And Then There Were None (1945)

Sure it was released in theatres on Halloween in 1945 at the end of the war, but as one of the best adaptations of an Agatha Christie book, it still works very well when viewed today. The classic black-and-white movie seamlessly directed by Rene Clair keeps the viewer guessing till the end even though it retains much of the original’s details and flavour. In this, it is assisted by strong casting, particularly of the alcoholic-doctor (Walter Huston) and the Irish judge (Barry Fitzgerald).

I think the movie still works today because it is a first-rate whodunit, has lots of red herrings, no shortage of suspects, many jests, and destabilizes any certainties the viewer may have about the plot per se which features a long surprise ending. Too, the movie plays with fear and trust; for the most part the former is convincingly portrayed and exemplified. For the latter, ‘Who can one trust?’ is the central message, and that is borne out by the many surprises rendered in 97 short, suspenseful, constantly engaging minutes.

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