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.
As Hercule Poirot (Sir Peter Ustinov) enjoys a luxurious cruise down the Nile, a newlywed heiress is found murdered on board. Can Poirot identify the killer before the ship reaches the end of its journey?
An American movie actress, best known for playing dumb blondes, is Scotland Yard's prime suspect when her husband, Lord Edgware, is murdered. The great detective, Hercule Poirot, digs deeper into the case.
Hercule Poirot (Sir Peter Ustinov) attends a dinner party in which one of the guests clutches his throat and suddenly dies. The cause seems to be natural until another party with most of the same guests produces another corpse.
Hercule Poirot (Sir Peter Ustinov) is called in to investigate a case for an insurance company regarding a dead woman's body found on a moor, and then an 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 (Dame Diana Rigg) by Sir Horace Blatt (Colin Blakely), and Arlena is on her honeymoon with her husband and stepdaughter 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 (Nicholas Clay), another guest, in full view of his shy wife. So it's only a matter of time before Arlena turns up dead, strangled, and Poirot must find out who it is.Written by
Lee Horton <Leeh@tcp.co.uk>
In the film, Patrick Redfern was wearing swim briefs ("Speedos") on many occasions (suntanning on the beach, steering a motorboat with Myra Gardener on board), and it is suggested that, since the film was set in the 1930s or 1940s, that the male "overall" swimsuit was "norm", and the "Speedo" type suit was an anachronism. This is not true; by 1936 (after the Olympics) men started wearing one piece and much tighter fitting "Speedo" suits. The film is probably set before 1939 (the book was written in 1941), and by this time, fashionable and daring men would have worn this type of swimsuit, particularly to secluded getaways, such as the setting for the movie. See more »
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. See more »
With its humor, great scenery, stylized period clothes, wonderful music, complex whodunit puzzle, and deliciously hammy acting from Peter Ustinov, James Mason, Sylvia Miles, Diana Rigg, and Maggie Smith, "Evil Under The Sun" is an absolute delight.
There are a couple of different ways to watch this film. You can focus on the murder mystery story. It's not one of Agatha Christie's best, but it's good enough to invest a couple of hours to try and solve. As with other whodunits, the plot here is wildly improbable, with some rather unlikely coincidences in timing.
Alternately, you can focus on the cinematic goodies that make this film such a pleasant diversion. The Mediterranean scenery is gorgeous, with towering cliffs that rise from a sparkling blue sea. The 1930's clothes and production design are opulent and lavish. Men's formal attire, women's colorful dresses and flamboyant hats, and the showy jewelry that only the idle rich could afford, are all quaint by today's fashion standards. The island resort is cozy and expensive looking, with elegant furniture, and balconies and windows that overlook the sea. Throw in lots of 1930's music by Cole Porter, especially "You're The Top", and you've got a relaxing, enjoyable cinematic experience that's pleasing both to the eyes and the ears.
Arguably, the best elements of this film are the acting and the amusingly flowery dialogue. All the actors ham it up, in grand camp style. Performances may not be realistic. But they sure are lots of fun. I liked Ustinov's word pronunciations: "You remember 'zee' false diamond ... on 'zee' beach"; "Incidentally, I accept your 'hallie-by'"; "If you would care to confide in me, I should be most 'honn-erd'".
The bitching between vain Arlena Marshall (Diana Rigg), a prima donna actress, and the resort's hostess, Daphne Castle (Maggie Smith) is also amusing and fun. At an opulent cocktail party, guests mingle. Then, in dramatic style, Arlena, elegantly dressed, makes a glamorously staged entrance, and vainly confesses: "Oh my, I'm the 'laust' to arrive". To which hostess Daphne, with hors d'oeuvre tray in hand, walks over and greets Arlena with a sly smile: "Have a sausage, dear."
"Evil Under The Sun" is pure diversionary entertainment. There's no profound message. Nor are there any deep, subtle themes on the human condition that viewers can later ponder. The film is shallow, effervescent, animated ... fluff. But it is very high quality fluff.
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