‘And Then There Were None’ on Acorn TV

The cast of victims in the BBC's 2015 'And Then There Were None'

And Then There Were None (2015) – The popular and prolific Agatha Christie is remembered for her signature creations, the detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, but her best-selling novel features no detective at the center of the mystery. “And Then There Were None,” originally published in 1939, is a thriller about ten people, most of them strangers to one another, invited for a weekend gathering at a manor home on an isolated island, where they are systematically murdered one by one, some of them quite gruesomely, in the manner suggested by a child’s nursery rhyme (retitled “Ten Little Soldiers” for this program, which is historically inaccurate but far less offensive). Christie also wrote a stage version, with a rewritten climax that let a couple of the victims survive in the name of a hopeful ending, and it was adapted for the screen numerous times, almost all borrowing the happy ending of the play.

This 2015 TV British TV miniseries makes some minor changes to the crimes but is the first English language adaptation to preserve the grim ending of the novel. The three-hour production slows the pace to build tension between the characters as they become more panicked and paranoid with each killing, and director brings out the hardest edges of these mostly reprehensible characters hiding their guilt under the façade of respectability. It is set in the late 1930s with handsome settings and costumes and stars a cast of excellent British and Australian actors (among them Charles Dance, Anna Maxwell Martin, Sam Neill, Miranda Richardson, Toby Stephens, and Aidan Turner). The superior adaptation was produced to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the birth of Christie.

An edited, two-part version played on Lifetime in the U.S. The complete, uncut, original British version makes its streaming debut on AcornTV.

Also on DVD and Blu-ray with three featurettes
And Then There Were None [DVD]
And Then There Were None [Blu-ray]

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Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. He writes the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website, and his work appears at RogerEbert.com, Turner Classic Movies online, The Film Noir Foundation, and Parallax View.

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