Evil under the Sun

Overview

Peter Ustinov makes his second appearance as Belgian detective Hercule Poirot in this adaptation of the popular Agatha Christie mystery. When noted stage star Arlena Marshall Diana Rigg is found murdered while visiting a posh island resort, Poirot is called upon to find the culprit, but given Marshall's shrewish personality and propensity for making enemies, the question isn't "Who wanted to see her dead?" but "Who didn't?" The suspects include Rex Brewster Roddy McDowall, a writer penning a biography of Arlena ...
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Overview

Peter Ustinov makes his second appearance as Belgian detective Hercule Poirot in this adaptation of the popular Agatha Christie mystery. When noted stage star Arlena Marshall Diana Rigg is found murdered while visiting a posh island resort, Poirot is called upon to find the culprit, but given Marshall's shrewish personality and propensity for making enemies, the question isn't "Who wanted to see her dead?" but "Who didn't?" The suspects include Rex Brewster Roddy McDowall, a writer penning a biography of Arlena that the actress tried to stop; Odell and Myra Gardener James Mason and Sylvia Miles, theatrical producers who were financially shafted when Arlena refused to appear in a show; Arlena's husband, Kenneth Denis Quilley; Kenneth's lover, Daphne Maggie Smith; Patrick Redfern Nicholas Clay, who was having an affair with Arlena; and Christine Jane Birkin, Nicholas' wife. Ustinov would play Poirot again three years later in the made-for-TV feature Thirteen at Dinner.
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Special Features

"The Making of Evil Under the Sun"; Talent bios; Theatrical trailers
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
The financial and critical success of Murder on the Orient Express inspired a spate of all-star Agatha Christie adaptations, but none were able to equal Murder. Evil Under the Sun is mildly enjoyable, a case of a film in which its whole is somehow less than the sum of its parts. Certainly the cast is not to blame. While they have a tendency to go over the top, most of them do so in a rather delicious way, and Diana Rigg and Maggie Smith in particular make scenery chewing seem the most natural way of acting in a movie. (Riggs' performance of "You're the Top" -- constantly interrupted by Smith -- is particularly memorable.) Although physically miscast, Peter Ustinov is certainly enjoyable, if a bit too amiable; he seems afraid to let the character's grouchiness and imperiousness have the freedom they needs. The photography makes good use of the exotic, often-stunning locations, and the costumes and soundtrack are period-perfect. Perhaps the film doesn't totally satisfy because the screenplay concentrates so wholeheartedly on its plot, with the result that the characters - as witty as they may be -- come across strictly as types. The fact that the resolution is extremely convoluted --even for Christie -- also damages the film, as does Guy Hamilton's adequate but uninspired direction. The viewer watches the film, eager for it to reach out and grab him -- but it never quite manages to do that.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/27/2009
  • UPC: 031398104773
  • Original Release: 1981
  • Rating:

  • Source: Lions Gate
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:56:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 3,729

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Peter Ustinov Hercule Poirot
Jane Birkin Christine Redfern
Colin Blakely Sir Horace Blatt
Nicholas Clay Patrick Redfern
James Mason Odell Gardener
Roddy McDowall Rex Brewster
Sylvia Miles Myra Gardner
Diana Rigg Arlena Marshall
Maggie Smith Daphne Castle
Emily Hone Linda Marshall
John Alderson Police Sergeant
Dimitri Andreas Gino
Paul Antrim Police Inspector
Cyril Conway Police Surgeon
Robert Dorning Concierge
Barbara Hicks Flewitt's Secretary
Denis Quilley Capt. Marshall
Richard Vernon Flewitt
Technical Credits
Guy Hamilton Director
Agatha Christie Source Author
John Brabourne Producer
Alan Cassie Production Designer
Christopher G. Challis Cinematographer
Richard Goodwin Producer
Peter Howitt Set Decoration/Design
Richard Marden Editor
John Palmer Camera Operator
Cole Porter Score Composer
Anthony Powell Costumes/Costume Designer
John Richards Sound/Sound Designer
Elliot Scott Production Designer
Anthony Shaffer Screenwriter
Jill Carpenter Makeup
John W. Mitchell Sound/Sound Designer
Bill Rowe Sound/Sound Designer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Evil Under the Sun
1. Program Start / Main Titles [2:11]
2. Enter Poirot [5:34]
3. The Guests [4:58]
4. The Incomparable Arlena [6:54]
5. Cocktails and Cattiness [5:45]
6. Infidelity Under the Sun [4:41]
7. By the Sea [3:20]
8. Grounds For Divorce [4:04]
9. Evening's Entertainment [4:40]
10. Morning [5:15]
11. Prelude to Murder [5:45]
12. Strangled [3:12]
13. Sir Horace's Story [4:08]
14. Accusations and Alibis [4:58]
15. Christine and Linda [4:42]
16. Rex Brewster's Alibi [6:34]
17. "No Alibi is Still No Alibi..." [5:25]
18. Pieces of the Puzzle [4:23]
19. Confronting the Suspects [3:07]
20. Christine's Lies [6:05]
21. The Body On the Beach [5:39]
22. Mr. and Mrs. Murder [4:31]
23. Absence of Proof [3:11]
24. Poirot Wraps It Up [4:34]
25. End Credits [:33]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Evil Under the Sun
   Chapter Selections
   Extras
      Theatrical Trailer
      Featurette: "The Making of Evil Under the Sun"
      Talent Bios
         Hercule Poirot
         Suspects, Victims and Innocent Bystanders
            Christine Redfern
            Sir Horace Blatt
            Odell Gardner
            Rex Brewster
            Myra Gardner
            Arlena Marshall
            Daphne Castle
   Play
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