Recovering from a sudden collapse, Poirot finds little comfort in doctor's orders confining him to a strict regimen at an island health resort with Captain Hastings. However, better medicine is to be found in the murder of another guest, a famous film actress, and a long list of suspects. Written by
Mark Cabot Robinson
The hotel at Burgh Island, Bigbury-on-Sea, where this episode was filmed, is the one where Agatha Christie wrote the book "Evil Under the Sun". See more »
During the flashback of Hastings reading the telegram received by Arlena Stuart, he says "Send the money now or you will lose a great deal", but the word "now" does not appear in the typed telegram shown on screen. See more »
[Emily Brewster reveals that there was a hint of paleness under the tan on Arlena's body]
Chief Inspector Japp:
The paleness of death.
See more »
Hastings has invested in a new restaurant, and as Poirot gets ready to go, he complains to Miss Lemon that his suit is too tight. He must speak with his tailor. Miss Lemon suggests that he should speak with his waistline. Affronted, Poirot, Japp, and Hastings are at the restaurant when Poirot keels over. He is rushed to the hospital where he is pronounced...obese! And his heart has been affected. He reluctantly goes to a health resort, accompanied by Hastings.
Thus begins "Evil Under the Sun," one of the longer episodes of the Hercule Poirot series starring the great David Suchet, Hugh Fraser as Hastings, Pauline Moran as Miss Lemon, and Philip Jackson as Inspector Japp. Hastings and Poirot are newly arrived when Poirot feels the sensation that evil is afoot, somehow focused on a glamorous film star, Arlena Stuart (Louise Delamere). Though she is at the resort with her husband and stepson, Stuart is overtly flirting with Patrick Redfern (Michael Higgs) while his quiet wife (Tamzin Malleson) looks on. When Stuart is found murdered, Poirot's worst fears are confirmed.
There are plenty of suspects, including Stuart's stepson (Russell Tovey) and her husband (David Mallinson), an intense minister who sees evil everywhere, a shady businessman, and an old girlfriend of Stuart's husband. Just one problem -- it seems everyone has an alibi. Poirot's body may be at rest, but the little gray cells go right to work.
Fans of Christie will recall that, back in the day when big-budget feature films or TV movies of Christie's novels were in fashion, this story was made starring Peter Ustinov and an all-star cast that included Maggie Smith, James Mason, and Diana Rigg. I think both stand on their own merits. Ustinov was a fabulous Poirot, but it was a character of his own creation, not the Poirot created by Christie, which Suchet does so brilliantly. The '82 version had a little more humor, a spectacular location, and its structure was somewhat different.
I enjoyed both versions, this one for Suchet and the cast regulars. The basic story is good -- you don't need much else.
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