*********Major Spoiler Warning*********
There are four English language version of Ten Little Indians/And Then There Were None.
The first version was, like the book, set on an island. In subsequent versions the story was set in a house in the mountains, a house in the middle of a desert, and most implausibly on an African safari.
The manner of the victims’ deaths sometime vary in the different versions.
In all four versions the first victim is poisoned. (And in the third adaptation it’s the only murder which is the same as in the book.) However the name and nationality of the victim differs in each version. In the first version it’s the Russian Prince Sterlof. In the second version it’s American pop singer Mike Raven. In the third film it’s the French singer Michel Raven. Only in the fourth film is it the Englishman Anthony Marston.
The second victim is the cook. In the first and fourth versions the cook dies of an overdose of sleeping tablets, as in the book, and fitting in with the rhyme. In the second film version the second verse of the rhyme is changed and the cook is killed while trying to escape in a cable car which has been sabotaged. In the third version she’s strangled with a whip, the Iranian method of executing a murderess.
The next victim is the general. In the book he’s killed with a blunt instrument. However in the stage version he gets stabbed, and he gets stabbed in the first three film versions. In the fourth version he’s pushed from a rock.
The next victim is the man servant whose death coincides with the verse about the Indians chopping sticks. In the first version the butler is killed with an axe. In the second version the murder uses the axe to cut through the rope when the butler tries to escape by climbing down the mountain. In the third version he dies when his attempt to trek through the desert is sabotaged. In the fourth version the butler once again dies from being struck with an axe, although, a sign of the times, in this version we see him with an exe in his head, whereas in the first version we only see the victim’s feet.
The fifth murder fits in with verse about the Indian who was stung by a bee. In each version the fifth victim dies of a lethal injection, with the exception of the third version where she gets bitten by a snake. Although how the murdered managed to keep a live poisonous snake hidden from the other guests is unclear. The first version was the only one where the fifth victim is the elderly spinster Emily Brent. In the other versions the character was unnecessarily changed to a glamorous film star.
Next the judge is found apparently shot through the head.
Next Doctor Armstrong disappears, then Blore gets killed, and the doctor is found dead. The fourth version differs in that Blore gets killed after the doctor’s body is found.
In the first version the Doctor drowns, as in the book and fitting in with the rhyme, but this is the only film version set somewhere where there's any water for him to drown in. In the second and third versions it isn’t clear how he died. In the fourth version he appears to have died from multiple stab wounds.
In the book Blore is killed by having a statue of a bear dropped on him which fits in with the rhyme, and this is what happens in the second version. In the first version he has some loose brickwork dropped on top of him. In the third version he’s pushed from a building. In the fourth version he’s stabbed and the dagger has also been pushed through Lombard’s teddy bear. (And the audience probably felt more sorry for the bear.)
What happens next in the films really deviates from the plot of the book. In the novel Vera Claythorne, thinking that she and Phillip Lombard is the murderer, shoots Lombard, then goes into the house and hangs herself. And then the judge, who faked his death earlier, shoots himself but makes his suicide look like a murder.
In the first three film version the judge thinks that Vera has shot Lombard. When she come into the house he shows her a noose which he has set up. He poisons himself, and as he dies he tells her that when she gets found alone on the island with all these bodies the police will think she did it and she will be hanged for it, so she’d been better off hanging herself. But then Lombard come into the room and the judge dies realising that his plan has failed.
The fourth film version differs in that the judge has Vera hanging before he poisons himself, and he’s already dead when Lombard come round and rescues Vera. The first and fourth versions are the only one which explain how Lombard survives. In the first version we see Lombard persuade Vera to pretend to shoot him before she goes back into the house. In the fourth version she missed.
Agatha Christie’s stage version also had a different ending to the novel. It wasn’t quite Vera wakes up and finds it was all a dream. But it nearly was.
In the first film version five of the murders are the same as in the book, the first victim, the two servants, Emily Brent, and the doctor, and Blore’s death was close. The general’s death was the same as in the play. But the murderer poisoned himself instead of shooting himself and two intended victims survived.
In the second version only three murders were the same as in the book, the first victim, the bee sting victim, and Blore.
In the third victim only one murder was the same as in the book, the first one. The second victim was spangled instead of poisoned, the third victim was stabbed instead of struck with a blunt instrument, the fourth victim died trying to escape across the desert instead of being killed with an axe, the fifth victim died of a snake bit instead of an injection, the next victim died of something other than drowning, and the next one died from a fall instead of being struck by a statue, the murder poisoned himself instead of shooting himself, and the last two victims survived. And most of the deaths didn’t seem to fit in with the ryhme.
In the fourth version four of the murders were the same as in the book, Anthony Marston, the two servants, and the bee sting victim. The general who was stabbed in the play and the other films died from a fall, while the doctor and Blore were stabbed.