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Evil Under the Sun 1982


Trying to find how a millionaire wound up with a phony diamond brings Hercule Poirot to an exclusive island resort frequented by the rich and famous. When a murder is committed, everyone has an alibi.

Peter Ustinov, Colin Blakely
1 hour, 56 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Mystery
Director Guy Hamilton
Starring Peter Ustinov, Colin Blakely
Supporting actors Jane Birkin, Nicholas Clay, Maggie Smith, Roddy McDowall, Sylvia Miles, James Mason, Denis Quilley, Diana Rigg, Emily Hone, John Alderson, Paul Antrim, Cyril Conway, Barbara Hicks, Richard Vernon, Robert Dorning, Dimitri Andreas, Eric Kent, Guy Standeven
Studio Lionsgate
MPAA rating PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Francis M. Hough Jr. on March 7, 2001
Format: DVD
EVIL UNDER THE SUN contains perhaps the campiest dialogue and most over-the-top performances of the four sparkling, big budget adaptations of Agatha Christie mysteries (ORIENT EXPRESS, NILE, MIRROR, and this one) made by the same producers. Somehow, it all works better here with its exquisite locations, lyrical Cole Porter score, and knockout Anthony Powell costumes which are truly breathtaking.
As always in a Christie mystery, no one seems able to have done the crime (despite everyone having a viable motive), and it's up to Hercule Poirot (Peter Ustinov who plays with the part more than ever in his broadest interpretation of the role in five tries - two films and three made-for-TV movies) to sort things out. He does so in a beautifully played denouement at the film's conclusion which makes everything clear.
The new DVD release is to be treasured for its very saturated colors (the VHS tape seemed washed out and vaguely unfocused) and clear sound (though mono, it seemed wonderfully rich and full). It's a terrific addition to anyone's mystery library and remains my favorite of the Christie adaptations. (I would like to see MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPESS get a widescreen DVD release some day, however.)
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Format: DVD
I am very grateful to my dear, multi-talented friend Sun for introducing me to this delightful, extremely campy film. Based on the Agatha Christie Hercule Poirot whodunit, it makes for an enjoyable 2 hours. "Evil" boasts a terrific cast, a witty script, lovely Majorca locations, a delightful Cole Porter score, and some of the funniest costumes seen on film. The suspense factor is practically nonexistent, but who cares? The story takes place at a resort isle in the Adriatic, run by ex-chorus girl Daphne Castle, played by Maggie Smith. One of the guests is Smith's old rival, Arlena Marshall, a bitchy, Gertrude Lawrenceish musical comedy stage star, played by the gorgeous, fabulous Diana Rigg (that's Dame Diana Rigg to you, nowadays). Arlena has made a lot of enemies, many of whom happen to be staying at the same resort. There's Odell and Myra Gardner, theatrical producers that Arlena left in the lurch when she left a show they had produced, due to "health" problems; Rex Brewster, a flamingly effeminate columnist whose biography of Arlena she will not allow him to publish; her stepdaughter Linda; Sir Horace Blatt, from whom she accepted a fabulous diamond and then jilted him; Daphne, who has carried a torch for Arlena's husband; and Christine Redfern, the plain-Jane wife of studly Patrick Redfern, with whom Arlena is having an affair. Arlena is found strangled to death on the beach, and it is up to Hercule Poirot to find out who the murderer is. The performances, as I said before, are a lot of fun. Roddy McDowell lets it ALL hang out, complete with Tallulah Bankhead voice, James Mason and Sylvia Miles are great as the bickering Gardners, Ms. Miles particularly hilarious as a shrill-voiced harpy (her voice could shatter glass).Read more ›
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Format: DVD
Agatha Christie's murder mystery, 'Evil Under The Sun' is brought gloriously to life, in this movie from the early 80's. It features Peter Ustinov in his second showing as the legendary Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot along with a cast of actors who camp it up for all they are worth.
The plot follows the classic Christie template (see Death on the Nile, Murder on the Orient Express) of a group of people gathered together, with one being particularly nasty and unlikeable and (surprise, surprise!!) is murdered, with all of the remaining characters having a motive for putting this person out of the way. While this movie doesn't move too far away from the template, it rewards the viewer with an intriguing yet fun couple of hours.
The performances from all of the actors on board are excellent - yes they are over the top (especially Roddy McDowell's bitchy Rex Brewster and Sylvia Miles's droning Myra Gardener) but that makes them all the more endearing. Maggie Smith is obviously having loads of fun as the hotel proprieter, Daphne Castle, and her scenes with Ustinov have great energy. However Diana Rigg all but steals the film as the "ageing" actress, Arlena Marshall, a prize and completely ostentatious vamp. Ustinov is again on fine form as Poirot and relishes the chance to add his stamp to a character already memorably portrayed on screen by Albert Finney.
This film offers a great opportunity to actors out of their normal milieu (the aforementioned Smith and Rigg, as well as the luminous Jane Birkin) and is almost worth watching for that alone. Added to that is a great soundtrack of Cole Porter numbers which indelibly places this movie in the 1930's. While it does deviate from the setting and characters of Christie's source novel, that doesn't detract it from being an superb addition to the canon of Christie films.
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Format: DVD
A mysterious murder, unbreakable alibis, and a stolen diamond... all wrapped up in a glitzy, mildly campy shell.

Yeah, you can't expect "Evil Under the Sun," with its barbed Mediterranean atmosphere, to resemble Agatha Christie's usual cozies. This relaxed murder mystery does succeed at being fun and genuinely befuddling, although the martini-swilling, sunny atmosphere make the entire gruesome murder feel rather too... relaxing. A murder shouldn't seem like a vacation... or should it?

An insurance goof and a stolen gem send Hercule Poirot (Peter Ustinov) to "Daphne's Place," a palace-turned-hotel in a small Mediterranean country. He arrives on the same boat as famed stage actress Arlena Marshall (Diana Rigg) and her new husband and stepdaughter. Arlena openly has an affair with boytoy Patrick (Nicholas Clay) -- and then she suddenly turns up, strangled on a remote beach.

There are suspects galore: her betrayed husband, resentful stepdaughter, an old rival who is attracted to Mr. Marshall, a pair of ugly American producers whom she's bankrupting, a flaming gossip writer who has written a steamy tell-all, and her boytoy's mousy wife. But no one had the opportunity -- everyone has an alibi. So Hercule Poirot exercises the "little gray cells," unravelling the clues of a discarded bottle, a midday shower, a cannon, and perfume in a cave.

Don't expect "Evil Under the Sun" to be any more faithful to its book than Arlena is to Marshall -- several aspects of the plot are rearranged or changed, and the sense of darkness is exchanged for a rhinestoned camp quality. And the plot unfolds at a leisurely pace, dropping in hints, clues and clever deceptions like so many plastic jewels on a beach.
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