|Walter Huston and Barry Fitzgerald|
Several people receive invitations to the very isolated Indian island, and find themselves accused of murder and of escaping justice. One by one, in accordance with a nursery rhyme on "Ten Little Indians," the members of the party are killed as the diminishing survivors become increasingly paranoid. This somewhat light-hearted version of Agatha Christie's classic novel has perhaps too much humor, and changes the grim and uncompromising ending of the book, but it manages to work up considerable suspense along with atmosphere and a certain tension. The actors are generally good, with Barry Fitzgerald as a judge, Walter Huston as a doctor, Louis Hayward as an adventurer, June Duprez [The Brighton Strangler] as a secretary, and Judith Anderson [Rebecca] as a prim and proper if rather heartless middle-aged woman. Richard Haydn [Dear Wife], C. Aubrey Smith, and Roland Young also have important roles. Most of the actors have been directed to play it rather "cute," but for the large part Clair's direction is quite adroit. Christie created her own little sub-genre with this very influential book, which was filmed several times both as "And Then There Were None" and "Ten Little Indians." Most of these were pretty bad. There was a creditable British mini-series in 2015.
Verdict: The fascinating and macabre situation carries this along. ***.