Widely considered one of Agatha Christie’s best who-dunnits, “The Ten Little Indians” first appeared in the Post on May 20, 1939, and ran as a six-part serial before it was published in book form in 1940.
The murder-mystery tale featuring ten strangers who are slowly picked off, one by one, by a mysterious killer made a gripping story for the big screen. Starring Barry Fitzgerald, Walter Huston, and Louis Hayward, the film adheres to the ending of the Ten Little Indians play rather than the novel, which had a considerably darker ending that audiences disliked, and which Christie re-wrote herself to include a romance and a happier resolution. In fact, only the 1987 Soviet film version kept the novel’s original ending.
The 1945 incarnation is the most true to the book, however, and is typically the most popular film adaptation, earning a four-star rating from Leonard Maltin and Turner Classic Movies.
While none of the seven film versions has ever attracted Academy attention, the story’s plotline has been referenced more than fifteen times in popular media, including episodes of Gilligan’s Island, Golden Girls, Supernatural, and in horror flick Friday the 13th.
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