And Then There Were None
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
As the world teeters on the brink of World War II, 10 strangers are invited to isolated Soldier Island. Among them are young secretary Vera Claythorne (Maeve Dermody, Serangoon Road), soldier Philip Lombard (Aidan Turner, Poldark), General John MacArther (Sam Neill, Jurassic Park), spinster Emily Brent (Miranda Richardson, Parade’s End), and Judge Lawrence Wargrave (Charles Dance, Game of Thrones). With seemingly nothing in common, the guests wonder who their mysterious host may be. But the ominous reason for their visit soon becomes clear…and by the end of the night, the first of them is dead.
Based on the bestselling crime novel of all time by Agatha Christie, this “TV event of the year” (The Guardian, UK) boasts an all-star cast also including Anna Maxwell Martin (The Bletchley Circle), Toby Stephens (Black Sails), Burn Gorman (TURN: Washington’s Spies), Noah Taylor (Peaky Blinders), and Douglas Booth (Great Expectations).
Top customer reviews
Keeping the 1930's time period, but gorgeously filmed with modern camerawork and style, the story here is of ten strangers invited to a secluded island mansion by their mysterious host(s). Upon their arrival, they are each accused of murder in one way or another. Eventually, one by one, they start to die. Cut off from the mainland, stranded with a killer(s), their numbers dwindling, the past for each begins to rear its ugly head.
This is probably one of the most fascinating whodunnits ever written/staged/produced, and -in keeping with the book's original bleak ending- one of the darkest. BBC1 has generated something truly exquisite. Watching the three, one-hour-long episodes of 'And Then There Were None' was like a dream; I honestly don't remember blinking once, or even taking a single breath throughout my binge-watching. It's that good. The suspense will keep you rapt, the mystery will keep you guessing, and the brilliant performances of a stellar cast will keep you wanting more.
When you find something you love, you want to share it with the world. That is why, as soon as the US releases its DVD version in April, I will be parading 'And Then There Were None' around to everyone I know; I will shout its greatness from every rooftop of every corner of the world until everyone knows my love of it.
My only question is: What are you waiting for?
A mere four years after the novel came out, Christie adapted it for the stage. She made a powerful decision, with which we modern readers may or may not agree. She concurred with the producers’ desire to give audiences a happy ending – two characters turn out to be innocent of any past crime and manage to foil the murderer and survive – and in so doing transformed this tale of mass murder into more of a mystery comedy. That tone was repeated in the fine film rendition of 1945, directed by Rene Clair. Most of the subsequent film versions stuck with this happy ending but lost the charm of Christie’s writing (or Dudley Nichols’ screenplay for the 1945 version.) Some characters were hopelessly miscast or changed to allow for stunt casting (Emily Brent and Anthony Marston suffered the worst indignities.) Violence was amplified, and sex was added. But the storyline generally followed Christie’s stage adaptation.
The novel has been adapted for television quite a few times: three times in the U.K., once in America, with other versions popping up in France, Germany, Lebanon, and Cuba. As far as I know, these adaptations stuck with the happy ending.
Only four times, to my understanding, has an attempt been made to present Christie’s novel as it was originally written. First, onstage in 1944 at the Dundee Repertory Theatre Company (by special permission from the author) and again in 2005, in a play by Kevin Elyot that was staged in gory splendor and died an ignominious death soon after it opened. In Russia, a film was made in 1987 that you can watch on You Tube. (There used to be a version with subtitles.) I found it very slow going, but it does have the original downbeat ending.
And now we have the latest version, the 4th British TV adaptation, this one by the BBC. It was presented at the end of 2015 in three one-hour installments and is scheduled to be shown in the U.S. this spring in two parts. I had the opportunity to watch the production ahead of time, and I am here to report that it is really quite marvelous in nearly every way.
To begin with, the production is bleak and beautiful, portraying the period exquisitely and the remote setting and the disintegration of civilization with artistic flair. The characters are deeply drawn, more so with those who survive the longest, as it should be, but each one is a beautifully portrayed gem. The script, by Sarah Phelps, makes fine use of the luxurious three hours of storytelling she has been given, highlighting the psychological torture of this event and providing flashbacks and hallucinations at key moments to expose the truth of each character’s past or to torment the doomed guests. And there really is a sense of doom here, one that manages to transcend the episodic format of this presentation. Some have complained that it ran too long; I myself ate up every delicious minute of it!
The original ending of Christie’s novel is, to all intents and purposes, restored, but inquiring minds still want to know if the adaptation is faithful in all ways to the original. My answer is: “Sort of, but that’s fine with me!” Phelps focuses much of her story on Vera, which is quite appropriate given her prominence throughout the novel. Her backstory is handed to us, bit by bit, through flashbacks and retains the original tale of Vera’s involvement with Cyril and Hugo Hamilton faithfully. Other characters are given different and, to my mind, darker motivations to explain their crimes, particularly Emily Brent, Justice Wargrave and Mr. Blore. More important, we see a much more severe societal breakdown as the deadly weekend progresses, most notably in a debauched scene where the remaining guests indulge in drink, drugs and sex to get through a particularly horrendous night. Nope, this scene is definitely not found in Christie, but it shows with great power how shredded the psyches of these survivors have become. The adaptation is incredibly faithful to the original where it counts, and I would venture to opine that it will go down as one of the best versions of the novel to be filmed.
If the BBC, which now owns the rights to all of Dame Agatha's stories, can work this sort of magic with future Christie works (and avoid the mess it made of its recent Partners in Crime series), then all of us Christie fans will surely benefit!