Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Something camp for the weekend 3: a lesser Agatha Christie

A star-laden Agatha Christie from 1974: AND THEN THERE WERE NONE. We quite like those camp all-star Agatha Christie adaptations popular in the '70s and '80s, started by MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS and getting camper as they went along: DEATH ON THE NILE, EVIL UNDER THE SUN, THE MIRROR'S CRACKED (see Christie label). A lesser one is AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, which features a fascinating round-up of Euro-players, and is set in a luxury hotel in Isfahan, Iran - and features rare footage of the little-seen ancient city of Persepolis, where Alexander the Great hung out. Despite all this, there is something cheap about it though, its very much a minor Christie, but none the less camp for all that. 

A group of ten people, strangers to each other, have all travelled to a hotel located deep in the deserts of Iran. Upon arrival they discover that their host is mysteriously absent. Though some find this odd they decide to make the best of the situation and settle into the isolated but luxurious hotel. But soon they are accused by a tape recording of having committed various crimes in the past which went unpunished by the law. Then one victim dies of poisoning. Then another is strangled .... and the remaining guests deduce that their unseen host is determined to kill them one by one .... and as there is no-one else at the hotel, the killer has to be one of them ..... finally, there are just two left - one of them has to be the killer - or is there a twist ? 

This hoary old Christie chestnut has been done several times. I have not seen the 1940s one, but this 1974 version follows the amusing 1965 British TEN LITTLE INDIANS almost line by line, scene by scene - they are almost comedies. That black and white one was set in an Alpine fortress and had a fascinating 1960s cast with Bond girl Shirley Eaton and Hugh O'Brien, exotic Daliah Lavi, and Fabian, with British stalwarts Dennis Price, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Stanley Holloway and Leo Genn.  

Here in '74 we have Oliver Reed and Elke Sommer as the rather bland leads, with French Stephane Audran and Charles Aznavour, and two Bond villains Gert Frobe and Adolfo Celi, plus Brits Richard Attenborough and Herbert Lom. If you know the twist its reasonably amusing. This one is a Harry Alan Towers polyglot co-production, directed by Peter Collinson. At least it reminds us how much we like the very slinky Stephane Audran, who is marvellous here. Aznavour sings one of his popular hits "Dance in the old fashioned way" before he croaks .... and thats when the fun starts ! Oh, and the voice on the tape machine is Orson Welles ! 

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