And Then There Were None (1945)




René Clair




Barry Fitzgerald, Walter Huston, Louis Hayward, June Duprez, Roland Young, Mischa Auer, C. Aubrey Smith, Judith Anderson, Richard Haydn, Queenie Leonard, Harry Thurston


Ten people are invited for the weekend on an isolated island by Mr U.N. Owen only to find that their mysterious host will kill them one by one. 


I've been reading a lot of Agatha Christie lately and And Then There Were None is one of my favourites. So when I found there was not a film, but a lot of films based on the novel, I decided I'd watch them all, starting of course from the first, René Clair's, a solid and compelling mystery movie.

And the credits entirely go to René Clair. I usually have a problem with films based on novels I've read. It isn't them insulting the source material - although that happens too often and annoys me af. No, the problem is whether the film, especially a mystery film, is going to engage me or not. As the movie started though, I knew I wouldn't have to worry about that. The story is exactly the same of the novel - only a few names were changed - but Clair executed it so well delivering it with a balanced combination of black comedy, drama and suspense that it felt as if I didn't know the story at all, which kept me engaged and interested from beginning to end.

I do have to say that a part of the ending was a bit too cheesy for my tastes, but I loved how the mystery was revealed to the audience. Reading the letter Mr Owen had left just wouldn't have worked in the film. Having Mr Owen explaining it though, that was brilliant.

Other than being a very good adaptation, And Then There Were None also has a beautiful score, an oppressive atmosphere, a beautiful black and white photography and very effective settings. 

And then there is the cast. Each actor portrays their character pretty well and I'm glad Hollywood stars weren't cast: that would have ruined the ending because of course, they would survive.

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