Ten Little Indians is a 1989 mystery film, and the fifth screen adaptation (including the 1987 Russian version Desyat Negrityat) of Agatha Christie's famous novel. It was the third version to be produced by Harry Alan Towers, following his 1965 and 1974 adaptations.
In the opening credits, it is stated that this film is based on Christie's stage adaptation and makes no mention of her novel, perhaps because the film's climax is taken almost verbatim from the stage script. (Other western adaptations, while all still using an upbeat finale, have significantly toned down the action-packed climax Christie used in the play.)
Harry Alan Towers commissioned the original script that used the novel's ending (in which Lombard gets shot and Vera hangs herself) and setting the action on an island. However, both of these were changed at the last minute. This version also introduced a lesbian affair. Herbert Lom, who plays the General here, starred in the 1974 film version as Dr. Armstrong.
This production has been released on VHS and laserdisc , but not yet on DVD.
The film was directed by Alan Birkinshaw, and the screenplay was written by Jackson Hunsicker and Gerry O'Hara.
The plot remains the same as in all previous adaptations. As he did in his other versions, producer Towers has yet again changed the locale of the action, this time to the African savanna.
A group of 10 disparate people, strangers to each other, have all traveled to Africa believing they have won a fabulous vacation safari. Things turn ominous from the beginning, however. First their native guides abandon them, then more natives cut a bridge line across a deep canyon (their only way in and out of camp). And their host is strangely absent. Events go from being unsettling to deadly when the guests start dying one at a time, and those who remain realize that they are being slaughtered one by one - but who is responsible?
Cast and characters
- Donald Pleasence - Justice Wargrave. Accused by Mr. Owen of having sentenced an innocent man to death by hanging.
- Frank Stallone - Phillip Lombard. Accused of being responsible for the deaths of 21 native tribesmen.
- Sarah Maur Thorp - Vera Claythorne. Accused of being responsible for the death of a young child.
- Brenda Vaccaro - Marion Marshall. Mr. Owen accuses her of being responsible for the death of an actress named Beatrice Taylor.
- Herbert Lom - General Romensky. Accused of having intentionally sent his wife's lover, one of his junior officers, on a suicide mission during World War I.
- Warren Berlinger - Henry Blore. Accused of having killed a man who was going to implicate him in a crime.
- Yehuda Efroni - Dr. Werner. Accused of operating on a woman while under the influence of alcohol, inadvertently leading to her death.
- Paul L. Smith - Elmo Rodgers. Accused of conspiring with his wife to murder their invalid employer.
- Moira Lister - Ethel Mae Rodgers. Accused of conspiring with her husband to murder their invalid employer.
- Neil McCarthy - Anthony Marston. Accused of having run over two people while driving under the influence of alcohol.