Ten Little Indians (1965) is the second film version of Agatha Christie's detective novel of the same name. Although its background story is the same as the 1945 adaptation (And Then There Were None) with ten people invited to a remote location by a mysterious stranger, this one takes place on an isolated snowy mountain. The house used in the film was Kenure House in Rush, County Dublin, Ireland.
This version is also the first adaptation of the novel to show the murders on screen. An uncredited Christopher Lee provides the pre-recorded voice of "Mr. Owen." The film was directed by George Pollock, with a screenplay by Peter Welbeck and Peter Yeldham.
Plot[edit | edit source]
The main players are introduced in close-ups with individual credits as they ride together up a snowy hillside in a cable car to an isolated Alpine chalet. They are Hugh Lombard (Hugh O'Brian), secretary Ann Clyde (Shirley Eaton), retired General Sir John Mandrake (Leo Genn), Dr. Edward Armstrong (Dennis Price), Judge Arthur Cannon (Wilfrid Hyde-White), detective William Blore (Stanley Holloway), actress Ilona Bergen (Daliah Lavi), and pop music singer Mike Raven (Fabian).
These eight people, all strangers to each other, are met by the married domestics hired to attend to their needs, Elsa and Joseph Grohmann (Marianne Hoppe and Mario Adorf). These are the "ten little Indians" who have been brought together by a mysterious host, U.N. Owen.
At dinner that night, the host's voice (Christopher Lee) is heard by all on a tape recorder. He explains that each in the group has innocent blood on his or her hands, crimes that they have not paid for... but will over the course of the weekend. As if on cue, one of the house guests then jokes about the gathering and promptly drops dead from poison.
As one guest after another proceeds to die, the others realize that the killer must be one of their own. What follows is suspense and suspicion along with more inevitable fatalities, including death by crashing cable car [Mrs Grohman] , a knife to the gut [Mandrake], a severed mountain-climbing rope [Mr Grohman], a falling statue to the head [Blore] a fall down a cliff [Armstrong], and other colorful methods of murderous mayhem.
Alterations[edit | edit source]
This adaptation has been retooled to fit the attitude of the "swinging sixties," such as changing the character of the repressed spinster into a glamorous movie star, adding a lot more action to complement the mystery, a fight scene and even a sex scene. Other changes include William Blore not faking his identity as Mr. Davis and essentially changing the backstory of most of the characters. Clyde shoots Lombard at point Blank Range but he survives; she then confronts Cannon who before poisoning himself given her the choice of hanging herself or staying alive and being tried and hanged for murder!
The ending was changed to a less pessimistic one, heavily borrowing from the upbeat finale Christie wrote for the stage version of the story, which was and remains completely at odds with the very downbeat ending of her original mystery thriller.
Cast[edit | edit source]
|Shirley Eaton||Ann Clyde||Secretary||Richard Barclay (her sister's fiancé)||Vera Elizabeth Claythorne|
|Hugh O'Brian||Hugh Lombard/Charles Morely||Engineer||Jennifer Hayes (lover)||Philip Lombard|
|Stanley Holloway||William Blore||Detective||James Landor (perjured testimony)||William Henry Blore|
|Dennis Price||Dr. Edward Armstrong||Doctor||Ivy Benson (patient)||Dr. Edward George Armstrong|
|Wilfrid Hyde-White||Arthur Cannon||Judge||Edward Seton (defendant in a trial)||Lawrence John Wargrave|
|Daliah Lavi||Ilona Bergen||Actress||Mr. Bergen (husband)||Emily Caroline Brent|
|Leo Genn||Sir John Mandrake V.C.||General||Five soldiers (subordinates)||John Gordon Macarthur|
|Fabian||Michael "Mike" Raven||Entertainer||William and Liza Stern (car accident)||Anthony James "Tony" Marston|
|Marianne Hoppe||Elsa Grohmann||Cook||Countess Valenstein (employer)||Ethel Rogers|
|Mario Adorf||Joseph Grohmann||Butler||Countess Valenstein (employer)||Thomas Rogers|
|Christopher Lee||Voice of "Mr. U.N. Owen" (uncredited)||N/A||N/A||Ulick Norman Owen|