Saturday, September 17, 2011

Ten Little Indians (1974)

Harry Allan Towers produced three versions of Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians, and in 1974 he made this version using the exact same script as the 1965 version, just changing the setting to the Iranian desert. I’ve also been waiting a long time to get a chance to see this movie. It was released a couple of years ago in the UK, but I just waited a bit longer and a little while ago Swedish company Studio S released it. Most reviews I’ve read over the years told us to stay away from this boring piece of shit. This just made my interest even stronger, and I’m happy to say that it’s not as bad as some people have claimed before. It’s just not very exciting.

Not surprising, the same bunch of characters arrives to another location, this time a luxury mansion far out in the Iranian desert. What makes them special is that they are a fantastic collection of great character actors: Oliver Reed, Maria Rohm, Gert Fröbe, Adolfo Celi, Charles Aznavour, Richard Attenborough. Elke Sommer, Herbert Lom and the voice of Orson Welles! They are lured there by the mysterious Mr U.N. Owen (get it, Unknown) who accuses all of them of murder. And whenever one of those silly Indian statues are found broken, someone is being killed… you know the story, and you probably also know the killer if you seen one of the other versions!

But I won’t reveal who’s the killer, I promise.

So, as usual I bring you the good stuff first – because that’s the most important. I never review movies I totally dislike, that’s just a waste of time for be and for you. What’s good is the gorgeous setting, which looks and feels impressive and fits the story excellent. I was afraid it would be to far-fetched (I like scary, deserted islands like in the original story) but the spooky mansion and the wilderness around it worked perfectly here. Peter Collinson is a good director, and crafts a competent thriller around a script that delivers very little surprises. He also shy’s away from the violence and gore, something that this movie would have needed to be something special.

But if you can live with the generic execution you will find Ten Little Indians to be a good little mystery (which unfortunately uses the Agatha Christie-scripted happy ending that was used in the stage version) with a fucktastic cast! I mean, this the highlight of the movie. Adolfo Celi, one of the finest of Italian character actors, Gert Fröbe and Herbert Lom, Attenborough plus a younger hotter cast: Oliver Reed (not sensational, but good), the beautiful Maria Rohm and the awesome Elke Sommer. It’s a cast for film nerds and only this will make this a recommendation from me.

I shouldn’t forget the great score by Bruno Nicolai either! I wonder if this is released on CD? Talking about the music, even Charles Aznavour gets his own song number (which is not surprising, because that’s what he is – a singer). Felt old-fashioned in a good way.

To be honest, if you want to see a brilliant verson of Ten Little Indians watch the Soviet version from 1987, Desyat Negrityat (my review). That’s a very faithful adaptation, maybe the only version 100% true to Christie’s original vision. But until then, this one delivers cozy entertainment for Saturday mornings and that day you need to stay home because of a nasty cold.

1 comment:

Thomas Duke said...

I haven't seen this version, but I have seen the one with Frank Stallone and Donald Pleasance that takes place in South Africa, I believe. It may have been the 3rd Towers production (I'm not gonna bother to look it up). Pretty much a piece of shit, unless you're addicted to Frank Stallone.

Is "fucktastic" similar to "fuckable"? If so, I heartily disagree. Or, is it a shortened version of "fanfuckingtastic"? If so, I agree.