Monday, December 10, 2012

Ten Little Indians (1959)

Sinister Cinema has released a kinoscope of a 1960 live TV broadcast of Agatha Chriistie's Ten Little Indians. Running a scant 52 minutes I would be hard pressed not to say it's the best version of the story I've seen.

For those who have no working knowledge of the tale (which has been ripped off and riffed dozens of times over the years) the story has ten strangers invited to an island for a weekend getaway. A note id left saying that the host is delayed but everyone is to enjoy themselves. When music is put on, it's actually discovered that the music is the voice of their host who accuses them of getting away with murder and pretty much implying death for everyone. As the night goes on people die, everyone turns on each other and nerves fray until....

...that would be telling.

I've seen any number of versions of the story some of which have worked and some of which haven't. Once you've seen a version of the story you simply have to wait to see how it all plays out in any other. Some times you're gripped and some times you're not. Here I was.

The reason this version works so well is that the whole things moves like the wind. Everyone is introduced and killed off with an economy of style that is truly inspiring. We seem to get enough to feel we know everyone before they are removed. We are given just enough info to keep things moving so that at no point do we feel like we're killing time (some of the versions from the 70's and 80's). Best of all the speed at which it moves, especially when the commercials are revoved, adds greatly to the tension.

Definitely worth searching out.

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