white. The ending differs from the book, as does some of the content.
I like atmospheric films, and this has plenty of that. In case your not familiar with the tale, ten strangers visit a remote island, they all soon discover that they have at least one thing in common, and have been gathered together by the mysterious Mr Owen. When Owen fails to arrive, the strangers have lunch together, realise that they are unable to leave, and one by one they are killed off. You will have fun trying to pick out the murderer, and the ending, which raps things up nicely, will come as a surprise.
Considering this movie was made in 1945, I think it holds up very well. It has spawned a remake (the often unfairly degraded 'Ten Little Indians' in 1965), and has inspired various other films. 'Then There Were None' is great fun, with lots of dark humour from a group of interesting characters, portrayed brilliantly by the capable cast.