Ten Little Indians (1974) | The Agatha Christie who’s next whodunnit gets the Harry Alan Towers treatment
Ten strangers are invited to the luxurious Persian desert hotel owned by the wealthy, but absent, Mr Owen where they learn, from a mysterious voice, that retribution is at hand as each one of them is an unpunished murderer…
1974’s Ten Little Indians (aka And Then There Were None) which screens on ITV3 HD tonight at 1.15am was the third film adaptation of Agatha Christie’s best-selling 1939 novel (whose original title was latter changed for being racially insensitive) by legendary exploitation producer Harry Alan Towers, whose Euro thrillers were all bankrolled on the back of deals made with hoteliers and government tourism ministers around the world, and getting big name stars to sign up for a glorified paid holiday.
For this ‘international movie mess’ which is how Vincent Canby of the New York Times described the film, the fabulous Abbasi Hotel (then known as the Shah Abbas Hotel) in Isfahan, Iran stood in for the desert home of U.N. Owen (voiced by Orson Welles, who played Long John Silver in Towers’ Treasure Island in 1972).
But aside from the opulent hotel and a haunting score from an uncredited Bruno Nicolai, the most entertaining thing about the film (which was directed by Peter Collinson of The Italian Job fame, but who ended up helming genre fare like Fright, Open Season and Straight On Til Morning) is the starry cast, which included two former Bond villains Gert (Goldfinger) Fröbe and Adolfo (Largo) Celi, as well as Oliver Reed, Charles Aznavour, Herbert Lom, Richard Attenborough, Elke Sommer, Stéphane Audran and Maria Rohm (aka Mrs Harry Alan Towers). And as for the award to the best ‘worst’ performance – well, if you can stay awake until the end, then it’s a toss up between Reed and Aznavour (who lip-synchs his trademark song The Old Fashioned Way).
Fans of the classic mystery might like to know that an all-star three-part dramatisation is heading to BBC1 over Christmas.
Posted on November 29, 2015, in Disaster Movies, Exploitation, Might See, Might See, Might See, Might-See, Thriller and tagged Abbasi Hotel, Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None, Charles Aznavour, Elke Sommer, Harry Alan Towers, Herbert Lom, ITV3, Maria Rohm, Might See, Oliver Reed, Peter Collinson, Richard Attenborough, Shah Abbas Hotel, Stéphane Audran, Ten Little Indians, Thriller, Whodunit. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.