And Then There Were None

Barry Fitzgerald and cast

There have been many, many adaptations of Agatha Christie’s novel And Then There Were None, but for pure, straightforward storytelling at pace, it hard to beat this one, from 1945. It writes the book on the “elimination whodunit”, when one character after another is killed, with Christie keeping the speculation going as to who actually did it right up to the point when there are only two possible choices left. As so often with Christie, she withholds some vital piece of information from the audience, and then delivers it at the end with a ta-daa flourish. This is exactly the sort of plotting that drives some people into Christie’s arms and others out … Read more


Laura with Shelby Carpenter

A complex psychological thriller masquerading as a film noir, 1944’s Laura is about three men who are bewitched by a woman so ethereally, transcendentally beguiling that it is entirely appropriate that, when director Otto Preminger takes the curtain up, Laura (Gene Tierney) is already dead. What follows is a basic whodunit pulled in various unusual directions. A for-instance: the cop on the case, Detective McPherson (Dana Andrews), invites one of the men suspected of killing her, Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb), to accompany him while he cross-examines other witnesses. What cop does that? Another: the cop doesn’t do very much actual investigating and instead spends an inordinate amount of time in the dead woman’s … Read more