Saw 60's Style
Ten strangers all arrive at a castle on top of a snowy Austrian mountain having been invited there by the mysterious Mr. Owen. Joseph (Mario Adorf) and Elsa Grohmann (Marianne Hoppe) find themselves there having been hired to wait upon the others which include secretary Ann Clyde (Shirley Eaton), engineer Hugh Lombard (Hugh O'Brian), singer Mike Raven (Fabian), movie star Ilona Bergen (Daliah Lavi), Judge Arthur Cannon (Wilfred Hyde-White), General Sir John Mandrake (Leo Genn), Detective William Blore (Stanley Holloway) and doctor Edward Armstrong (Dennis Price). But as they convene for dinner a tape is played which informs them that each is guilty of a violent crime which they got away with. But slowly they start to drop, one by one leaving the rest to work out what is going on and who the killer is amongst them.
For those who are unaware "Ten Little Indians" is an adaptation of an Agatha Christie novel and it is a novel which has been the inspiration for various movies over the years, you could even say it influenced the "Saw" movies with the concept of strangers guilty of a crime being punished. But whilst we have the macabre concept of strangers dealing with death as one by one they die it isn't about the deaths but the mystery of who the killer is. And it works because the story comes together nicely, from learning about each of the crimes they committed to building up as to why they can't leave. It keeps you guessing as to who the evil genius is behind it all.
But then there is the casting and on a business level is it is pure genius as we have these familiar faces such as Shirley Eaton and Hugh O'Brian but none were big name starts with huge salaries to pay and more importantly each were the others equal with no one being a bigger star than another. But then whilst the casting was clever some of the acting is less so with Fabian coming across as annoying as singer Raven and by no means convincing. Not all the performances are bad with the likes of Holloway and Hyde-White bringing gravitas to their roles whilst Hugh O'Brian and Shirley Eaton look good together.
But to be honest there isn't a great deal more to "Ten Little Indians" and whilst director George Pollock does a solid job of making the mystery come to life it is really the strength of the story which makes the movie rather than his direction. Other than the opening scenic shots and one death involving a cable car the rest of the movie is ordinary in look.
What this all boils down to is that "Ten Little Indians" is an entertaining movie and you will find yourself drawn into the mystery as soon as it starts. But it is mostly down to Christie's story as to why it works rather than for the direction or acting although the familiar cast certainly helps matters.