‘Evil Under The Sun’ (1982) (Film)


Please feel free to comment on my review.

Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poriot under the Sun

And now we’re on the final film of the John Brabourne/Richard Goodwin era of Agatha Christie! It’s time for the second movie to feature Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot in the film ‘Evil Under The Sun’.

I must say that I really like Peter Ustinov’s interpretation of Poirot more than Albert Finney’s. Peter Ustinov balances both the comedy and the drama of Poirot’s character well and is pretty convincing.

It also helps that the two films he’s in – ‘Death on the Nile’ and ‘Evil Under The Sun’ are very good. I wish Peter Ustinov did more movies as Poriot…Oh wait, he did! Hmm! I’ll have to check those films out. 😐

‘Evil Under The Sun’ was selected for presentation to the Queen of England at the 1982 Royal Film Performance. That’s intriguing to know. Her majesty must’ve been impressed with Peter Ustinov. 😀

Anyway, the film has Hercule Poirot taking a holiday at a resort hotel on an island in the Mediterranean. Unfortunately, a mysterious death occurs on the island to which Poirot investigates.

I like how the film as well as ‘Death on the Nile’ takes time in the first act to set up the characters for us to get to know them. This is all before the murder takes place and before Poirot reveals who it is.

I enjoyed how Peter Ustinov’s Poriot is an observer during the film and takes note of everything that goes on whilst on holiday. He also does well collaborating the statements made by certain suspects.

There is one amusing scene in the film where Poriot dresses up in a bathing suit. I’ve never seen anything astonishing as Poirot in a bathing suit before. And it had to be in a Peter Ustinov Poriot film.

The film’s cast are as follows. As well as Peter Ustinov, there’s Colin Blakely as Sir Horace Blatt. Colin Blakely was in a small role playing Hardman in ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ starring Albert Finney.

There’s this diamond Sir Horace Blatt wants Poirot to collect for him whilst he’s on holiday in the Mediterranean. Blatt gets agitated during Poirot’s investigation but thankfully the diamond is found.

There’s Jane Birkin as Christine Redfern and Nicholas Clay as her husband Patrick. Jane Birkin was in ‘Death on the Nile’, playing the servant girl Louise Bourget. Surprised Poirot did not recognise her. 😀

Christine comes across as a reserved woman who has vertigo and gets into arguments with her husband. But there is more to Christine and Nicholas’ bickering than anyone can suspect in this film.

Maggie Smith stars as Daphne Castle, the owner of the hotel on the island. Maggie Smith was also in ‘Death on the Nile’, playing Miss Bowers. Amazing that these actors get reused for different roles! 😀

Daphne Castle has this rivalry with Diana Rigg as Arlene Stuart Marshall and has a close friendship with her husband Denis Quilley as Kenneth Marshall. I wonder if Maggie Smith’s wearing a wig here. 😀

And yes! Diana Rigg is in this movie! She’s well-known for playing Emma Peel in the 1960s ‘Avengers’ TV series. Diana Rigg’s character of Arlena is a bitchy stage star before she’s gruesomely strangled. 😮

Denis Quilley was also in ‘Murder on the Orient Express’, playing Gino Foscarelli. He disapproves of Arelene’s flirtatious attitude with Patrick Redfern despite him getting along well with Daphne Castle.

There’s Roddy McDowall as Rex Brewster. Rex is a writer who’s written a biography on Arlena, but she refuses to give him a release on the book. Rex gets distressed. Could it motivate him to murder?

Also on the island are Sylvia Miles as Myra Gardener and James Mason as her husband Odell. I’ve seen James Mason in the film ‘North By Northwest’ and he was in 1954’s ‘A Star Is Born’ with Judy Garland.

Myra and Odell Gardener are playwrights who want Diana Rigg’s Arlena to do a play they’ve written for her. But Arlena refuses to partake in it, insisting her husband and her stepdaughter are her life. 😐

This brings me onto Emily Hone as Linda Marshall, the daughter Kenneth Marshall who hates her stepmother Arlena being ‘beastly’ to her. She also lies about meeting Rex Brewster whilst swimming.

Now whilst I appreciate Linda being angry with Arlena for belittling her, it doesn’t make her likeable when she lied about not meeting Rex. Mind you a pretty young girl like that can also be pretty nasty.

I enjoyed the hot sunny weather location of the Mediterranean Island the movie is set in. It makes me want to go on a sunny location holiday like it. Amroth could be a close to that kind of holiday. 😀

Incidentally, there’s quite a lot of Cole Porter music featured in this film. My Dad recognised the tunes when watching the film. Even I picked out some Cole Porter I recognised watching the film. 😀

Like I said, it was compelling when Poirot revealed who the murderer was and how he was able to deduce it before getting the proof he needs. It is interesting how it connects to the film’s beginning.

Yeah at the beginning of the film, someone was murdered on the North York Moors. I wondered how it would connect to the sunny holiday resort murder and thankfully I was not disappointed by it.

Overall, ‘Evil Under The Sun’ has been a satisfying film to watch with Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot. I hope to see more Hercule Poirot movies starring Peter Ustinov as he’s very good as the character. 🙂

The DVD special features are as follows. There’s a making-of documentary and a theatrical trailer for the film.

The ‘Agatha Christie Murder Mystery’ DVD collection of John Brabourne/Richard Goodwin films have been enjoyable indeed. I consider the Peter Ustinov Hercule Poirot films great. Whilst I enjoyed the 1974 ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ and the 1980 ‘The Mirror Crack’d’, I don’t find them superb.

It’ll be intriguing to see how the Kenneth Branagh cinematic universe of Agatha Christie turns out, whether it’d be successful or not with both Poriot and Miss Marple. Watching the John Brabourne/Richard Goodwin films has provided me more insight into the world of Agatha Christie. 🙂

‘Evil Under The Sun’ (1982) rating – 8/10

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