Evil Under the Sun (1982)

PG   |    |  Crime, Drama, Mystery


Evil Under the Sun (1982) Poster

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


7.1/10
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  • Diana Rigg and Denis Quilley in Evil Under the Sun (1982)
  • Diana Rigg in Evil Under the Sun (1982)
  • Diana Rigg in Evil Under the Sun (1982)
  • Peter Ustinov in Evil Under the Sun (1982)
  • Maggie Smith and Peter Ustinov in Evil Under the Sun (1982)
  • Roddy McDowall in Evil Under the Sun (1982)

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Reviews & Commentary

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20 October 2009 | TheLittleSongbird
8
| Absolutely terrific whodunit, by far one of the better Agatha Christies out there
Death On the Nile is definitely the best of the Peter Ustinov outings, with its sumptuous scenery and costumes, fine performances and an overall successful attempt to do justice to the book. Evil Under the Sun is not quite as good, it does start off a little slow and it does drag in places. But other than that, it is a hugely enjoyable film that is in my opinion one of the better Agatha Christies out there.

The scenery in this film is absolutely breathtaking as are the colourful costumes, captured perfectly by the magnificent cinematography. Arlena Marshall's dresses are amazing, and I admit when I first saw the movie I was like I want a dress like that. The soundtrack by Cole Porter is wonderful, and a real treat to the ears. One of the film's highlights was the song Arlena(marvellously played by Diana Rigg) sings, it somewhat reminded me of Marlene Dietrich.

The film also benefits from a very clever plot, that is definitely among Agatha Christie's best. Throughout, it is beautifully constructed, with some clever and not at all confusing subplots. The dialogue is very inspiring, sometimes flowery and at other times witty. My favourites were the bitching of Arlena and Daphne Castle, they were so funny and original, and by far one of the highlights of the film. Another highlight was the final solution, a truly ingenious one, one of my favourite denouncements of all time.

And what about the acting? Superb from all involved! Peter Ustinov while not looking exactly like Christie's dapper detective in the books seems to be enjoying himself enormously here and it really shows. As I've said already, I loved Diana Rigg as Arlena, quite frosty and very detestable in terms of character, but in terms of a truly talented actress like Rigg, it was a marvellous performance. Jane Birkin is great, as is Nicolas Clay, both of whom are under-appreciated actors and put everything into their characters. Other than Rigg, the other standout for me was Maggie Smith as Daphne. Then again, Smith never disappoints in anything she's in, and being one of my all-time favourite actresses, she gives one of her more understated performances here. James Mason was fine, though he could have done with more screen time.

All in all, one or two minor flaws, but overall an absolutely terrific film. And I do admit, I prefer it over the David Suchet version. 8.5/10 Bethany Cox

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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie was selected to be the 1982 Royal Film Performance. This movie screened on Monday, March 22, 1982 at London's Odeon Theatre, Leicester Square in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II with proceeds from the charity U.K. premiere going to the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund. However, this screening was not the world premiere of the movie, it had debuted in Australia a month earlier in February 1982, this movie launching down under there because EMI's Can't Stop the Music (1980) had had its best box-office returns there.


Quotes

Myra Gardener: There she goes, not a care in the world.
Odell Gardener: I'll make her care.
Myra Gardener: Oh, what do you know about care? If it had been up to you, the good Samaritan would have passed by on the other side.
Odell Gardener: I have an idea but I need to work it out.
Myra Gardener: Yeah, well don't forget about my...


Goofs

Poirot claims that Daphne could not possibly have seen in the mirror Kenneth Marshall sitting at the desk typing. However, the next shot is of the desk from Daphne's viewpoint and the typewriter is clearly visible. If Kenneth had been typing, his hands on the keys would be in view, and if he were leaning forward, a large part of his body would be as well.


Crazy Credits

The opening credits feature watercolors by British architect and artist, Sir Hugh Casson, who taught Prince Charles to paint. The titles for each actor feature an item of costume, prop or setting relevant to their character and those for the production team are similarly themed.


Soundtracks

I Concentrate On You
(uncredited)
Written by
Cole Porter
Heard as a theme

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Crime | Drama | Mystery

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