Ten people, strangers to each other, are invited to a lavish estate on an island. Through a recording, their mysterious host accuses each of his `guests' of murder and proceeds to exact `justice'. The tension mounts as,... more » one by one, the number of people are reduced through the ingenious plotting of the unseen killer. Finally only two are left and each is uncertain as to weather or not the other is the murderer. A top cast of veteran performers bring the intricate twist of the plot to life. One of the most thrilling novels, climaxes at the spine tingling conclusion. Match wits with the script as you watch a thriller that has carved its own special niche in the realm of tales of suspense and mystery. Released by 20th Century Fox. Bonus Features: Bonus Classic Comedy Two-Reeler starring Leon Errol, Scene Selection, Actor Bios, Narrative track for the blind. Specs: DVD5; Dolby Digital Mono; 97 minutes; B&W; 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio; MPAA - NR; Year -1945.« less
"The new Image DVD version of AND THEN THERE WERE NONE is a vast improvement in video/audio quality over previous DVD releases by VCI in 1999 and Madacy in 2001. All three versions are currently available at Amazon, so be sure to check the technical info page for each disc to see which company makes it.The video transfer on the Image DVD, said to be made from "original elements", is much, much sharper and more detailed than that on the VCI and Madacy versions. It also shows a little more picture on all four sides of the screen. The picture looks somewhat battered during the opening credits, but it looks great the rest of the way. There is a slight amount of graininess and other blemishes throughout, but it is not detrimental. I'm especially impressed with the scenes that take place in the dark, in which some of the background details, such as engravings on the wall, the subtle lights and shadows, etc., can be seen with much greater clarity. The VCI disc, conversely, looks much less sharp, and the Madacy disc even less so.The monophonic audio tracks on the VCI and Madacy discs are louder but have more noise compared to that on the Image disc. The problem of the dialogs not being synchronized properly on the VCI and Madacy discs has also been fixed on the Image disc.The Image disc has one extra: the film's British opening credit sequence, which uses the deplorably offensive title "Ten Little N******" (which is also Agatha Christie's original title for her whodunnit). The sequence is preceded with an explanation of its use so the viewer has the historical context in mind. The VCI disc has a biography section on the filmmakers and the 1946 comedy short TWIN HUSBANDS, starring Leon Errol. The Madacy disc has a 9-minute newsreel footage from 1945, a 12-minute blooper footage (of OTHER films), 3 screenshots of lobby cards, and a trivia quiz section. All three discs are region-free and without subtitles or closed captioning."
The Best Film Version of the Chrisite Classic
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 03/26/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Agatha Christie's 1930s novel AND THEN THERE WERE NONE told the story of ten unrelated people who are lured under various pretexts to an island resort; once assembled, they discover they have been brought to the island by a mysterious homocidal maniac who accuses each of them of having escaped punishment for a past murder--and who then proceeds to pick them off one by one as the ever dwindling party rushes to unmask the hidden killer in their midst. Nothing like the novel had been seen before, and it was a popular sensation. So much so that Christie herself adapted the novel to the stage. In creating the script, Christie discovered that the novel's uncompromising tone and shocking conclusion did not translate well to the stage, and the final script was considerably lighter and had a considerably softer conclusion. When performed, the script was played as much for comedy as for suspense--and proved as popular as the novel. A film version became inevitable.Countless novels, plays, and movies have borrowed the premise Christie presents in AND THEN THERE NONE, and there have been at least four film versions (most often known as TEN LITTLE INDIANS) of the original work. All of these versions rely more upon the play script than the novel, offering a mix of comedy and suspense, and by far and away the best of them is famed French director Rene Clair's 1940s version. Brilliantly played by an ensemble cast of famed character actors including Judith Anderson, Barry Fitzgerald, Walter Huston, C. Aubrey Smith, and Roland Young, Clair creates a stylish, somewhat surrealistic romp that satirizes British "stiff upper lip" sensibilities with florishes of black comedy while quietly building a sense of increasing unease. From a modern standpoint, the Clair version seems more comic than suspensful; few will find it in the least unnerving. This does not, however, change the fact that it is a tremendous amount of fun to watch. The film creates an air of old-fashioned mischief that is compulsively enjoyable, and even if a contemporary director decided to have another go at the material it seems unlikely that any cast to equal this could be assembled. If you're prepared for a witty amusement, AND THEN THERE WERE NONE is recommended.I don't usually comment on the quality of DVDs unless there is a glaring issue--but since there are several DVD versions of this film, and some have been poorly reviewed, I will specify that I purchased the VCI edition. (The cover of this particular edition is yellow with the faces of the characters appearing in a V-shaped "wedge.") When the DVD began to play, the VCI logo was very distorted; when the DVD changed over to the menu, however, the picture became stable. When I ran the movie, I found the titles had a bit of a flicker, but this quickly vanished; as for overall quality, the picture and sound quality are rather poor as the movie begins but quickly corrects to an acceptable--although not excellent--level."
Abysmal DVD transfer lets down this entertaining film
Gary F. Taylor | 10/29/2001
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Terrible, scrappy transfer to DVD format of a good film! I got the first warnings of things to come in the opening credits.. a scatchy & dusty picture...but that was nothing to the intermittent lip-synch problems! There is little more distracting than having the characters' voices reach your ears either before or after their lips move... And this DVD version is VERY distracting in that respect, with whole chunks of the movie being affected. Such a pity - and such a waste of money!"
Murder mystery with just the right blend of comedy
Steven W. Hill | Chicago, IL United States | 04/27/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"THE MOVIE: I had forgotten how deliciously amusing this film was, not having seen it since the early 1980s. But the comedy doesn't overwhelm the tone, the blend has a perfectly natural feel and the eerie atmosphere is maintained even among the laughs. The cast of generally lesser-known performers is good. Mischa Auer is memorable (as usual) even though the script doesn't allow him much to do; Walter Huston is as engaging as ever. The movie is appropriate for most ages, the murders are usually off-camera and are never gruesome. It holds the viewer's interest very well but the pace seems a bit uneven - it seems to slow down toward the end.TECHNICAL: The DVD presentation is average. The image is not stable; it wobbles quite a bit around the frame which is especially noticeable during the opening titles. The black and white picture has good contrast but is a bit on the soft side. The bios are brief but nicely done screens. There is also a comedy short on the disc which I haven't yet watched. Sound is good, dialogue is usually clear throughout.SUM: I'm ignoring comparisons to the Agatha Christie novel on which the film is based... with that in mind, the movie is fun, interesting and worth a viewing. I'm not entirely sure how well the narrative would hold up on repeat viewings, but the performances are entertaining enough to warrant them.If you found this review informative, please say so and vote YES! Thank you."
Stylish suspense that ranks with the greatest!
A.G. Bassett | 02/09/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"By far the best screen adaptation of Agatha Christie, (not to be mentioned in the same breath with the tepid "Death on the Nile," and "Murder on the Orient Express") you have tantalizing mystery, thrilling suspense, black humor, splendid acting, perfect production, and almost geometrically brilliant direction all in one highly enjoyable package. Internationally famous director Rene Clair here presents the classic mystery with such style and skill, that you truly have no idea what's going to happen next. His craftsmanlike care and attention to detail make all ten characters at once capable and incapable of the murders. The careful casting is also inspired, a troupe containing no types to suggest assured innocence or guilt; yet hardly a collection of no-name fresh off his Oscar-winning performance; Louis Hayward, a now forgotten, but hugely appealing playboy sort; Roland Young, delightfully bumbling; and the adenoidal Richard Haydn, in his most winning performance. These are particular standouts in a sterling cast which also includes Judith Anderson, C. Aubrey Smith, and Mischa Auer. The great mansion is also a triumph of art direction, handsomely photographed in moody black-and-white by Lucien Androit; and music likewise assists to create tempo and atmosphere. Humor is also in generous doses, provided by scriptwriter Dudley Nichols, ("Bringing Up Baby,""Stagecoach," etc.) a master at pointing up the action with the humor, rather than interrupting it. Finally, like all great movies, this one gets better and better as it goes along, culminating in a classic denouement with a neat sting in its tail. Even after the culprit is revealed, you'll want to go back and study the skill at which the mystery was sustained! A true classic totally undeserved of its indifference from the Academy and today's top-ten lists. It will challenge any armchair sleuth out there!"