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And Then There Were None [DVD]
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Richard Attenborough and Oliver Reed star in this 1970s adaptation of the classic crime novel 'Ten Little Indians' by Agatha Christie. Ten people from all over the world receive the same mysterious invitation to stay in a luxury hotel in the middle of the Iranian desert. When their host fails to appear, they settle down to dinner - and are all accused of murder by a pre-recorded voice (Orson Welles). As the guests subsequently turn up murdered one by one in the fashion of the nursery rhyme 'Ten Little Indians', the dwindling number of survivors struggle to discover who is responsible for the killings. Will anyone leave the hotel alive?
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The film translates well to DVD, although the opening sequence with its grain shows lazy attention to detail.
DO NOT waste your money on this, BUT BUY the 1945 version directed by Rene Clair and superbly acted by Barry Fitzgerald, Walter Huston and et al.
If it looks good, the sound is rather more problematic, with Robert Rietty dubbing four of the cast even in scenes where they talk to each other (was David De Keyser too busy that week to provide at least two of them to add at least some variety?), something particularly noticeable when Aznavour sings his signature number The Old Fashioned Way in his own voice only to immediately start speaking in Rietty’s, while Bruno Nicolai’s score is noisily mixed over at least one key dialogue scene. And it’s hard to tell whether the shoddy grading that has one nighttime scene played out in blazing sunlight was a problem with the original release or simply an error in grading the TV prints. But it wouldn’t be an Old HAT production if there weren’t his trademark technical shoddiness because he’d lost interest almost as soon as he’d set up the deal and banked the cheque. Not that the shoddiness is all in the post-production. Director Peter Collinson may make it look good but he has no interest in the thriller aspect or the killings, which happen offscreen in unimaginative ways. With only Attenborough and Lom making any kind of impression, and neither on top form, there’s not much but the scenery to keep you watching, making it a bust as a thriller but the kind of lavish all-star promotional video that’ll have you rushing off to look up the hotel on the internet and make an online booking for your next holiday before you suddenly realise that maybe Iran isn’t such a great idea for a quick getaway anymore.
Still, despite failing to bring the old chestnut to life with three Bond villains in the cast, Old HAT would give it yet another go in 1989, with Lom co-starring with Frank Stallone, moving the setting to an African safari, but with the reviews singling it out as the worst of the bunch even completism and morbid curiosity make it an offer you can refuse…
Optimum's UK DVD is in the correct 1.66:1 ratio and includes the theatrical trailer.
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