murder-mystery-movie

And Then
There Were None

Director:
René Clair

Cast: Walter Huston (Dr. Armstrong), Barry Fitzgerald (Judge Quinncannon), Louis Hayward (Philip Lombard), Roland Young (Detective Bloor), June Duprez (Vera Claythorne), Mischa Auer (Prince Nikki Starloff), C. Aubrey Smith (General Mandrake), Judith Anderson (Emily Brent), Richard Haydn (Thomas Rogers), Queenie Leonard (Mrs. Rogers), Harry Thurston (Fred Narracott).

In 1945, French film diirector Rene Clair truly understood the humor and horror that famed mystery author Agatha Christie had intended when she penned, ‘And Then There Were None' in 1939. Brilliantly directed with just enough humor to keep the tension from becoming overbearing, the familiar story of ten individuals lured to their deaths is pure murder mystery magic in this classic black and white film. Eight guests, all strangers to each other, are invited by a wealthy host to enjoy a weekend holiday in a mansion on a private island. Sounds delightful. It will be anything but.

Not long after arriving, the assembled guests are surprised to discover three disturbing facts:

  1. Among the guests, none of them have ever met their host and seemingly have no idea why they were invited to this house party.
  2. The mystery host is, apparently, not on the island with them.
  3. Most upsetting of all, is that they quickly realize with rising panic that they are stranded on the island with no way to leave. There is absolutely no way to communicate their predicament to the outside world or summon help. They are trapped in an intricate spider's web and helpless to save themselves.

The eight guests realize that the only staff at the mansion are a husband and wife who have just recently been hired and they, like the guests, have never set sight on their employer. Not to worry, while no one has seen this eccentric host, they will soon hear from him. A recorded message is played and the host's voice accuses each of the guests and the butler and cook of a horrible crime. Each of them have sometime in their past, caused the death of an innocent person. Now, they have been tricked into coming to this island solely to receive punishment for their alleged crimes.

Soon, the guests realize that they do, indeed, have dark secrets and that their ghostly host plans to murder them all before the weekend is over! Suspicion and fear grip each of the them and, true to their host's predictions, deaths begin occurring one-by-one. As each murder is discovered, small statues of little Indians which had been the centerpiece on the dining room table are found smashed to bits. As soon as one of these statues is broken, it is certain another dead body will turn up.

Today, with movie goers numbed by slasher movies, the slower pace of And Then There Were None might seem less thrilling than viewing buckets of blood and gobs of gore. However, the tension in this classic movie is so taut that it sets you on edge simply because of its marvelous storytelling. Starkly, simply, fear takes hold as the shadows of past lives will overcome and destroy any hope of a future. Who can they trust? What can they do? Macabre death is reaching out to take them all until ... there were none.

Read our biography of Agatha Christie..