And Then There Were None

Adaptations

And Then There Were None has had more adaptations than any other single work by Agatha Christie. It is the isolated location where all the players on scene are murdered, never knowing who their murderer is, that is the idea. "It was an idea which is now the basis for many Hollywood horror films and has become a cliché to modern audiences, but it was Agatha Christie who was the first to do it and so successfully that the story has become her most adapted piece."[2] She changed the bleak ending to a more palatable one for theatre audiences when she adapted the novel for the stage in 1943. Many adaptations incorporate changes to the story, such as using Christie's alternative ending from her stage play or changing the setting to locations other than an island.

With a plot line so well known, parodies and references to the novel or the play are frequent. Many television programs use the essence of the plot, a group of characters cut off from the outside world with a murderer in their midst, but with innocent victims in place of guilty victims, and give no credit to Agatha Christie for the many differences in plot and motivation.

Film

There have been numerous film adaptations of the novel, some comedic. Examples include:

  • And Then There Were None (1945 film), René Clair's cinema adaptation, was a successful US production
  • Ten Little Indians (1965 film), is George Pollock's cinema adaptation
  • Gumnaam (1965, translation: Unknown or Anonymous) is an Indian suspense thriller film adaptation.
  • Five Dolls for an August Moon (1970) is a loose Italian giallo adaptation directed by Mario Bava.[29]
  • Nadu Iravil (1970, translation: In the middle of the night), a Tamil adaptation directed by Sundaram Balachander[30]
  • And Then There Were None (1974 film), the first English-language colour version, directed by Peter Collinson
  • Desyat' Negrityat (1987, Десять негритят, Eng: "Ten Little Negroes") Stanislav Govorukhin's Russian adaptation keeps intact Christie's grim storyline and ending.
  • Ten Little Indians, a 1989 American version directed by Alan Birkinshaw
  • Aduthathu (2012) is a Tamil adaptation[31]
  • Aatagara (2015) is a Kannada film adaptation[32]

Radio

  • The BBC broadcast Ten Little Niggers (1947), adapted by Ayton Whitaker, first aired as a Monday Matinee on the BBC Home Service on 27 December 1947 and as Saturday Night Theatre on the BBC Light Programme on 29 December.[33]
  • On 13 November 2010, as part of its Saturday Play series, BBC Radio 4 broadcast a 90-minute adaptation written by Joy Wilkinson. The production was directed by Mary Peate and featured, among others, Geoffrey Whitehead as Justice Wargrave, Lyndsey Marshal as Vera Claythorne, Alex Wyndham as Philip Lombard, John Rowe as Dr. Armstrong, and Joanna Monro as Emily Brent. In this production, which is extremely faithful to the novel, the rhyme is "Ten Little Soldier Boys".

Stage

  • And Then There Were None (1943 play) is Christie's adaptation of the story for the stage. She and the producers agreed that audiences might not flock to a tale with such a grim ending as the novel, nor would it work well dramatically as there would be no one left to tell the story. Thus, she reworked the ending for Lombard and Vera to be innocent of the crimes of which they were accused, survive, and fall in love with each other. Some of the names were also changed, e.g., General Macarthur became General McKenzie in both the New York and London productions.[34][35] By 1943, General Douglas MacArthur was playing a prominent role in the Pacific Theatre of World War II, which may explain the change of the character's name. Regardless of the reason, it was changed.
  • Ten little niggers (1944 play), Dundee Repertory Theatre Company was given special permission to restore the original ending of the novel. The company first performed a stage adaptation of the novel in August 1944 under the UK title of the novel, with Agatha Christie credited as the dramatist.[36] It was the first performance in repertory theatre.[36] It was staged again in 1965.[37] There was an article in the Dundee Evening Register in August 1944
  • And Then There Were None (2005 play), On 14 October 2005, a new version of the play, written by Kevin Elyot and directed by Steven Pimlott, opened at the Gielgud Theatre in London. For this version, Elyot returned to the original story in the novel, restoring the nihilism of the original.[38]

Television

Several variations of the original novel were adapted for television, three of which were British adaptations. The first of these, in 1949, was produced by the BBC.[39] The second was produced in 1959,[40] by ITV. Both of those productions aired with Christie's original title. The third and most recent British adaptation aired as And Then There Were None on BBC One in December 2015, as a mini-series produced in cooperation with Acorn Media and Agatha Christie Productions. The 2015 production adhered more closely to the original plot, though there were several differences, and was the first English language film adaptation to feature an ending similar to that of the novel.[41]

On 25 and 26 March 2017 TV Asahi in Japan aired そして誰もいなくなった (Soshite daremo inakunatta), a Japanese language adaptation by Nagasaka Shukei (長坂秀佳) of the original story set in modern times.[42][43]

Other media

The novel has been the inspiration for several video games. For the Apple II, Online Systems released the game Mystery House in 1980. On the PC, The Adventure Company released the video game Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None in 2005, the first in a series of PC games based on Christie novels. In February 2008, it was ported to the Wii console. The identity of the murderer is not that of the killer in the original book. The game player assumes the role of Patrick Naracott (brother of Fred Naracott, who is involved in a newly created subplot), who is stranded with the others when his boat is scuttled. This allows for alternate, more successful endings in which Naracott survives and is able to prevent the murders of the innocent Lombard and Claythorne. All endings depart markedly from the novel and previous adaptations in that the killer and motives are different.

And Then There Were None was released by HarperCollins as a graphic novel adaptation on 30 April 2009, adapted by François Rivière and illustrated by Frank Leclercq.

Peká Editorial released a board game based on the book, created by Judit Hurtado and Fernando Chavarría, and illustrated by Esperanza Peinado.[44]

Timeline of adaptations

type Title Year Notes
Film And Then There Were None 1945 American film and first cinema adaptation. Produced & directed by René Clair.
TV Ten Little Niggers 1949 BBC television production (IMDb)
TV Ten Little Niggers 1959 ITV television production (IMDb)
TV Ten Little Indians 1959 NBC television production (IMDb)
Film Ten Little Indians 1965 British film and second cinema adaptation. Directed by George Pollock and produced by Harry Alan Towers; Pollock had previously handled four Miss Marple films starring Margaret Rutherford. Set in a mountain retreat in Austria.
Film Gumnaam 1965 Loose, uncredited Hindi film adaptation, which adds the characteristic "Bollywood" elements of comedy, music and dance to Christie's plot.
TV Zehn kleine Negerlein 1969 West German television production (IMDb)
Film 5 bambole per la luna d'agosto("Five Dolls for an August Moon") 1970 Loose, uncredited Italian giallo film adaptation written by Mario di Nardo and directed by Mario Bava.[29]
Film And Then There Were None 1974 English language film by Peter Collinson and produced by Harry Alan Towers. First English-language color film version of the novel, based on a screenplay by Towers (writing as "Peter Welbeck"), who co-wrote the screenplay for the 1965 film. Set at a grand hotel in the Iranian desert.
TV Ten Little Slaves (Achra Abid Zghar) 1974 Télé Liban TV series directed by Jean Fayyad, TV Adaptation by Latifeh Moultaka. (Facebook Page)
Film Desyat' negrityatДесять негритят("Ten Little Negroes") 1987 Russian film version produced/directed by Stanislav Govorukhin, notable for being the first cinema adaptation to keep the novel's original plot and grim ending.
Film Ten Little Indians 1989 British film, produced by Harry Alan Towers and directed by Alan Birkinshaw, set on safari in the African savannah.
TV Ten Little Slaves (Achra Abid Zghar) 2014 MTV Lebanon television production (MTV)
TV And Then There Were None 2015 BBC One miniseries broadcast on three consecutive nights, directed by Craig Viveiros and adapted by Sarah Phelps. Similar to book, although not identical, with changes to backstories and actual murders on the island.
TV Soshite Daremo Inakunatta 2017 Japanese TV Asahi miniseries broadcast on two consecutive nights, directed by Seiji Izumi and adapted by Hideka Nagasaka. (TV Asahi)

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