Top positive review
Evil is lurking Under the Sun
on January 21, 2014
The film version of Agatha Christie's Evil Under the Sun, staring Peter Ustinov as Christie's favorite detective Hercule Poirot, was released in 1982. Anthony Schaffer wrote the screenplay, Guy Hamilton was the Director, Cole Porter wrote the music and Anthony Powell designed the magnificent modernistic campy costumes.
As the story opens a hiker, Alice Ruber, is found strangled on the Yorkshire moors. Poirot was hired by the insurers to investigate the murder and added the investigation of a faux diamond being substituted for the genuine one belonging to millionaire industrialist Horace Blatt (Colin Blakely). Poirot interviewed Horace Blatt on his yacht who said that he given the diamond, valued at $50,000, to a New York City music show star, Arlina Stuart, (Diana Rigg), in contemplation of marriage. She had left him on the boat trip back to England and married Kenneth Marshal; he demanded the diamond back. Now he knows that she returned a faux copy of the diamond to him.
The participants all gathered at an exclusive island resort in the Adriatic, formally the summer palace of the King of Tyrania and now owned by Daphne Castle (Maggie Smith). Resort guests included: Odell and Myra Gardener (James Mason and Sylvia Miles), New York City theatrical producers, and Rex Brewster (Roddy McDowall) a writer and theatrical journalist. Newly arriving guests included: Kenneth Marshal (Denis Quilley), his wife Arlina and his 16 year old daughter Linda; Patrick Redfern, a dashing young man and his wife Christine (Nicholas Mason and Jane Birkin); and of course Hercule Poirot .
Odel and Myra Gardner face financial ruin resulting from Arlina quitting their successful musical in the middle of its run, and her refusal to accept a role in their newly planned musical. Rex Brewster faces serious debts due to having spent advances on the book he had written about Arlina. She refused to let him publish it. Horace Blatt will loose $50,000 on the diamond he had given to Arlina, unless he can get her to return the genuine one to him.
Arlina is found strangled on the beach near the faux diamond. Daphne Castle urges Poirot to investigate fearing a spot of murder would ruin her resort hotel. Poirot accepts planning to get a recovery fee on the diamond. As is often the case in Christie's mysteries, a lot of the participants have motives but their alibis seem to preclude the possibility that any of them committed the crime. Poirot questions all of the suspects several times. He uses his little grey cells to evaluate and organize the responses into a timed matrix. The next day, he awakens refreshed, and asks that they all gather in the lobby after he has had breakfast; then he will tell them how the crime was committed and who the guilty party was.
Can you solve this crime before Poirot finishes breakfast? I strongly recommend that you save your sanity, buy the DVD, and tell your family to join you with popcorn in hand to see the movie. You can watch it over and over until your little grey cells organize the information into a timed matrix. Then you can compare your solution with Poirot's. Incidentally if you also have a copy of this same mystery with David Suchet playing Poirot you can compare the two of them. You will find that disc in the "Definitive Collection" of twelve Agatha Christie mysteries. I believe you will find this version with Peter Ustinov playing Poirot to be far superior; I certainly do.