This screen version of Agatha Christie’s [novel and stage play Ten Little Niggers] is a dull whodunit. The Christie mag yarn [serialized in the Saturday Evening Post] was a fair mystery story and a Broadway hit as a stage adaptation, called 10 Little Indians, but the film version adds no laurels to the original.
Plot concerns itself with 10 assorted characters, each with a bad spot in his past, who are marooned on a lonely island off the English coast. Like the nursery rhyme, the number is decimated by sudden death until only two leave the island alive. Victims are mysteriously gathered in the spot by a mad judge who fancies himself as a dispenser of justice.
Picture rarely rises to moments of suspense and despite the killings it gives the appearance of nothing ever happening as directed by Rene Clair.
Barry Fitzgerald is only fair. Walter Huston, Louis Hayward, Roland Young, June Duprez, C. Aubrey Smith and others appear equally out of place. Production is first venture by Harry M. Popkin, burlesque and film theater operator.