Agatha Christie on the Big and Small Screen
Even though Dame Agatha may not have enjoyed adaptations of her mysteries, audiences have been loving them for decades
- By Daniel Eagan
- Smithsonian.com, May 16, 2011
The French director René Clair brought ghoulish humor to this adaptation of Ten Little Indians, a whodunit with a “Who’s Who” cast of Hollywood character actors including Walter Huston, Sir C. Aubrey Smith and Barry Fitzgerald, who had just won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Going My Way. Screenwriter Dudley Nichols worked from Dame Agatha’s play, which changed the ending of her 1939 novel about a group of strangers brought together for a weekend party that turns deadly. The tricky plot was so durable that the film has been remade several times: a BBC TV version in 1949; as Ten Little Indians in 1966 with Hugh O’Brian and Wilfrid Hyde-White; 1975’s Ten Little Indians, set in Iran and starring Sir Richard Attenborough; a 1989 version starring Donald Pleasence; and Desyat negrityat, made at the Odessa Film Studio in 1987.