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|IMDB Rating:||6.8 out of 10 (4121 votes)|
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Hercule Poirot is called in to investigate a case for an insurance company regarding firstly a dead womans body found on a moor and then a important diamond sent to the company to be insured turns out to be a fake. Poirot discovers that the diamond was bought for Arlena Marshall by Sir Horace Platt and Arlena is on her honeymoon with her husband and step-daughter on a tropical island hotel. He joins them on the island and finds that everybody else starts to hate Arlena for different reasons - refusing to do a stage show, stopping a book, and for having an open affair with Patrick Redfern, another guest, in full view of his shy wife. So its only a matter of time before Arlena turns up dead, strangled and Poirot must find out who it is...
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This review is from: Evil Under the Sun (Amazon Instant Video) I really enjoyed this rendition of Agatha Christie's novel. I like David Suchet a lot, and have watched the movie with him in the star role as well, and found them to be different enough that it wasn't at all boring to watch both. Ustinov brings some humor into the mix--especially the scene where he went for a "swim." I recommend both versions.
I have seen many books' adaptations in my life but i really think this one is the best.It really recreates the book's atmosphere even in his little details (cf. Poirot and his theory about eggs !).Peter Ustinov is just great as Poirot and you will not see time passed under this nice balearic sun.This movie is 19 years old but it is still much better than most of the actual movies.
Hercule Poirot (Peter Ustinov) is vacationing at a resort on abeautiful island. A very rich and evil woman (Diana Rigg) is murdered.The owner of the resort (Maggie Smith) hires Poirot to find the killer.This was made because "Death on the Nile" was such a big hit. For somereason this bombed quickly at the box office. I can't see why--it's noclassic but it's actually well-done on beautiful locations with a goodcast. Ustinov is just perfect as Poirot and the rest of the big namecast (among them...Roddy McDowell, Sylvia Miles, James Mason) do well.Nicholas Clay especially stands out...and wears a VERY tight bathingsuit through most of the movie. The script is well-written with somehysterically catty dialogue between Rigg and Smith. There's also somegreat Cole Porter songs on the soundtrack and the costumes are justbreath-taking (especially on Rigg).Not as good as "Death..." but fun and enjoyable. Worth catching.
Hercule Poirot ponders a troubling predicament in EVIL UNDER THE SUN. There is a murderer among them, they have a dead body that proves that, yet everyone who could have committed the murder has an alibi. How Poirot overcomes this obstacle and presents the details of the crime is a large part of the fun in this second of the Peter Ustinov star studded Poirot movies after the entertaining and successful DEATH ON THE NILE.A big fan of the gorgeous Diana Rigg, I was excited to see her listed as one of the stars in this adaptation of the Agatha Christie book. In fact it appears that my favorite actresses invariably end up being the corpse in these Ustinov Poirot movies. In DEATH ON THE NILE I was attracted to the title because Lois (MOONRAKER) Chiles played the key part of the murdered heiress. Here, another former Bond girl Rigg plays a famous stage star who ends up as the victim of a plot that is so ingenious and amazing in both its complex nature and absolute simplicity. The Christie novel was set on the Engliush coast but here the producers have wisely switched the setting to an island resort hotel in the Adriatic which is run by a former chorus girl Daphne Castle (played with some nice humor by Maggie Smith). Arriving as a guest at the hotel is a former rival of Castle's Arlena Marshall (played by Rigg). As is the case with most Christie novels (and especially DEATH ON THE NILE and 1974's MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS), the victim Marshall is surrounded by enemies at the resort. Apart from Smith's Castle they include Roddy McDowell as Rex Brewster who is devastated to learn that Marshall will not allow his biography of her to be published. Also guests at the hotel are theatrical producers Odell and Myrna Gardner (played by James Mason and Sylvia Miles) who hold a grudge against Marshall for walking out on a stage production they had produced. Colin Blakely plays Sir Horace Blatt who made Marshall the offer of a diamond before being jilted by her. Also included in the cast is Nicholas Clay (as Marshall's lover Patrick Redfern) and Jane Birkin as his wife Christine Redfern. Also included is Denis Quilley (as Marshall's husband) and Emily Hone as her stepdaughter. The cast all play their parts perfectly, with equal dashes of humor and drama.Found dead sunbathing on the beach is legendary actress Arlena Marshall, yet nobody seems to have had the opportunity to kill her. Belgian detective Hercule Poirot must unravel the truth and expose the red herrings to identify the murderer. Ustinov (as always) delivers a tour de force performance and Poirot and is (to my mind) the most consistently entertaining of all the actors to have played the part. Another alumni of the James Bond series is Director Guy (GOLDFINGER) Hamilton who guides the movie through to its thrilling climax. Included on the DVD is a vintage documentary on the `Making of EVIL UNDER THE SUN as well as theatrical trailers. The picture quality is good (nicely presented in widescreen) as is the Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono audio track. Overall this movie is a lot of fun, and the mystery is involving and surprising - factors that make this movie especially entertaining towards the final scenes. This movie is also available as part of a three-pack along with DEATH ON THE NILE and THE MIRROR CRACK'D or individually. Whichever option you choose this is a fine addition to anyones collection which I have no hesitation in recommending.
EVIL UNDER THE SUN is a weak Agatha Christie adaptation, in that it iseasy enough to figure out whodunit early on, and this rather long filmgets awfully talky after awhile. Also, Peter Ustinov is a poorsubstitute for Albert Finney as the legendary Belgian detective HerculePoirot in this followup to the magnificent MURDER ON THE ORIENTEXPRESS. Finney was all quirks and mannerisms and razor-sharp bon motsand bizarre in appearance. Ustinov is -- well, Ustinov. Fat and silly,and not particularly resembling Poirot. So is EVIL, about a murder at aswanky seaside resort, worth watching? Only for the delicious, viciousrepartee between Diana Rigg as an aging, very vain stage actress andMaggie Smith as her old stage mate who is much more down to earth andnow runs a hotel on a remote island in the Adriatic, if I have mygeography right. James Mason and Roddy McDowell are also on board, butneither is particularly effective. It is hard to believe this clunkymystery was directed by Guy Hamilton of JAMES BOND fame.
Agatha Christie's novels may not be intellectually stimulating but they areperfect light reading and this delightful film recaptures that quality.Slickly directed by Hamilton and well-played by all the cast, there is astriking and surprising opening on the rainswept Yorkshire moors before weare whisked off to sun-drenched Majorca. The plot twist is one ofChristie's most cunning devices, which she re-used on several occasions.And of course, as everyone else has commented, the music issublime.
This review is from: Evil Under the Sun (Amazon Instant Video) We have always loved the Poirot series whenever theyare shown. I did not know that Peter Ustinov wasanother Poiret. The movie was great....beautifulphotography, and I would definitely buy anotherPoirot movie with Peter Ustinov in it.
This review is from: Evil Under the Sun (DVD) I have loved this movie from the first time I saw it in the 1980's. Now that I have my own copy I can watch it whenever I want. I love all the Peter Ustinov Agatha Christie movies but Evil Under the Sun is my very favorite.
This review is from: Evil Under the Sun (DVD) THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST OF CHRISTIE,S NOVELS & THE BEST TELLING OF THE MYSTERY. USTINOV,S PERFECT IN THIS FILM.
This review is from: Evil Under the Sun (Amazon Instant Video) I'm an Agatha Christie fan. I like her novels and I like this movie. This is another Peter Ustinov signature role Hercule Poirot solves another crime with his "little gray cells."
Definitely one of the more enjoyable adaptations of Agatha Christie novelsdue to brilliant dialog exchanges between members of an all-star cast--aswell as the inclusion of a number of attractive Cole Porter tunes amidspectacular scenic backgrounds. If you enjoyed Peter Ustinov as HerculePoirot in 'Death on the Nile' you'll find him twice as amusing in this one.But the film really belongs to Diana Rigg and Maggie Smith who have a finetime with the witty, brittle lines. James Mason and Roddy McDowall are alsoimpressive, as are a number of other players who form the usual vast numberof suspects. A clever, if contrived, plot that strainscredibility--depending so much on coincidences--but as usual, Christie isclever enough to cover any weaknesses with other distractions. Enjoyable forany mystery fan. The photography of the seaside spa is a feast for theeyes.
I've lost count of the number of times I've seen Evil Under the Sun.The natural question may be "Why watch a mystery more than once whenyou already know whodunit?" The simple answer Â entertainment. EvilUnder the Sun never fails to provide me with almost two hours ofentertainment. The movie is so much more than the mystery. Truth beknown, Evil Under the Sun is one of the weakest of Agatha Christie'snovels relying far too heavily on some absurd coincidences. So beyondthe mystery, it's the location, the acting, and the characterinteractions that bring me back time and time again.- Location: The island scenery is simply breathtaking. The rocky cliffsset against the blue Mediterranean are beautiful. It's hard to believethat such places actually exist. The palace/hotel in which much of thefilm takes place is filmed in grand style. In short, ChristopherChallis' cinematography is stunning.- Acting: Evil Under the Sun features some wonderful actors having whatappears to be a grand old time with their characters. Peter Unsitnov,James Mason, Diana Rigg, Roddy McDowell, and Jane Birkin are all trulywonderful in their performances. But for me, Maggie Smith makes EvilUnder the Sun something special. Her catty Daphne Castle is aremarkably enjoyable character.- Character Interactions: Watching any of these fine actors workingtogether is a real treat. But the best example of what makes Evil Underthe Sun so much fun is watching Maggie Smith and Diana Rigg go at eachother. One of my favorite moments has to be when Smith charactersdescribes why Rigg's character went further as an actress than she did.She explains that not only could Rigg's character kick her legs higher,but also farther apart. It's a wonderfully funny moment.
I'm dutifully plowing through all film versions of Christie's work.That's because I believe that her work profoundly affected some keynotions of narrative in film, The puzzlement is that there are no (orpossibly few) films based on her stories that actually exploit hertricks.This one is a particular touchstone because it features show-biz peopleand their inner circle. All are in a typical isolated location whereeveryone has a motive but no one an opportunity. Christie's trademarkis to bend the narrative in unfamiliar ways. Always some assumption ofa narrator is exploited, here the narrative of discovering the body.That element is preserved from the book, together with most otheroriginal components of the story, but some things are oddly re-arranged(like the thrown bottle) for no apparent reason.But the key change from the book is in the game. The books have acontinuous contest between writer and reader starting from thebeginning Â or nearly so. The movie adaptations, virtually all of them,take a different tack, one which exploits characters and place ratherthan the situation and compromised narrative.So one is left with the question of whether the characters satisfy, asthe story is only an excuse for us to see them. Generally, thesecharacters do not. This Poirot tries too hard to be comical; there's ahumorous "swimming" scene for instance. It scores a chuckle or two atthe cost of completely destroying the officious Belgian of the books.He's supposed to be our guide, and that would never occur to us withthis version at all.Maggie was wasted here. See her in "Murder by Death" instead.Various other actors, good ones, march through this, each doing theirassigned theatrical bit. Of them, only Jane Birkin is at allinteresting Â that is, if you know her non-film background and priorfilm work. She made a good career out of strongly playing vulnerablegirl-women with hidden deep intent, and that's what her character doeshere.Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
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.
A classic holiday-period thriller. It's a protracted festival of hamand it can be let down by its extraordinarily dated wardrobe butthere's plenty here to enjoy.Ustinov has a marvellous, transformative effect on the necessaryscene-chewery. His charming ennui isn't as twinkly as in Death on theNile (four years previously), but it serves as well. There's prettygood support from the 'A-list' cast, particularly Jane Birkin and DianaRigg - Maggie Smith isn't quite the nouveau riche ex-pat of the filmingperiod, nor the bohemian of the 30s but it doesn't matter. One watchedher for the same reason one watches Ustinov.The real joy of the film is the location filming. There are wide-eyedshots of the dramatic Majorcan coast and an endless supply of richsunshine. Another thing one's happy to watch at Christmas. 4/10
I don't care what others say about this delirious souffle',I like it better than the other Christie/Poirot incarnations. For one thing, the others are just too stuffy and rather blah. "EVIL UNDER THE SUN" is a lot more fun---even if it isn't "faithful" to it's source material. The cast is priceless and seem to be having a good time. The photography is gorgeous with on location shooting in the Adriatic and the costumes are way over the top (in keeping with the overall campy tone of the script) but could be what rich, jaded people wore on holiday in an exotic locale. The performances are arch and the characters developed adequately enough to clue you to who's who and what's what. I didn't pick it apart when I first saw it in the theater because it satisfied me then and it satisfies me now on DVD from the reliable Anchor Bay folks. A top-notch quality cast delivers the goods and it's all very tongue-in-cheek anyway so why quibble over moot points when the damn thing is so entertaining? I just enjoy the performances, the scenery and the escapism of Maggie Smith and Diana Rigg as old rivals finally going at it as only actresses of this caliber can do. I think old Agatha would have liked this one!
This is a great movie from Poirot.It has a cast of familiar faces such as Peter Ustinov,Maggie Smith, Jane Birkin,Diana Rigg,Sylvia Miles,Denis Quiley, Colin Blakely,Roddy McDowall,and James Mason.This is a fun movie.It has humor and is the best of the series.Buy this movie.You won't regret it.You will enjoy it.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the movie, at least for me personally, is that the screenplay was written by no other but Anthony Shaffer, the man who created a withering parody of the Christie-type of mystery in his brilliant play "Sleuth" (1970). But this is the best kind of parody, the one rooted in affection and admiration. Indeed, Mr Shaffer dedicated his play ''with sincere regard and affection'' to quite a list of literary sleuths, including Hercule Poirot.It is no wonder, then, that it's an excellent screenplay. One needs to read the novel to appreciate how creative Mr Shaffer's work really is. He has all but improved the original. On the one hand, he has ruthlessly cut some inane stuff (e.g. Linda's witchery stunt and suicide attempt) and some largely superfluous details (e.g. the whole of the British police, the smuggling subplot). The main plot is transferred from the slightly cloudy southwest coast of England to a much sunnier and more exotic Mediterranean island. Hercule Poirot alone is the Super Sleuth who single-handedly solves the mystery. Who needs inspectors, constables and other boring officials?On the other hand, Mr Shaffer has made the plot even more complicated and improbable. But that means it's also more exciting and more entertaining. Many subtle changes contribute to this, but above all the fact that virtually everybody does have a motive to kill Arlena. Miss Brewster is changed to the trashy biography Mr Brewster, the publication of whose book would not be allowed by the future victim. The Gardeners, though still a comic couple, have some sinister overtones and are potential suspects as well. Mr Blatt is far more involved due to a stolen diamond of epic size. The exposure of the murderers includes charming additional touches such as Latin references (did you know that if Verdi had been an Englishman his name would have been Joe Green?) and hidden diamonds in pipes that are never smoked.There are some regrettable omissions, such as for instance the fanatical Reverend and Major Barrie, but I guess these can't be helped. That said, there is some very clever merging of characters, for instance the hotel mistress and Rosamund; the brains of the latter are retained while the foolishness of the former is discarded, and to a great effect. The final scene with Poirot's great speech and the Redfurns near-escape is indeed far more effective than in the novel. He has some great lines that are not to be found on the pages. For example, the promising yet menacing ''All will be levealed'' (no misspelling can convey his French accent, alas) and the disarmingly boastful ''The murderers had not foreseen only one thing, and that is the presence on the island of Hercule Poirot.''Peter Ustinov nails the Belgian sleuth to perfection. I find it impossible to read the novel without seeing and hearing him. From the quaint charm of the speech (his French accent is stupendous!) to the disconcerting coldness of his stare, every detail fits the character swimmingly. He has a considerable gift for comedy and he brings out Poirot's mannerisms with an elegant insouciance that is unforgettable. Take for example his hilarious ''swimming scene'', one of the rare moments of relaxation in the movie, in which the famous sleuth bravely enters the sea until the water reaches all the way up to his knees...The really nice thing about the movie is that Peter Ustinov is surrounded by a superb supporting cast. Many great names here, all of them perfectly chosen. I dare anybody not to be amused by Roddy McDowell's perfectly gay (in every sense of the word) social butterfly, Colin Blakely's extremely funny Mr Blatt, or James Mason's speech how he (Mr Gardener) has a great motive and no alibi at all. Diana Rigg is a great Arlena, wildly sensuous and properly hateful, Maggie Smith is wonderful (except for her deadly white make-up) as the hotel mistress and old friend of Captain Marshall's (a very handsome Denis Quilley in the role). Nicolas Clay and Jane Birkin as the Redferns don't disappoint either.On the whole the movie is more like a comedy than the novel; the latter often has a kind of sinister atmosphere that's not comic at all.* But the screenplay is a marvelous adaptation full of improvements, the acting is outstanding to the last suspect, and the visual side (sets, costumes) is sumptuous and evocative. It's a huge fun to watch and it makes a most fascinating comparison with the novel.(Since I wrote the above I have also seen the 2001 TV episode with David Suchet as Poirot. It is drab and dull to the point of being unendurable. It is much closer to the novel, but that's just about its only ''virtue''. Suchet lacks completely Ustinov's charisma and he turns Poirot into a tedious pedant. The supporting cast is uniformly dismal. In short, despite sticking close to the novel, the movie really conveys neither the drama nor the humour of the original.)------------------------------------------------*Cf. the famous movie versions of The Big Sleep and The Maltese Falcon with the original novels of Chandler and Hammett, respectively. I'm not suggesting that Agatha Christie is ''hard-boiled'', but apparently adaptations of her novels tend to become more facetious on the screen also.)
I enjoyed Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot in "Death on the Nile", so I happily picked up Mr. Ustinov's Poirot follow-up, "Evil Under the Sun". Like "Death on the Nile" and most other Christie TV/film adaptations, on one level this is pretty by-the-numbers stuff: you get an eccentric cast of characters, a colorful locale, someone who everyone has a reason to hate and soon becomes a murder victim (here, a still dazzling Diana Rigg), and the eventual revelation of the murderer/murderers while all sit around and listen to Monsieur Poirot as he unspools the facts. But, also like "Death on the Nile", everything is done so lavishly and in so polished a fashion that the repetitive formula is more of a comfort than a liability. In the end, "Evil Under the Sun" is a lot of fun, and clever, too. And all the Cole Porter music doesn't hurt, either.Anchor Bay's DVD offers a crisp, bright image, nicely enhanced for 16x19 televisions, and a few modest extras. If you enjoy the mystery film genre, you can't go wrong with this.
The best still remains "Death On The Nile". I feel that the "first act"of "Evil Under The Sun" is ever-so-slightly too long. And the veryfinal moments of the film, after the revelation of the killer(s) andAFTER the classic "Jane Birkin walking down the staircase" scene, couldhave been better executed. Other than that, this is a highly enjoyablefilm that can be watched multiple times. The first time, you'll like itmore for the cleverly conceived mystery, which I would actuallyclassify as one of Agatha Christie's best; it seems almost unsolvable,yet it's so simple when it's all explained. In the following viewings,you'll appreciate more the magnificent locations (I'm still planning tovisit "Daphne's place" someday - I'd love to see how and if it haschanged over the years), the quotable dialogue, the delightfulperformances from the entire cast (starting of course with Sir PeterUstinov, so funny when he's reveling in his own brilliance), thegrandiose score. The generally excellent David Suchet "Poirot" seriesalso adapted this story, in 2002, but that version can't hold a candleto this one in my opinion. (***)