Stylish Movies: Ten Little Indians (1965)

Agatha Christie’s ‘And then there were none‘ is one of her most successful and  widely read novels, being one of the best selling books of all time, and one that has had a wide range of both film and TV adaptations. 10 Little Indians, which was shown over Christmas on the fabulous Talking Pictures channel, was a 1960’s adaptation that received mixed reviews at the time, but is definitely worth a reevaluation due to some good casting and an ingenious setting.

‘And then there are none’ is the story of 10 strangers, invited to stay as guests of a Mr  U N Owen, and then being killed, one by one, by an invisible killer who is dishing out his own brand of justice for crimes that each victim has committed, but has not been punished for by law. In this swinging sixties version, directed by George Pollock, the action is transferred to an Alpine Ski resort, to a stunning mansion that can only be reached by a ski lift, with the ski lift also leading to some spectacular death scenes.

The cast has some great star names and attractions, including James Bond golden girl Shirley Eaton as Ann Clyde, employed as a secretary for the mysterious Mr Owen, Stanley Holloway as the detective William Blore, Wilfred Hyde White as the judge Edward Seton and Dennis Price as the doctor Edward Armstrong. Early 1960’s pop star Fabian as a small but showy roll as the entertainer Mike Raven, who is allowed to perform a jazzed up version of the ‘Ten little Indians’ nursery rhyme at the piano before he is poisoned by a cocktail.

The glamour is provided by both Shirley Eaton and Sophia Loren lookalike Daliah Lavi. I like the way Shirley (as Ann) wears lots of white clothing, to signify innocence of the crime she is accused of, while Daliah as actress Ilona Bergen, is clearly guilty (another guest actually corroborates this) and wears lots of gothic, very glamorous black.

Whilst I think there have been better, more claustrophobic versions of ‘And then there were none’ (my own favourite is the TV adaptation set at Burgh Island which offers a stunning, Art Deco setting that suits the book perfectly), this is still well worth checking out. Look out for a future showing at Talking Pictures.

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