Evil Under the Sun

1982

Action / Crime / Drama / Mystery / Thriller

33
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 83%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 73%
IMDb Rating 7 10 10705

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

Maggie Smith as Daphne Castle
Diana Rigg as Arlena Marshall
Roddy McDowall as Rex Brewster
James Mason as Odell Gardener
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
815.96 MB
1280*720
English
24.000 fps
1hr 57 min
P/S 2 / 23
1.84 GB
1920*1080
English
24.000 fps
1hr 57 min
P/S 2 / 24

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Fletcher Conner 7 / 10

Ustinov's best turn as Poirot

Of his three feature film turns as the famed Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, Evil Under the Sun is Peter Ustinov's best performance. Once again Poirot travels to an exotic local to observe a star studded cast (in this case Maggie Smith, Diana Rigg, and James Mason) of upper crust British snobs and waits for one of them to be murdered. Of course, every one has both a motive and an alibi and it is up to Poirot to solve the crime without the police getting in his way.

Ustinov shines in his most obnoxious turn as the fussy Belgian and while he is not quite on the level of Albert Finney and David Suchet, he plays the character as he should be played. Guy Hamilton ably directs, keeping it moving at a good pace while allowing the mystery to unfold and giving the audience a chance to solve it without making it easy. It does leave you to wonder though, has Poirot ever gone on a vacation without someone being murdered?

Reviewed by JohnHowardReid 7 / 10

O.K. but not sufficiently witty!

If the aim of the script was to turn Agatha Christie's "Poirot" potboiler into an elegant comedy of manners (and that is a fair assumption) and almost as it were to spoof the very stuff of which her mysteries are made, Shaffer has only partly succeeded in that laudable aim.

He is let down partly by his cast, partly by his director but mostly by himself. The dialogue except for one or two instances (notably Mason's delightful speech about not having an alibi) is just not sufficiently witty (though Maggie Smith has a game try at making her lines ring with the requisite offhanded venom) and even descends at the climax into the standard detective novel ploy of an extremely long, extraordinarily tedious explanatory speech (lightened though it is by flashbacks to incidents we have not previously been shown! — talk about cheating!).

Blakely's bombast is also a distinct handicap and Saran Miles is far too strident. Fortunately their roles are comparatively small.

Mr. Clay is a bit too insipid to inspire confidence and Ustinov's accent is as faulty as an amateur stage Frenchman's; but Jane Birkin, the ever-reliable Roddy McDowall and James Mason, Diana Rigg and Emily Hone are well worth supporting.

Sets and costumes are inspired. Locations, color photography look all that escapist hearts could desire.

And there's a Cole Porter score including a delightful rendition of "You're the Top" by Diana Rigg. (Available on a very good quality, but rather sparse on extras, Optimum DVD).

Reviewed by aramis-112-804880 7 / 10

Diminishing Returns on Christie

After the success of "Murder on the Orient Express" (1974) the producers decided to exploit the same formula for more Dame Agatha Christie on the silver screen: an exotic (or at least enclosed) location--the train in "Orient Express" or the ship in "Death on the Nile"; a cast of notable actors/stars and a clever, witty script.

Paul Dehn turned in a sparkling script for "Murder on the Orient Express" that in subtle ways improved on the book while remaining remarkably faithful to it. When Dehn died at 63 before "Death on the Nile" he was replaced by Anthony Shaffer for "Death on the Nile." Anthony Shaffer ("Sleuth") was the younger brother of Peter ("Amadeus") and while his script is witty and charming (eliminating a lot of unpleasant characters and events to keep the story frothy) it tends toward the humor is often low (at one point a character is told "Go play with yourself." Shaffer's script also moves the action from a place off the coast of England to sunnier climes. And, in a wonderfully welcome change, he changes a tawdry heroine-smuggling subplot digression into a stolen-diamond caper more germane to the story.

While Paul Dehn's improvements to "Orient Express" were for tightening and sparkle (he gave M. Bouc's character a line at the end Christie was a fool not to have thought of!), Shaffer's changes radically alter the book. They include a sex change, turning one character from a female to a flamboyant male character for Roddy McDowell. While Shaffer's story isn't bad and makes a fun movie, it's not Christie.

"Evil Under the Sun" is the third in the series kicked off by "Murder on the Orient Express" (1974) of glamorous, all-star Christies. But whereas "Orient Express" boasted luminaries like Sean Connery, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Michael York, Jacqueline Bisset and John Gielgud; and "Death on the Nile" was nearly as jam-packed with star names; "Evil Under the Sun" boasts an aging James Mason, the underrated Roddy McDowell, a radiant Diana Rigg, and a the then-rising talent Nicholas Clay.

By this time, too, this Christie series was slowly turning into a stock company. This was the second outing for Maggie Smith and Jane Birkin from "Death on the Nile"); and for Denis Quilley and Colin Blakeley (from "Murder on the Orient Express").

The biggest problem with "Evil" is Peter Ustinov. This was his second Poirot (Albert Finney was Poirot in "Murder on the Orient Express"), and he would go on to portray the Belgian detective an unbelievable four more times (all on television).

Shaffer's story and character changes are damaging to Christie purists, but Ustinov bears no resemblance to Poirot. The best we can say is, he's a different detective with the same name.

Giving Ustinov's clever but visually dissatisfying Poirot and the radical revamping of both the story and the character, "Evil Under the Sun" put an end to the hitherto promising Brabourne/Goodwin productions of Agatha Christie. And rightfully so. Fun as it can be, the movie detours from their original intention, from "Murder on the Orient Express" to do Christie "right." However good Shaffer's story is, its deviations from Christie are not insignificant.

The diminishing of star talent in this series, and its gradually turning the movies in to a repertory company with fully half the actors returning from earlier movies--whether due to budgetary concerns or whatever--makes this the last, and least, of a once-promising line. Enjoy "Evil Under the Sun" for what it is, but don't rush out and read the book thinking it's the same. It ain't.

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